Over the past few years of the local craft boom, having an inviting space and house-brewed supply has been enough to lure both locals, visitors and those particularly thirsty travelers on self-proclaimed “beer-cations."
Gasport’s Becker Brewing Company follows that model, but offers both while nestled near the entrance of the pumpkin-strewn playground that is Becker Farms — which is both a problem and a pleasure.
The problem? With so much to do at Becker — between its U-Pick options, lunchtime chicken barbecues, homemade jams, petting zoo and a fall season’s worth of family events — its brewery is almost complementary, rather than the farm's centerpiece.
The pleasure? With so much else to do on its grounds, those interested in sipping its beers and ciders can slip into its cozy, wood-strewn brewpub for pitchers ($12), growler fills ($13) or flights ($5) while the autumn's masses take hayrides or lug around bushels of Empires outside.
Amid the BBC barroom’s horse carriage-accented decoration, Niagara County artists’ creations or even a heaping side order of fried pickles, patrons can momentarily escape much of the leave-rustled hustle that heralds the changing of the seasons — all while imbibing in the sweet taste of it.
The (cider): BBC Cherry Cider
The breakdown: When you’re sitting steps from a sprawling apple orchard, it would seem appropriate to order a selection culled from this nearby fruit. And from the five available ciders in rotation on the BBC menu, its cherry cider ($4.50) is possibly the most delicious way to go.
Tart, refreshing and with just the right balance between apple and cherry either straight up or on ice, it’s certainly a change of pace for those used to the season’s traditional pumpkin or Oktoberfest-focused beer tastes.
But disclaimer: At 5 percent ABV, this selection is indeed alcoholic. It may not taste like it, but if you plow through five servings in the same manner you’d inhale morning cups of apple juice, you may end up face down in a pile of Becker’s hand-made fudge — in a bad way.
Embrace the ingredients: At Becker Farms, fall is a time for apples. Cortland. Golden Delicious. Ida Red. They’re all outside the Brewing Co.’s exit, so if you’re going to develop a taste for the delectable fruit over a few responsible servings of cider, you may as well grab a quart ($5), half-bushel ($12) or bushel ($20) before settling into the barroom.
Visitors are transported into the thick of Becker’s sprawling orchard to pick their choice of the season’s variety, so view the day as an opportunity for both pints and an alternative to braving your local grocer’s produce section.
Pies before departure: Brewery exits that elicit purchase of such essential items as Doritos, Andy Capp Hot Fries or a fistful of Slim Jims are commonplace. But exoduses that include mandatory purchases of seasonal pastries, donuts or homemade pies are more rare, and encouraged at Becker.
After sampling brewery selections, visitors can visit the Farm’s bakery and choose between a variety of fruit-filled pies, both fresh and frozen. Pecan ($15.95), cherry ($14.95) and strawberry rhubarb ($13.95) options make leaving Gasport empty handed unlikely, and why would you want to? Take a break from your traditional sodium-laden drinking snack and bury a few slices once safely within the confines of your kitchen.
3724 Quaker Road, Gasport (772-2211)
Ciders on tap: 5
Beers on tap: 11
Stop by for: Craft-brewed beers and ciders at one of Western New York’s favorite farms; sprawling apple-accented ambiance mere steps from brewery bar stools; and a taste of fall before filling your trunk with produce and pies.
V is for vino: Becker Farms is also home to Vizcarra Vineyards, which produces a variety of wines and is a favorite on the popular Niagara Wine Trail.
B is for brunch: Becker offers a weekly Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for those interested in omelets and crepes before tipping a few ciders. Cost is $14 for adults, $7 for kids.
Parking: Available within multiple Becker Farms lots.
Hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, noon to 9 p.m. (Winter hours start on Jan. 1.)