Congress is Back in Session!

Congress tap and coasters

Congress, the most celebrated beer in Syracuse history, is back! The team at Willow Rock spent eight months perfecting a beer that respects the Congress legacy and satisfies the tastes of today’s beer drinkers.

Congress offers the present-day appeal of an everyday beer, delivering an approachable craft beer experience that features a good, crisp taste that is not too bitter and is easy to drink.

Congress is back in session!

Congress Events:

Congress Beer Launch Party at the Marriot
Wed. August 15, 2018 | 4-8pm
Syracuse Marriot Downtown
Willow Rock Brewing Company and the Onondaga Historical Association release an updated version of the historic Congress Beer Lager at a special ceremony at the Syracuse Marriott Downtown.

Congress Beer Release Party at Willow Rock Brewing Company
Sat. August 18, 2018 | 1-8pm
Willow Rock Brewing Company
Congress Beer will hit taps at the brewery; outside food truck Bold Coast Lobster Co.
Limited Congress apparel and collectibles will also be for sale.

Willow Rock Brewing Company to re-introduce Congress Beer

Willow Rock Brewing Company has partnered with the Onondaga Historical Association (OHA) to re-introduce Congress beer. Congress was one of the most popular local beers in Syracuse history. Congress was initially brewed by Haeberle Brewery from 1857-1962. WR is working recipes now with hopes to release the beer this summer, updated for today’s palate. We’ll keep you posted; until then, learn more about Congress and CNY’s history by visiting the OHA at their museum at 321 Montgomery St. Syracuse or online at

Update: Congress is back in session: Come to the First Congress Launch Party

Sip on Syracuse

Sip on Syracuse

Another beer trail has hit the area called Sip on Syracuse. The Syracuse Convention & Visitors Bureau has just added this alcoholic beverage passport to encourage tourists to visit local craft beverage businesses. Sip On Syracuse (SOS) promotes people to visit any of the 27 stops that are associated with the trail; there are 13 breweries, 5 wineries, 2 distilleries, 7 pubs, and a cidery. Willow Rock Brewing Company made the list, and people who wish to participate in the trail can acquire an SOS passport at the tap room.

Once eight stickers have been collected simply show your passport book at either the Visit Syracuse offices at 115 West Fayette St. (weekdays only 9am-5pm) or at Empire Brewery, 120 Walton St., to collect a koozie. Once your passport is completed, mail in it to the Visit Syracuse office (with your contact information) to be entered into the drawing for a free beverage tour to visit any six stops from the trail with 11 of your closest friends. Get sipping, the drawing for the winner will be held December 2018.

The Secret is Out

Secret IPA is out

Recently, Willow Rock Brewing Company received a cease and desist from another New York State brewery, Southampton Publick House, for the use of the name Secret.

Willow Rock’s flagship IPA which has been known as Secret, a well-balanced India Pale Ale with a pine and citrus hop and a classic malt finish, will have to be renamed. The story of Willow Rock’s Secret IPA is that it was once a secret beer on tap. When the brewery first opened in November 2015 the brewers had not selected a name for their malty-hop forward IPA. Although the IPA was crafted years earlier, as a favorite homebrew recipe from Willow Rock owners and brewers Rockney Roberts and Kevin Williams, they had never designated a name for it. When the brewery opened the beer was on tap but was not advertised on the menu board. As customers noticed the tap and started to order the IPA it became known as “the secret” and later named Secret, IPA.

Willow Rock will now have to choose a new name for the beer previously known as Secret.

“We now have a unique opportunity to rewind and rebrand one of our best-selling flagships,” says Roberts. “We’ll be able to come up with a name in line with the Willow Rock brand and create a touchstone for cohesive branding moving forward. It’s a neat opportunity and we’re lucky it happened early on before we were distributing.”

The beer itself won’t change, only the name used to identify it. Owner/Brewer Kevin Williams says, “Just because Secret [the name] is gone, it doesn’t mean you’re going to miss out on [the beer].”

Roberts and Williams are undecided on a new name for their flagship IPA but it’s fair to say the secret of Willow Rock is out and thankfully the beer isn’t going anywhere.

Help us name it.





Willow Rock wins at TapNY 2017

Silver and bronze medals from TapNY 2017

Last weekend, April 29-30, we attended our first TapNY event and won two medals, a silver medal for our scotch ale, Rugged, and a bronze medal for our flagship brown ale, Jim. Both beers will be tapped this weekend, with Rugged in limited quantity. Brewers Rockney Roberts and Kevin Williams hope to brew more of both Jim and Rugged in the coming weeks so we may share these award-winning beers with you once again.


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