Southern Tier Brewing Company Tour [Part 1]

Last Saturday we decided to take a cross-state road trip to take full advantage of the three day weekend. We had several options, which spawned the longest Facebook post in creation, but eventually decided on going to Southern Tier Brewing Company for a brew tour and Homegrown presented by Three Heads Brewing and Lovin’ Cup in Rochester. My day looked something a little like this:

I’ve been dying to get to Southern Tier and this time of year was ideal for going since I could get Choklat straight from the source. What was not ideal was the 4 snow storms I had to drive through on roads that weren’t yet plowed and having to get up at 5AM to make it to there in plenty of time before the 1PM tour. Google puts the trip at 6 hours and 3 minutes. We got there in around 5:20. Not too shabby considering the conditions and Elise having her eyes closed for half of the time due to my “unique driving skills”.

Anyways, we arrived a little bit early and we had some time to kill. Having never been we decided we had to check out a Wegmans. Being huge Stew Leonard’s fans we had to see how it stacked up. I see some parts like the huge cafeteria and prepared food sections that Price Chopper is clearly trying to rip off, but it’s definitely no Stew Leonard’s. I wouldn’t mind having one in my backyard, though. However, there was something going on there I’d never seen at a grocery store before: a beer tasting. Knowledgeable staff from Ellicottville Brewing Co. (who actually went to Union College and we had plenty of things to chat about) directed me to some beers I couldn’t get around Albany and I walked out with a 12 pack from Great Lakes Brewing Company and a make-your-own sixer.

We stayed there and snooped around a little longer than I’d like (I was gonna be pissed if we got there late and they ran out of spots for the tour) but we were fine. Southern Tier’s pub is called “The Empty Pint” and we were hoping to grab some lunch before the tour. They let you bring your own snacks and such, but they have some soups and pulled pork sandwiches available. Unfortunately, the food wasn’t warmed up (I assume it’s made off premises) so we were left to drink our first pint and the tour on an empty stomach. In retrospect, don’t do this. All of the beers on the tour were 7.5%, on top of a pint of Choklat…eh. Sometime during my pint it started blizzarding, naturally. After poking my head around a bit at the merchandise and the enclosed patio it was time for the tour. We’ll talk about that in my Part 2 post…