Niagara County is thought of more for their locally produced wines than their locally brewed beer. Woodcock Brothers Brewing Company in the village of Wilson is changing that perception. Open since 2012, the brewery and brewpub are worth a drive north just to see the refurbished century- old building.
Formerly a cold storage building in the Lake Ontario village, original thick beams and posts stretch across the open space of the brewpub and dining room. A wide, long wooden bar sits atop a base made of stones from the original building’s site. Behind the bar are floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the stainless-steel-filled brewing floor. Besides the bar, there are plenty of high tops and other dining tables spread throughout the brewpub, a mix of rustic decor with a slightly modern industrial style.
They usually feature six of their own beers on tap, available by six-ounce taster, full-size pint, or take-home growler. Woodcock Brothers also features a wood-fired pizza oven, along with a full menu of burgers, salads, and bar room appetizers including pretzels made from the brewery’s own spent grain.
While they do feature bottles of locally made wines and ciders, I’d recommend trying their own Woodcock Brothers Porter. A light tan head sits atop a deep, dark brown, nearly black in color porter. Aromas and flavors of dark chocolate and coffee are present, with a roasted malt quality. The beer is also quite bitter for the style, and the roasted bitter finish lingers long after the sip, like a coffee bean sitting on the back of your tongue.
While it’s a robust, flavorful dark beer, it doesn’t have a thick or chewy mouthfeel. It’s a medium-bodied beer with an ABV of 5.8%, smooth enough to enjoy more than one in a sitting.
Porter is a neglected style of beer from local breweries. Perhaps, that’s why Woodcock Brothers named this beer simply Porter. While the name may be simple and boring, the beer certainly is not. A robust full flavored beer that’s equally as drinkable, a drive up to Wilson to enjoy this porter in the setting that Woodcock Brothers has created is worth your time. Craft beer has arrived in Niagara wine country.