That commercial service is new, not starting up until, was it, May?
I've ridden the entire thing once, and have volunteered to help with parts of it a couple other times. I'd like to ride it again; it is well run. I recommend you plan on visiting the Womens' Rights National Historic Park in Seneca Falls, the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse and the Canastota Canal Town Museum.
As for having a cold one, all nights it's near local joints, less than a half mile walk. In Pittsford hit the Lock 32 brew pub. In Canajoharie it's down a steep hill, so if you end up crawling back, it might at least look like it's the hill that has you on all fours