Situated on the Northeast side of Seneca Lake, nestled in the middle of 40 acres of vineyard, you’ll find Three Brothers Wineries and Estates. Stepping onto their grounds is refreshing- the beautiful view aside, there’s an overwhelming sense of welcome. With three distinct wineries, a cafe, a brewery, and a courtyard to bring everything together, it’s hard to not feel like you might end up staying to hang out all day. The good news is that you can.
Dave Mansfield, co-owner of Three Brothers Wineries and Estates, has been investing into the vibe of the estate over the past ten years to make it a true destination. Much of the rustic decor comes from Dave’s personal collection of finds- a perfectly rusted truck, vintage signage, old gasoline pumps- all adding to the charm of the estate. For $20 you can purchase a passport that will get you a tasting in each location and when you’re done, you can enjoy a wine slushie or swing by Iron Heart Coffee Company for a bite to eat (we can recommend the BIG pretzel, but more on that later).
On busy spring and summer weekends they often see upwards of 2,000 people visiting the estate, but when we visited there were a handful of people in each tasting room freeing up a bit of time for Connor Murphy, Sales Director for War Horse Brewing, Tony Cordova, Head Brewer, and Ben Woodard, Assistant Brewer, to give us a behind-the-scenes brewery tour.
One year ago Three Brothers Wineries and Estates built a brand new 15 barrel brew house for their craft brew business, War Horse Brewing. “It took six months to build this facility. We brewed our first batch in May 2016,” Tony says. “It was our Riesling Ale which uses 70% fermented Riesling juice.”
War Horse Brewing focuses on the best ingredients and best practices. Often times, those ingredients come from the Finger Lakes Region: whether you’re talking about grapes for the Riesling ale that come from their estate vineyard, raspberries from Red Jacket Orchards for their raspberry sour beer (aka Tarty McFly), or coffee from Glen Edith Coffee Roasters that goes into their Breakfast with Churchhill coffee stout.
Everything at the brewery is done in house- from conception, to brewing, bottling (up to 90 cans per minute!), packaging and even distribution. This allows them to provide the freshest beer possible and deliver directly to stores and restaurants within a few days of canning or kegging.
It’s hard to say which brew we tasted during our tour was the favorite. They’re all made true to style, and in a way that can turn sour beer haters into fans, and encourage those who stay away from IPAs give them another try. “Four weeks ago they canned the double IPA and sold out in a week and a half,” Connor noted, “But I would have to say that we sell the most of Lieutenant Dan IPA.”
After an afternoon of touring and tasting, we stopped by Iron Heart Coffee Company, which opened around the same time as the new War Horse Brewing brew house. There are a few things that make Iron Heart Coffee Company special, the first of which is Chef Samantha who is not only a star in the Finger Lakes but also well-known from her time on the TV show Chopped. “Her food experience along with her energy and drive really excite us,” Connor notes.
The second thing is their craft soda line: ginger beer and root beer. Each soda is hand-crafted with sugar cane, honey, molasses, real vanilla beans- we’re even told there’s 400lbs in each fresh batch of ginger beer! You’ll find their craft sodas here on the shelves at Hart’s in a smaller can than most, just 8oz, perfect for a cocktail mixer.
War Horse Brewing will be celebrating their one-year anniversary at the end of June with an anniversary brew called BARIS, a collaboration cheese with Lively Run Dairy, and more. Don’t want to wait till their celebration to visit? Check out warhorsebrewing.com or stop by between 10am to 6pm. Starting next week they’ll have music every Saturday and some Sundays, weather permitting, from 12pm-4pm. Extended hours begin in July on Fridays and Saturday evenings (open until 8pm).
Did you know that you can pick up War Horse Brewing Company brews and Iron Heart Coffee Company sodas here at Hart’s Local Grocers? Order online to have them delivered right to your door, or stop in and head over to our beer department.