Brewery has one location in Medina
By David Yarger
Western New Yorkers enjoy new scenes when it comes to food and beverages. And one thing many enjoy around here is locally crafted beer.
The Town of Wheatfield could see a new addition with WNY favorites in the near future, as Barge Brewing has discussed a possible location in the hamlet of Bergholz with the Wheatfield Local Development Corp.
Talks are preliminary, as WLDC Chairman Bill Wagner stated in an email Monday.
Barge Brewing has one current location along the Erie Canal in Medina, which Wagner said has been quite successful.
On the company’s website, it reads, “We create a broad scope of world class beer on a nano scale, using fresh, local ingredients. Beers steeped in local flavor – both cultural and culinary. Good beer. Fresh beer. Real beer.”
According to the website, in addition to fresh, local ingredients, beers include whole-cone hops, all grain and no extracts, and rare and unique yeast cultures. Creation includes traditional and artisan recipes, modern equipment and techniques, complex flavor profiles, and cask and bottle conditioning.
The site also lists a growler club, private events, catering menus and home brewer clubs and classes as part of the brewery’s community involvement.
Barge Brewing Founder Jeremy Hogan said it all started with an idea in his kitchen, then in his garage.
“The original operation was intended as an expansion of theIrish pub I bought in Medina in 2011 called O’Brien’s. Though adding a small bearings system – 5-10 gallon capacity per batch – would have been a great enhancement, it wouldn’t have scaled, and so I got a dedicated location along the canal in Medina and made plans for a bigger brewhouse. That was more along the lines of one BBL (barrel) or 30 gallons per batch; basically two standard half kegs per brew,” Hogan said.
He noted the location in Medina is good for means of production, but with this Bergholz location, he said he’s hoping for more opportunities.
“We wanted tours, events, tastings and food. (We were) looking for a location that was not only suitable for all those uses, but a more accessible destination from a larger population of people. The menu I had at the pub was what I’d describe as ‘upscale pub grub,’ ” Hogan said. “Gourmet grilled cheeses, great burgers, whereas the brewery is more ‘upscale rustic cuisine.’ From charcuterie board for pairing and sharing, to entrees like smoked trout with sweet potato, black bean and roasted corn hash. There is also a Sunday brunch and prime rib dinner each week.
The wedding menu builds on the same smoked, roasted, slow-cooked menu with a carving station and indoor or outdoor seating.”
A brief showing of what is on Hogan’s menu can be found at bargebeer.com. Additionally, a PDF of the menu can be found at wnypapers.com.
Hogan said there is a verbal agreement on the property, but would not disclose the location until the official contract was signed. All in all, Hogan said, moving forward, some financial aspects need to be taken care of.
“We are just waiting for a property and equipment appraisal to get financing approved from the bank. We have a lot going on in terms of making it all but turnkey with getting open, but we are also speaking with the WLDC to see what incentives there are to bring our capacity up to 3.5 BBL per batch or 100-plus gallons,” Hogan said. “About seven standard half kegs. Our one BBL system will then be for pilot recipes, small batches, seasonal, wedding favors. We can keep a rotation of recipes; releasing more beers, more often,” Hogan said.
Of choosing Bergholz as a possible location, Hogan said he sees a vast amount of potential in the area.
“If I were to draw a triangle where potential customers lived within a casual 10-15-minute drive, the middle would probably be Bergholz,” Hogan said. “So the fact that it’s a short drive from the Robert Moses and Niagara Falls Boulevard puts it in an ideal location. It’s minutes off the wine trail, and tour buses already come through on their way to other area breweries.
“The second draw was that it’s almost a country setting and it was very on-brand for us. Having a city adjacent, rustic setting couldn’t suit us better. The area could use a quaint and charming venue for 150 guests, right? And who doesn’t love great food and good, fresh beer?
“The last, and maybe the most important draw, was the enthusiasm we’ve encountered here. (Town of Wheatfield) Councilman Larry Helwig put me in touch with Bill Wagner at the WLDC and they couldn’t have been more open, responsive and helpful.”
Now what can residents expect?
“I think people can expect a great lineup of fresh beers with something new on every visit and something they loved from the last; and an inventive but inviting menu. A lot of places do great pizza and wings and fish fries and beef of weck, so our hope is a menu that’s a twist on old favorites; like our pasta carbonara with smoked boar cheeks, or something more familiar like our burgers or poutine; and a new venue for events.”
“Since we’ll be focused on tasting, tours and foods, the neighbors can expect it to be quiet at night. We also project creating over 20 full-time-equivalent jobs that pay pretty well, (as well as) a place to gather, hang out, eat, maybe propose (to your significant other) and later have your (wedding) reception there,” Hogan said.
With his success in Medina, Wagner said he hoped Barge Brewing could bring that to the Town of Wheatfield.
While talks are still preliminary, those with interest should visit bargebeer.com or www.facebook.com/bargebrewing/ for more information.