There’s something to be said about drinking local. Instead of the same old light beers from the powerhouse beer companies, more often than not as of late we gravitate towards the craft beer, wine or liquor. Being able to shake the hand of the brewer or winemaker plays into the experience. Seeing how the process plays out, the materials used and the work that goes in gives us an appreciation for our libations. In the past decade, craft breweries, wineries and distilleries have opened in droves across the country. Our region is no different. With a sense of pride, you can tell someone in Florida that Southern Tier is brewed not far from where you live, or that you frequent Ellicottville Brewing Company for dinner. There are plenty of options for you to explore - here are a few of our favorites …
ELLICOTTVILLE BREWING COMPANY - The work continues on EBC’s Little Valley bottling facility, with major progress being made every day. They’ll be commissioning by the end of May and brewing by June. While the Pub won’t be open until the Fall, the facility will be gearing up for production. And EBC’s Bemus Point location is up and running, with a brand new summer menu. If you haven’t already, try EBC’s Somethin’ Hazee - it’s an unfiltered IPA sold in 4-packs of cans, and it’s the perfect complement to any summer night.
STEELBOUND BREWERY - Ellicottville’s newest brewery and distillery is up and running on the corner of Routes 219 and 242, and owner Bill Bursee and his crew are firing on all cylinders. (Writer’s note: My fiancee and I went to Steelbound for dinner last week - the pizza is really good, and we ordered two separate flites of beer, which were also stellar!) Steelbound’s kitchen focuses on bringing in fresh ingredients every day, and the stage is ready to host live entertainment. Keep an eye out for the patio build, so you can enjoy many a summer nights outside. And on Tuesdays, Steelbound is offering a family style buffet that will change every week. The menus are printed on stock paper - not because they weren’t done yet, but because Bursee wants to keep the menu fresh. (Read more about Steelbound Brewery on the next page.)
ELLICOTTVILLE DISTILLERY - Owner Bryan Scharf, an Ellicottville native, has done incredible work since opening the Distillery a little over a year ago. Located off the beaten path, it’s a chance for you to escape the (oft-times) craziness of town and relax in a calm, comfortable atmosphere. Bryan’s newest creation is Honey Spirit, which is his take on rum. Serving NY craft beers and wines for those that aren’t in the spirit for spirits, you can sit and chat with Bryan about the barreling and distilling process (all of which is open for you to look at.) The bourbon is almost 8-months-old, and Bryan won’t open it until the 2-year mark - but when he does, he’ll have a bourbon club where you can put your name on a barrel and enjoy it anytime. Open on Saturdays and Sundays, the Ellicottville Distillery is an awesome change of pace with plenty of room, a relaxing atmosphere and great views. Find them on Facebook at The Ellicottville Distillery.
WINERY OF ELLICOTTVILLE -
The Winery of Ellicottville will ramp up for the summer with the release of its 2016 pinot noir and some recently-released 2017 vintages. By mid-summer, they hope to release a higher-sugar late harvest riesling and also have a batch of cider fermenting currently. Look for the return or the Winery’s August wine club, as well as some small plate food and wine pairings throughout the month of June. Stop by and pick up a bottle of their Red, White and Blue, and follow them on Facebook for updates and specials.
FOUR MILE BREWING COMPANY - Olean’s Four Mile Brewing, in nearby Olean, has added another go-to spot for anyone in the area. Their beers have permeated western New York and Pennsylvania, and the IPA is a personal favorite. Four Mile has a full kitchen, outdoor seating and tons of great stuff coming up in the next few months. Check out the Enchanted Mountain Brewfest on July 14, as well as a bocce tournament (June 2) and Beer Mile (with Good Times of Olean, July 4). Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for Four Mile taps at your favorite watering hole, or get them right at the source. Four Mile is located at 202 East Green Street in Olean, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
FLICKERWOOD WINE CELLARS - Located in the heart of Kinzua Country in northwest Pennsylvania, Flickerwood Wine Cellars is celebrating their 18th year of family owned and operated business. When we say family, we mean it - owner Sue Zampogna runs the books, her daughter does the marketing, and her husband and son double duty as winemakers and musicians for Friday and Saturday’s “Wine Down.” The number of wineries in Pennsylvania has exploded in the past few years - when Flickerwood opened, there were 56. Now there are close to 300! But the Zampogna family has established itself as one of the premier winemakers in the state, partnering with places like Sprague’s to make their Maple Chardonnay. And new for this year is the “Outdoor Series” - four different wines that Flickerwood will put in cans, so you can enjoy it anywhere you go. Every Wednesday they have pasta night, where everything is homemade from family recipes. If the draw of homemade wine isn’t enough to get you to Flickerwood, remember every person in there has a vested interest in its success, so you’ll be getting the best experience whenever you go.