Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A New Brewery in the Southern Tier

The Southern Tier of New York State refers to the geographic area that runs most of the length of the state, from the edge of the Catskill Mountains west along the border of northern Pennsylvania almost to the shores of Lake Erie. It is some of the most beautiful country you could hope to find; full of rolling hills, valleys, rivers, and precious little in the way of population centers.

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer raised the ire of some when he said much of Upstate "looks like Appalachia" during his election campaign last year. He was referring, of course, to the faltering economy in many Upstate locales resembling that of the stereotypically impoverished and rural "hillbilly" region. Deliverance imagery aside, he wasn't exactly wrong. Spitzer was referring to the depressed economic conditions, but most of the Southern Tier region technically is Appalachia.

Okay, enough of the geographic and socioeconomic drivel, we're here for the beer. The point we are so circuitously [not to mention clumsily - Ed.] trying to make is that, as wonderful as the Southern Tier is, there ain't a whole lot happening there, especially when it comes to the microbrewery scene. With the exception of Ellicottville Brewing and, of course, the aptly named Southern Tier Brewing, both of which are in the far southwestern corner of the state (and happen to have a shared heritage, but that's another story for another time), there really is not another brewery in the region. Until now, that is!

Horseheads Brewing opened its doors (well, technically, got its liquor license) on July 3rd. Owner and longtime homebrewer Ed Samchisen handles the beer making, while his wife, Brenda, runs the gift shop and designs all the beer labels. The brewery is new enough that there is not yet a web site, but they do offer beer in growlers and hand-filled bottles. If all goes according to plan, they will soon have kegs for sale and begin supplying their beer to local bars and restaurants. According to this site, there may be as many as six different brews, each of which is linked in some way to local history through its name.

The line-up:

Brickyard Red Ale
Iroquois Wheat Beer
Newtown Brown
Pale Expedition Ale
Peach Wheet Beer
Sullivan Stout

Horseheads is located just North of Elmira off Interstate 86 and takes its uniquely wonderful name from the number of bleached horse skulls left behind in the aftermath of the Sullivan Expedition (yes, as in Sullivan Stout - told you the names had history behind them). It's a bit out of the way, but is located off a major highway, and certainly sounds like it merits some field research. If only we knew someone who had recently moved to the Southern Tier and enjoyed inexpensive and thoroughly enjoyable day trips to breweries. Developing...


Mark said...

I'm likely heading down there this weekend, reviews to follow on my blog.

Western new York has experienced a helluva beer resurgence in the last few years. Southern Tier has been a huge help. Roosterfish from Watkins Glen rocks. Ellicottville is an old stalwart. Hopefully Horseheads Brewing will blossom and do its part to make Western New York one of the great brewing regions of the nation.

Bojangles said...

Heading west along 90, the Syracuse - Rochester - Buffalo corridor is very strong beer wise. Seeing things develop in the less populated Binghamton/Elmira region is a great sign. Roosterfish is pretty fantastic, and we should have review coming shortly.

D W said...

I'll be headed there this coming weekend, as the brewery opened less than two miles from my mom's house. If only this place had opened sooner! (Not that I was sick of Wagner Valley and Market Street, and more recently, Roosterfish.) Growlers, and bottles if available, are coming back with me after the wedding.

I wouldn't say there's much between Syracuse and Buffalo in the way of brewing, however, and Middle Ages has to get a handle on its Ringwood yeast before I'll consider them good brewing.

Rudy said...

Great to see another brewery open up in NY state. I don't get out to horseheads very often, but I'll be sure to check this out next time I drive through!

Brandi Samchisen said...

The web site is up and running!