What a winter we’ve had around this country! From freak snowstorms along the gulf coast to over five feet of snow in the mid-Atlantic, it was a hell of a season—which was great if you love to hit the slopes. There was so much snow, in fact, that now we have threats of flood as it all melts away. No doubt, you’re ready for spring and summer to come along, but in no time at all, you’ll be missing the cooler weather and maybe dreaming up your next winter vacation. As a ‘better beer’ lover, you know how it can be when you head out to a resort town—often, the beer selection leaves quite a lot to be desired. May we suggest you pay a visit to the village of Ellicottville in southwestern New York state, and partake of the good food and great beers found at the Ellicottville Brewing Company. Whether you’re a fan of the mountain ski slopes or you enjoy jazz and folk music festivals, or Mardi Gras celebrations, there’s always something going on in Ellicottville year round (but the skiing/snowboarding is our favorite in this ski hamlet; few things are as rewarding as settling in at the end of a day on the mountain in a great local brewpub with a tasty, warming brew).
The Ellicottville B.C. was started by co-owners Allen and Walter Yahn and Peter Kreinheder out of a desire to open a family business. The inspiration struck while on a ski trip to Vail, CO, where craft brewing got an early foothold. There was the realization that Ellicottville, sometimes referred to as the “Aspen of the East”, would be the perfect location for a craft brewery and grill. Today, EBC is considered one of the finest craft brewers in the state, receiving no less than three International World Beer Championship awards.
The EBC is a great place to have a beer, from its old Victorian, woodsy charm to its solid black walnut and granite columned bar. You can even tour their small brewery, featuring a 10 Barrel Hungarian brewing system (call ahead to be sure a tour is available the day of your visit), or, for $300 a head, take over the brewery in their “Be A Brewer For A Day” program under the tutelage of head brewer Dan Minner (call for reservations). Not to mention their impressive lineup of fresh, draft beers; depending on what’s on that day, you can find anything from the ultra hoppy to woody, oak-aged blonde ale. They offer the only open air dining in town, and their Beer Garden is full of European flowers and climbing hop bines, which makes for a wonderful place to have a beer on a hot summer night.
For more information about the brewery and scheduled tours, call (714) 699-ALES or check out their web site at www.ellicottvillebrewing.com.