Nestled on the southern shore of Lake Ontario, sits the small town of Wilson, NY. Settled in 1818, Wilson holds some unique architecture, including the Morse Cobblestone Farmhouse. A beautiful L-Shaped home built in 1845, it mimics Neoclassical architecture which had been popular throughout the United States during the Civil War, and is now part of the National Registry of Historic Places.
Due to its proximity and its location in Niagara County, the Civil War had a huge impact on the citizens of Wilson and throughout the Niagara region. It is said that a bugler in the Battery M regiment, a Prvt. Pratt of Wilson, captured a confederate war horse, rode it for the duration of the war, and brought it back to Wilson where it lived out the remainder of its days as a workhorse and true companion of Prvt. Pratt.
Having never ventured out to Wilson, I was surprised to learn that a brewery opened there–Woodcock Brothers Brewery. Situated on a beautiful hill top, Woodcock Brewery was the first in Niagara County to brew its beer on site and serve in-house.
Not only is the location of this brewery somewhat unique, (and not far from the Niagara wine trails–for those of you looking to add this to your next wine tour), but the design features of the inside, showcasing the distillery at its center, are breathtaking. The rustic barn like feel of the interior melts together farm-style decor with industrial beams and pullies. Vaulted ceilings and full length windows give this place an open airy vibe so that even when packed with patrons you don’t feel claustrophobic.
Pulling from one of my favorite fairy tales, each fermentation tank is named for one of the seven dwarfs and the bar wraps around the tanks, so that every patron has a perfect view of Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, and Doc.
Outside of great beer, Woodcock is also known for exceptional food. While the menu is rather simple, Woodcock offers daily specials that are creative and tasty.
The Spent Grain Pretzels ($8.00) are a house specialty made with malt, and pair great with a Porter which has its own roasted malt flavor combine with a hint of coffee and chocolate.
While there are burgers, wings and appetizers to choose from, the wood fired pizzas are the main attraction.
The first one to catch my eye was the Loaded Potato Pizza ($17.00); a thin crust homemade pizza with sliced potatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon and chives with blended oils. Shocked at how light and airy the crust was, I bit into this pizza and immediately noticed a similiarity in taste to a traditional Irish Potato soup. The potatoes are sliced thin and scattered perfectly around the pizza, so that not one bite goes without. The bacon offers a salty smoked flavor without being overly greesy, and the chives give it a delicate onion flavor.
The cedar plank Salmon ($19.00) is a special that is offered on Fridays only. As a huge salmon fan, of course this was on my hit list. If you can make a perfect salmon dish, you know how to cook! Fish is not as easy to make or pair with seasonings as people may think.
The minute it was served, the rich pink color told me it hadn’t been over cooked. The cedar plank gives it the smokey flavor and is paired with house seasonings, oil and lemon or dill. It was flakey, juicy, and fresh. Definitely two thumbs up.
Last on the list was a thin crust Margherita Pizza ($14.00) with mozzarella cheese, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and garlic. You have a choice of Lakefront Olive Oil or house-made “sweet” red sauce. We chose the red sauce and were not disappointed.
A bit of a drive, for us about an hour north, it is worth it for this exceptional in-house brewed beer, beautiful atmosphere, and good food. During summer months this place is packed, offering outdoor seating. They do not take reservations, so plan to get there early and cozy up to the woodsy fairy tale scene at the bar while waiting for your table. Or, do what we did and skip the dining tables–eat at the bar instead!
It’s still a holiday week–with no snow! Utilize it and venture out to Woodcock Brewery in Wilson, NY. You’ll be glad you did.
Thank you for taking the time to find this delightful place in Niagara County. This side of Niagara County gets lost in the hoopla of the resurgence of Buffalo. I also, encourage you to take a ride while the weather remains nice but there is nothing as comforting and friends, a good brew and the warm of their open ovens. Perhaps if you come to visit us you can come up with ideas to help reinvigorate our village and town. We are very grateful to the Brewery and its owners for all that they offer to the Town and Village of Wilson.
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