September 12, 2014

Beer and Wine Festival at Holiday Valley Resort - 2014 Brewers and Vinters on tap!

It is time for craft beer aficionado to unite at the 11th annual Beer and Wine Festival at Holiday Valley Resort, sponsored by Holiday Valley Resort, the Ellicottville Brewing Company and the Southern Tier Brewery. The event is a great way to sample and purchase craft beers from around the region! The popular festival is a two day event on November 7 and 8, 2014 that features a Brewmaster dinner and a beer tasting event (2oz. glasses). The beer tasting and paring dinner is held on Friday November 7, and has limited tickets. The Beer and Wine tasting event is on Saturday November 8, and allows ticket holders will be able to sample over 100 hand-crafted beers from over 30 of the best New York State and American craft breweries and wines from New York, Southern Ontario and Ellicottville vintners. The Beer and Wine Festival is a great way to enjoy the food and beverage tastes of the season.

New for 2014, the event will be held ad the Holiday Valley Lodge at Holiday Valley resort and hosted by Holiday Valley Resort, the Ellicottville Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewery. There are many new wineries at the event as well. For 2014, there are ten wineries, including the Winery of Ellicottville, Niagara Winery, Willow Creek Winery, Heron Hill Winery, Merrit Estate Winery and more. There is live entertainment throughout the Saturday night event, which includes the Holiday Valley Lodge and a tent beer garden on the outside patio. An event food menu is also available inside the lodge in the cafe areas. We have reviewed many of the breweries and wineries and have made some recommendations in the article.
The new Holiday Valley Lodge


Friday November 7, 2014 - Brewmaster Dinner
The 9th Brewmaster Dinner will take place on Friday, Nov. 7 at the Holiday Valley Lodge (new location for 2014) at Holiday Valley Resort. The dinner is also a meet and greet, where you can meet the brewers and ask them about the beers and pairings. The dinner and courses are paired with different beers and ales. The dinner in 2013 include appetizer, soup, salad, entree, potato and dessert. Each station is pared with a craft beer. The food items are local, both grown and purchased within 60 miles of the Ellicottville. Tickets are $65 per person and are limited, so call for a reservation at 716-699-2345 or purchase on-line (Brewmaster Dinner Ticket Link). Hors d'oeuvers begin at 6:00 pm followed by the dining stations open 7:00 PM.

Saturday November 8, 2014 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm. - Beer and Wine Tasting Event
The Beer and Wine tasting event at Holiday Valley Resort is a great way to sample from over 30 beers or wines. Pre-sale tickets for the Beer and Wine Festival are $50 and are available online or at Wegmans through October 31, 2014. Tickets may be available at the door, but it is wise to pre-purchase because ticket sales are limited. The live music will be performed by Big Leg Emma.

Complimentary shuttle service will be provided guest of the Holiday Valley Inn, Tamarack Club, Alpine Meadows, Wildflower and Snow Pine Village starting at 2:30 pm. Starting at 5:00 pm, shuttles will be available into the village of Ellicottville and to the Holiday Valley accommodations. Finally to conclude the night, there will be shuttle service from outside Balloon's back to Holiday Valley Lodging from 6:00 pm to 2:30 am. Space is limited for the event and reservations are required. Call 716-699-2345.

2014 Beer and Wine Festival Website: Holiday Valley Resort Event - Beer and Wine Festival


The 2014 festival craft beer lineup is no exception, there are fantastic brewers on site. The craft brewery tables in the beer garden are: Sierra Nevada, Magic Hat, Great Lakes, Erie Brewing, Saranac, Southern Tier, Ellicottville Brewing, John Harvard's, Ithaca, Roerhbac, Woodchuck, Custom Beer Crafters, Butter Nutts, Original Sin Cider, Harpoon, Voodoo, Smutty Nose, Long Trail, Shmatlz Brewing company and Otter many more! Our review provides a majority of their beer offering and ones that we recommend trying at your local store or at the festival (if available).

There are also over ten wineries for 2014, including the Winery of Ellicottville, Niagara Winery, Willow Creek Winery, Glenora Wine Cellars, Vendiff Vineyards, Casa Larga Vineyards, Montezuma Winery, Heron Hill Winery and Merrit Estate Winery.. Western New York has great conditions for growing many flavorful wines, with the warm days and cool nights. The event caters to both beer and wine drinkers alike.


The breweries will have some of their hand crafted beers listed below at the festival. Most of the breweries at the festival are summarized in our review. Not all of their beers and ales will be available at the festival. See what the breweries have to offer and get a flavor or their style, creativity and award winning tastes!

The Sierra Nevada Brewing company was established in 1980 in Chico, California. Sierra Nevada commitment to quality remains the same, based on the ideals of the founder Ken Grossman. Premium ingredients and time-honored brewing techniques make Sierra Nevada ales and lagers truly exceptional beers.They distribute their beers nationwide, through local liquor stores to large retailers.The brewery is known for its Pale ale, which was gold medal winner at the following festivals:

Great American Beer Festival (American Pale Ale: 1995, 1994, 1993; Classic English Pale Ale: 1992; Pale Ale: 1990, 1989, 1987).

Their other beers have also won awards at numerous festivals. They are listed on the company website. The following is a list of beers and ales that they brew:

Year-round - Pale ale, Porter, Stout, Kellerweiss and Torpedo (big IPA).

Seasonal - Glissade (golden bach), Summerfest (crisp lager), Tumbler (autumn brown ale) and Celebration ale (fresh hop ale).

Their beers are full of flavor and still are brewed on site in Chico California. They have an additional list of limited selection brews available on their website.


The Magic Hat brewery was founded in South Burlington, Vermont. They pledge to brew world class beers, as defined by their standards of quality, drink ability, and supported by their customer's purchases. Their beer is distributed across the United States through local liquor stores to national retailers. Their current beer selection is the following beers:

Year-round - #9 (ale with unusual palate), Circus Boy (unfiltered Hefeweizen), Humble Patience (Irish style red), Ravell (Porter) and Single Chair Ale (golden beer)

Seasonal - Hex (German Ale), Wacko (malty summer beer), Vinyl (amber lager), Howl (black lager), Demo (black IPA), Blind Faith (IPA) and hiPA (full of hops) and Encore (IPA).

They also brew their list of "reclusive rarities" which appear from time to time. Check out their website for the additional styles.



The Great Lakes Brewery was founded in 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio. Patrick and Danial Conway started a new era in brewing beer in Cleveland, after the last of 30 breweries (since 1870) closed in the early 1980s. The brewery was the first micro-brewery in the state of Ohio. They are committed to crafting fresh, flavorful, high-quality beer and food for the enjoyment of their customers. Their beer is sold in Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., West Virginia and Wisconsin through local liquor stores and national retailers. They brew beers and ales year round, including season beers. Their beers have won at the World Beer Championships and other events. Dortmunder won the GOLD Medal at the World Beer Championships in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010. That is why it is Dortmunder Gold! The following is a list of their beers and ales:

Year-round - Burning River Pale Ale, Commodore Perry IPA, Dortmunder Gold Lager, Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, Eliot Ness Amber Lager, The Wright Pils (Brewery store exclusve).

Seasonal - Conway's Irish Ale, The Doppelrock (malty doppelbock), Holy Moses White Ale, Lake Erie Monster (unfiltered IPA), Oktoberfest, Nosferatu (hopped imperial red ale), Christmas Ale (a honey ale and spiced with ginger and cinnamon) and Blackout Stout.

We Recommend - Our year round favorite is the Dortmunder Gold. It has good flavor and body and always satisfies. During the holidays, the Christmas ale is a must. It is hard to find so get it when you can. It has a nice spiced full flavor and has a slightly higher alcohol content.Their Oktoberfest is also on our list and is a caramel color with great flavor this variety of beer, which is a plus. The Oktoberfest is not bitter and definitely delivers.

All of their beers and ales are hand crafted and have great flavor. The Christmas Ale goes fast during the winter holidays and can be hard to find. It is a must try for any beer connoisseur.

The Erie Brewing company was founded in 1993 as Hoppers Brew Pub and developed into a full micro-brewery in 1999. The brewery is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. They strive to create quality, handcrafted beers with respect for tradition and admiration for innovation, whilst informing consumers and elevating their tastes and level of distinction. Their beer is sold in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia through local liquor stores and national retailers. They have won medals at the Great American Beer festival and more. The following is list of their beers:

Year-round - Railbender Ale (Scottish style ale), Mad Anthony's APA (American pale ale), Presque Isle Pislner (with American and German hops) and Misery Bay IPA (medium malt, explosive hops).

Seasonal - Heritage ALT (old style German dark ale),Golden Fleece Maibock (German maibock style), Derailed (cherry inspired cream ale), Fallenbock (Oktoberfest lager), Drake's Crude (Oatmeal stout) and Ol' Red Cease and Desist (wee heavy ale).


The Saranac is brewed at the Matt Brewing company, which was founded in 1888. The brewery is located in Utica, New York and has been founded by a German immigrant named F.X. Matt. The brewery is still a family business and proudly continues the tradition of making fine ales and beers. Their beers are sold in across the U.S in liquor stores and national retailers. The following is a list of their beers under the SARANAC name:

Year-round - Pale Ale (English pale ale), IPA, Adirondack Lager (classic German lager), Black Forest (Bavarian black beer) and Black and Tan (Irish stout and amber lager blend)

Seasonal - Summer Ale, Belgian White, Hefeweizen (unfiltered wheat beer), Pale Pale Ale, Kolsch (golden blond ale), Pomegranate Wheat, Summer Brew (lemonade and beer), Pumpkin Ale, Oktoberfest, Irish Red Ale and many more.

There are seasonal beers that they brew from time to time, so check out the additional beers and ales on their website.


The Southern Tier brewing company is located in Lakewood, New York. Founders Phineas DeMink and Allen "Skip" Yahn started the brewery in 2002 with the vision of reviving the practice of small batch brewing to a region rich in brewing tradition. The hand crafted ales are now available in more than half of the United States, as well as parts of Australia, Denmark, Japan, Philippines, Singapore, Ontario, British Columbia, and the United Kingdom. The brewery has won awards at the 2007 Tap New York Beer Festival and their Extraordinary Ale won a silver award amongst other Pale Ales at Singapore's Beerfest Asia 2010. The specialize in IPAs. Their following is list of their beers and ales:

Year-round - IPA, Phin and Matt's (classic American style pale ale), porter, raspberry wheat beer, 422 pale wheat ale, 2xipa and pale

Seasonal - Hop sun (summer wheat), Harvest (English style extra special bitter), Old man winter (old ale), Chautuaqua brew (ale), Unearthly (imperial IPA), Hoppe imperial extra pale ale, Big red (IPA), Iniquity (imperial black ale), Gemini (imperial blended ale), Oak aged unearthly (imperial India pale ale), Back Burner (imperial barley wine style ale), Farmer's tan (imperial pale lager), Heavy Weizen (Imperial unfiltered wheat), Pumkin Imperial (pumpkin ale) and many more.
We Recommend - We highly recommend trying their seasonal Pumpkin Imperial Pale Ale, which is one of the best pumpkin ales in the midwest! It has great flavor, plenty of hops and is not too heavy on the pumpkin.

The Ellicottville Brewing company was established in 1995 in Ellicottville, New York. The brewery was founded by some folks that wanted to start a family business and the inspiration was conceived after a ski trip to Vail, Colorado. There are two locations; one in Ellicottville, NY and the second in Fredonia, NY (opened in 2005). The brewery now brews a full lineup of hand crafted beers and ales to please any palate. They have received 3 World Beer Championship awards. Their beer is available in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania through various distributors, local retailers and the the breweries. Their selections of beer includes the following:

Year-round - EBC Pale Ale (Copper pale ale), Blueberry Wheat (Golden Wheat), Nut Brown, EVL Amber, Toasted Lager (light lager), Black Jack Oatmeal Stout and Pantius Droppus (Imperial Pale Ale - 10.6 ABV and 95 IBU).

Seasonal - Summer Hefe (German style wheat), Mowmasters Ultra Pale Ale (Belgian cara malts), Octoberfest Lager, EVL Blizzard (Winter ale), ESB (Golden British ale), Winter Witte (Belgian-American Witte), Hop Bomb (77 IBU), Black and Blue (Blueberry Brew), Hopicity (Local hops from reclaimed NY farms), German Stein Beer (Old world technique- caramelized malts), Chocolate Cherry Bomb (Imperial Stout), Hey Guy Rye Pale Ale (Rye malts), Raspberry Beret (Blonde Ale), Bourbon Barrel Imperial, Catt County Couve (Blonde Ale) and 16.

We Recommend - We recommend their German Stein Beer, Hop Bomb and Blueberry Wheat. A three have different flavors that are exceptional for their respective categories. If you visit the brewery, they serve the golden colored Blueberry wheat with fresh blueberrys floating in the glass. The Ultra Pale Ale is a great summer beer that is light in color, a little taste of hops and smooth finish.

Johh Harvard's Brewhouse has locations in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. One of the locations is in Ellicottville, NY at Holiday Valley Resort. At John Harvard’s Brew House makes a range of beers full of aroma and flavor. They brew pale golden light lagers, copper colored ales, malty brown beers, and coal black stout; and will usually have 8 to 10 beers at their restaurants. They won 2 medals at the 2009 World Beer Championships and numerous awards in other competitions. Some of the ales are brewed on site at their restaurants. According to John Harvard's Brewhouse, some of the recipes were William Shakespeare's and were brought to America in 1637 by John Harvard. Their beers and ales are only available at their restaurants, so visit their website for more locations.

Dan Mitchell founded the Ithaca Beer Company in 1995 to exemplify "the spirit of the finger lakes." The company is located in Ithaca, New York in the heart of the finger lakes region. The brewing system was purchased from a beer pub that closed in Austin, Texas. Through a lot of work and dedication, their beers have been finely crafted. In 2008, they won 2 awards at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado. Their beef is sold at local stores and retailers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. They brew the following beers:

Year-round - Apricot Wheat, CascaZilla (Red hoppy ale), Flower power (India pale ale), Nut Brown and a Pale ale

Seasonal - Cold Frong (Belgian style amber), Gorges (Smoked porter), Ground Break (American style saison), Partly Sunny (Spiced wheat ale),

In addition to crafted beers, they brew an Execlsior line including a Brute, LeBleu, White Gold and Old Habit and more.

Dan Kenary and Rich Doyle founded Harpoon Brewery in 1986 in Boston. They always work hard at two things: brewing great beer and welcoming customers to their breweries. They have created a style to provide customers with fresh, fun and interesting choices. They have their own interpretation on how utilize numerous brewing traditions to make their style of beers. They opened a second brewery in Windsor, Vermont. Their beers are available in national retailers and local beverage stores across the United States. The following beers are available:

Year-round - Harpoon IPA, Harpoon Munich Dark, Harpoon Belgian Pale ale, Harpoon cider, Leviathan Imperial IPA, UFO Hefeweizen and UFO White.
Seasonal - Celtic Ale (Irish Red ale), Summer Beer (Kolsch Style) , UFO Raspberry Hefeweizen, Bohemian Pilsner, Octoberfest, UFO Pumpkin, UFO Pale ale, Greatful Harvest Ultra Cranberry Ale, Winter Warmer (spiced dark copper ale) and Chocolate Stout.

Smuttynose was founded in 1994 by the folks who started the Northampton and Portsmouth Breweries. The brewery is in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.Their company is named for Smuttynose Island, the third largest of the nine islands that comprise the Isles of Shoals, a small, rocky archipelago that lies seven miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. They brew excellent craft beers and ales that are winning awards in competitions. Their beer is sold through retailers and beverage stores in Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin. The following beers are available:

Year round - Shoals Pale Ale, Old Brown Dog Ale, Finest Kind IPA, Star Island Single (Abbey style ale), Robust Porter and Big A IPA.

Seasonal - Smuttynose Summer Weizen, Smuttynose Pumpkin and Smuttynose Winter ale.

They also have a Smuttynose BIG BEER series, which includes a Baltic porter, Barleywine ale, Farmhouse ale, Gravitation (Belgian Quad), Homunculus (Belgian style golden ale), Imperial stout, Maibock, Really Old Brown Dog ale, Scotch ale, S'Muttonator and Wheat Wine ale.

The Shmaltz brewing company was founded in 1996 and is the makers of Hebrew and Coney Island craft lagers. The brewery was founded in San Francisco and now has a brewery in New York. They brew fine craft ales and beers. The following beers are available:

Year-round - the Genesis ale, Messiah Bold, Origin Pomegranate ale, Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A., R.I.P.A on Rye, the Rejewvenator and Jewbilation.


Western New York state is known for their wineries, with their warm day and cool nights in the mountain and lake regions. The area has proven results at wine compettions and draws thousands of people year round to the wineries in Chatauqua area, Finger Lakes area and more. The regions' wines are shipped all over the world. We reviewed a few wineries for this article and we hope that you enjoy their wines at an event at their wineries in the near future.


The Winery of Ellicottville was founded in 2010 Dominic Francesco and is located in downtown Ellicottivlle, NY. The winey was inspired by Francesco Spicola (Dominic’s Father). Francesco, who immigrated from Italy in 1968, brought the wine making tradition with him. Dominic continues the wine making Tradition with his Son-In-Law Sam. Together they create the wines with the careful consideration that Francesco used, combined with new world techniques that produce the Winery of Ellicottville’s award winning wines.

The Winery of Ellicottville makes a fantastic Traminette, and we highly recommend it. They also produce a fine Reisling, Pino Grigio, Chardonnay and a Vidal. If you are feeling festive, they also offer three wines the EVL Red, EVL White and EVL Blue. If you like sweeter wines, there Snow Fox has been recommended from friends, which is made from a Niagara grape. If Reds are your flavor, they have a nice Merlot with dark cherry and black raspberry tones and a Syarah with a little spice.
We Recommend - The Traminette. Is is has a great nose and little bit of spice and a nice finish. The Snow Fox is recommended for the sweeter palate!


Willow Creek Winery was established as a wine making club in 1992 by Jim Emmerson. The club grew to 40 members and he retired in 1999 to make wine with 14 other winemakers. In 2000 Willow Creek Winery was shrank to 7 share holders which remains the same today. Unfortunately in 2000 Mr. Emerson unexpectedly passes away and Doug Metzger contintued as president of the winery. Willow Creek Winery is located in Sheridan, New York, which is close to Lake Erie and the town of Silver Creek, New York. The winery is located on a beautiful estate and host many concert events in their 600 seat open air pavilion.

The winery produces 19 wines and 3 specialty wines. Some of their signaturespecialty wines include Cream Sherry, Cholocate Tempations and Chautauqua Chocolate. Their white wines include a Reisling, Cayuga Wine and a Chardonnay. They have a larger selection of red wines which include a Cabernet Franc, Chambourcin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot Red Rambo and a Dry Concord. Finally the winery has a large selection of sweets, including a Concord, Niagara, Pink Catawba, Sweet Agnes and more.

The wines are excellent and a trip to the winery is well worth it with the extensive events and scenic estate.



Heron Hill Winery was established in 1977 on Kueka lake in Himrod New York, in the western region of the finger lakes.  The winery originally produced only white wines, around 5,000 cases per year. The winery has grown in scope and volume and now produces a dynamic selection of wines to the tune of 20,000 cases annual. The winery also has 2 tasting rooms, one a Seneca Lake and the other Canandaigua Lake. Heron Hill winery is also an entertainment destination, with the addition of the Blue Heron cafe and its location for hosting weddings. The winery has been consistently awards for its variety of wines since 2001 and is definitely a winery to check out!

Heron Hill winery a light and crisp line of Riesling, from dry to semi dry to Reserve, They also have a Gewurztraminer Reserve! The winery is know for its blended Eclipse series, which includes a white with Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc varietals and is lightly oaked. Their Eclipse red is aged 24 months and has the traditional Bordeaux varieties. Rounding out their current selection are a late harvest Vidal Blanc, Ingle Vineyard Riesling, Ingle Vineyard Cabernet Franc and a Pinot Blanc Reserve.


The Merrit Estate Winery is located in Forestville, New York. Merritt Estate Winery was one of the first farm wineries organized in Chautauqua County in 1976; but the history of the Merritt Estate dates all the way back to the late 1800's when the original homestead belonged to the parents of Marguerite Merritt-Sample. William T. Merritt turned the estate into a full-functioning winery in 1976 and his son Jason C. Merritt joined the family operation in 1998. Together they devote their time and energy into producing some of the Chatauqua counties' finest wines.

Merritt Estate is located in the largest grape growing region east of the Rockies and the largest Concord grape growing region in the world. The Chatauqua area grapes and wines rival the quality of premium vintages found throughout the world. Visitors to the winery can take at tour of the Merrit Estate facilities and surrounding vineyards. They also offer free year-round wine tasting in the Tasting Room and a complete selection of Merritt Estate wine is available for purchase at the winery or online.

Merrit Estate Winery produces almost twenty different wines including red wines, white wines, dessert wines and specialty wines. The make a Bella Ice, Bell Rosa, Cabernet Franc, Chatauqua Blush, Chatauqua White, Chataugau Niagara, Edelweiss, Gewurztraminer, Late Harvest Delaware, Mereo, Peach Splash, Reisling, Sangria de Marguerite, Sangria wine slush, Strawberry Festival, Winemaster's Choise, and XTC. Many of their wines have won awards at regional and national competitions, including National Commercial Wine competitions, The Great Lakes Wine competition, the Monterey Wine Competition and more.


This festival is a great opportunity to sample many craft beers, ales and wines. Not all of the breweries' beers and ales will be available at the festival, but enough to get a feel of the breweries style and hand crafted flavor. The wineries bring a good selection of their wines to try! Ellicottville New York is a great little town, so make the beer and wine festival a weekend trip. There are fabulous restaurants and there many activities to enjoy over the weekend. Weekend lodging packages are available at Holiday Valley Rental Management properties and Holiday Valley Resort, with free shuttle to the event and downtown for Holiday Valley guests (see Holiday Valley Resort website for details).

2014 Beer and Wine Festival Event Website: Holiday Valley Resort Beer and Wine Festival Info

*All Brewery and Winery pictures and labels were from their respective websites and are published for your visual reference to their respective companies and products.

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