Niagara Wine Country visitors — and winery staff — have been asking for a brewery in the area for years, and this fall they’ll finally have one. Woodcock Brothers Brewery is building a stunning facility that will include a brewery, restaurant, tasting room and porch on Lake Street in Wilson, New York, minutes from Schulze, Black Willow, Marjim Manor, Chateau Niagara, and Victorianbourg wineries.
“The reception from the wine community here has been unbelievable,” says Tim Woodcock, who is founder along with his brother Mark and their wives Andrea and Debbie (all Niagara County natives). “People have been showing up and introducing themselves; it’s really something.”
As a former Niagara winery employee I can personally attest to the need for a brewery in the area, not just as a refreshing break from wine tasting and a destination for the beer-drinking spouses of wine lovers, but as a source of fresh, local beer to fuel long days in the cellar. The presence of Woodcock Brothers, certainly well positioned location-wise and unique in its combined offerings of food, outdoor seating, and beverages made on-site, should be a boon to both the local community and Niagara’s growing tourism industry.
With an expected mid-September opening date and a grand Oktoberfest opening planned, Woodcock Brothers has been two years in the making, but plans are now “full steam ahead” according to Tim. The brothers, who have a construction business, built the facility themselves, and it’s coming along beautifully. A huge porch overlooking the town of Wilson will provide a perfect drinking spot, and the restaurant inside, which will feature wood-fire pizzas as well as brewpub snacks such as spent-grain pretzels, will overlook the brewing facilities on the first floor. It also doesn’t hurt that the Woodcocks are charming, extremely friendly and clearly passionate people with contagious good humor and enthusiasm for their dream and for the area. They’ve obviously visited enough breweries to know what guests want, and the result is what may become one of the most visited breweries in western New York.
I got a chance to sample a couple of their prototype beers, and was impressed by their extremely sessionable porter, which has a delightful charcoal-y quality and clean, crisp finish. They’ll launch with that beer as well as an IPA (both Dogfish Head fans, the brothers plan to do a 90 minute and 120 minute IPA––hopheads, take note) and a light blonde ale.