Be your own beer expert

Ellicottville Brewing Company leaves it's mark on craft beer


There are those who drink beer and there are those who make beer.

Native Americans were concocting beers long before Europeans brought along their own brews from the old world. Now, with the help of modern technology the new era of American beer has resulted in the craft brewery.

Anthony Cao, second-year pharmacy school student, said he enjoys craft beers when he goes out to eat a nicer dinner restaurants.

“I would consider craft beers fancy, especially when they are poured into different kinds of glasses specially designed for the certain type of beer,” Cao said. “I like to try different kinds so I haven’t found any that stood out for me as a favorite yet.”

Cao has heard that downtown buffalo has some bars that serve craft beers but hasn’t been down to any of them himself.

Buffalo’s own Ellicottville Brewing Company (EBC), founded in 1995, has left its own mark on the category of craft beer.

With amusing beer names like Pantius Droppus, Chocolate Cherry Bomb and Ski Bum – Ellicottville Brewing Company has developed a formula for craft beers which, with their brewing techniques, formulate their Standard, Imperial, Seasonal and Holiday brews.

Peter Kreinheder, owner of EBC, got the idea to open up the brewing company in Ellicottville, New York during a ski trip to Vail Ski Resort.

In 2012, the EBC in Ellicottville underwent construction and was reopened in the spring of 2013 – now with enlarged dinning and bar areas and new German brew house tours available.

Kreinheder said that each day at EBC is different for him because he’s always trying to figure out how to give people what they want while also trying to create something new that people would also like.

EBC listens to what their consumers are saying about their beers. The architecture and beer samples are two of the reasons that people visit EBC.

The tour is about 50 minutes long. Between March 1 and July 31 EBC had about 6,000 tours – EBC does about 12,000 tours annually.

“80 percent of the people who visit have never even heard of Ellicottville until they arrived,” said Kreinheder. “But once you visit you fall in love.”

The tour, like most brewery tours, has a beer-sampling segment.

EBC’s winter seasonal beer is called “Ski-Bum.” It is in its second year of production and it’s only available from December through February. This single hop craft beer was brought to life when the Kreinheder decided to collect the ski-lift tickets that he had accrued from all over the country.

Kreinheder opened the company’s newest pub in Fredonia in 2005 because he was getting bored and wanted to expand his company.

The “Pantius Droppus” was born from that expansion.

Students at SUNY Fredonia nicknamed the beer “panty dropper” because of its 10 percent alcohol content. But because EBC couldn’t actually name their beer something so blatantly sexual, the brewery deemed it “Pantius Droppus.”

Ben Harper, a junior mechanical engineer, said that he enjoys craft beers when he can afford them.

Generally speaking craft beers tend to be more expensive than regular beers because of how they are produced by smaller companies in unique ways.

“I’m a big fan of IPA’s and Porter’s,” said Harper. “My top three breweries are Southern Tier, Long Trail and Dundee, but if I had to choose I’d say my favorite beer is Long Trails IPA because its got a very unique taste.”

Kreinheder said that while EBC has a variety of beers, there are a few in particular they specialize in.

“EBC is known for its fruit beers,” Kreinheder said. “The Blueberry beer that we make came out of a craft brewers conference that I went to.”

Kreinheder said that although the Blueberry beer was originally crafted for female craft drinkers, 50 percent of its consumers are men.

He said that many bikers on big Harleys with leather jackets and bandannas pop in and pick up their Blueberry beer.

For beer drinkers who are chocolate fan, the “Chocolate Cherry Bomb” might be worth a try.

The “Chocolate Cherry Bomb” is spring/midwinter imperial seasonal craft beer in its second year of being available in bottles but was available on draft for about six years.

It is a chocolate stout with an 8 percent alcohol content. The cherries used to give the beer its flavor during the fermentation process are picked fresh from Oregon.

Kreinheder is busy with preparations for the opening of EBC’s new location opening near Chautauqua Lake at Bremus Point in June.

Since you can’t get most of the beers outside of the Ellicottville market, and since EBC typically has 20 different types of beer available on tap at any time – to truly experience their brand of craft beers, you’ll have to stop by and taste for yourself.

Tomas Olivier is the features editor and can be reached at