I heard about Woodcock Brewery’s opening a couple months ago because of an article by Buffalo Spree’s Julia Burke, but I had no idea where Wilson was (I still kind of don’t) and I assumed I’d probably never visit. Luckily a couple weeks ago my in-laws decided they wanted to visit the brewery for dinner and offered to drive us there, so we of course said yes. I didn’t see any pictures of the brewery or look at the menu before hand, so I was impressed when we pulled up to a massive building (a former Cold Storage facility) that appeared to have been seriously renovated.
Walking into the restaurant/brewery, I was really taken back. The bar/restaurant/open kitchen/dining rooms are gorgeous. When we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, the restaurant was pretty quiet (it became more crowded as the night went on), so we literally just walked around taking a look at everything. The brewery/restaurant has decided to keep most of the old cold storage facility in tact. There are exposed beams, large steel doors and our table that we dined at was a converted freight elevator (very cool). The owners have done a remarkable job making the restaurant feel new and hip while also keeping the spirit and history of the building alive. You can sit at their long bar that oversees the brewery below and on occasion you can watch the brewing process.
- Restaurant Type: Brewpub
- Cuisine: Pub Food
- Location: Wilson
- Prices: Appetizers $8-11, Entrees $12-21, Pizza $12-14
There are plenty of seating options available; you can sit at the bar and watch the brewery or wood fire oven, sit at elevated tables in that bar area or sit in a more secluded dining area. My father in-law and I looked over their beer menu and debated over what styles to choose from. That day they had an Amber Ale, American Pale Ale and a Porter (they were out of the IPA at the time). Instead of choosing just one of the beers, we both decided to order a flight and try a little bit of everything. The APA had a nice amount of hops without being too overwhelming, the Porter had a smooth finish but the Amber Ale was my clear favorite (I even took home a growler of the stuff). I ended up ordering a full glass afterwards and pushing the limits of my stomach to finish the entire glass. It was really refreshing with a nice caramel flavor, just the right amount of carbonation and incredibly drinkable.
We arrived a little early and had to wait a couple minutes for their ‘dinner menu’ to be available, so we decided to order a couple appetizers to snack on while we waited. We tried out their Spent Grain Pretzels ($8, below), Poutine ($9), French Onion Soup ($7) and 2 Beer 2 Cheese Soup ($6). The pretzels lived up to the description and paired pretty nicely with their beer, I could definitely see myself eating an order with a couple beers and watching a football/hockey game. The French Onion was pretty good, large pieces of bread and a salty/sweet broth while the beer cheese soup didn’t have that strong of a cheese flavor and was a little heavy on the beer.
The poutine was very interesting, Since the restaurant doesn’t have a fryer, they actually cook everything in their wood fire ovens. So the poutine had large slices of potato that were cooked in the oven and then topped with a tasty gravy and cheese curds. I loved the cheese and gravy, but not sure I’m completely sold on the oven roasted fries. I really love a good crunch with my fries when it comes to poutine, the combination of a crunchy texture with gravy and cheese is one of my favorite things.
For our main course, Alli and I split a Margherita pizza. The crust had a nice crunch and the sauce was sweet just how we like it. We weren’t big fans of the raw chopped garlic on top, however, and the cheese wasn’t anything special. I think a few more minutes in the oven would have helped. Alli’s dad ordered the open steak sandwich ($14, gallery) and really enjoyed it, while her Mom ordered the Chicken Pot Pie and devoured the whole thing in minutes. I appreciate how they are trying to cook all of their food in their wood fire ovens, besides the poutine, I think that it worked well for most of the food we ordered.
If your in the Wilson area and possibly finishing up a day of wine tasting on the Niagara Wine Trail, I highly recommend a visit to Woodcock Brewery just for the beer and atmosphere alone. The place is gorgeous and would be a great place to hang out at the bar, drink some beer, snack on some appetizers and watch a sporting event. The building also has Lakefront Oils and (coming soon) an apple vodka distillery. I’m not sure when I’ll be in this area again, but whenever that happens I’ll be sure to stop by Woodcock for another pint.