When the fall colors are in their twilight and we’re knocking on winter’s door, there’s one event at Holiday Valley to bridge the dreaded November gap - the Beer & Wine Festival, presented by Ellicottville Brewing Company, Southern Tier Brewing Company and Holiday Valley. Now in its 13th year, Beer & Wine has become a favorite event for an (ever growing) contingent of fermentation lovers.
Going down on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11-12, Beer & Wine brings both breweries, wineries and visitors from all over the area. Playing host to over 100 brews/vintages from 30 beer and wine makers, there will be something for fans of all forms of liquid courage.
Saturday, Nov. 12 is the actual Beer & Wine Festival, but Holiday Valley invites you to come Friday night for the pre-Fest dinner. This year’s theme is “The Bootlegger’s Ball,” a 1920s/Prohibition celebration. Costumes are highly encouraged, so get to it, Flappers! The dinner will offer food and beer pairings; you can get a head start on everyone else before Saturday. Friday night is annually a blast, and you shouldn’t miss out. Appetizers begin at 6pm and the party is on!
Holiday Valley will again utilize all three floors of the recently rebuilt Holiday Valley Lodge (The Main, as it will forever be known as to me). Different music on each level makes it feel like you’re walking into an entirely new bar every time you ascend/descend a set of stairs (or elevators). The basement - or ‘wine cellar’ - will have a more subdued vibe, with the Michael Buble-esque Michael Nugent serenading you. Wineries include Ellicottville’s own Winery of Ellicottville, Silver Creek’s Willow Creek Winery, Merritt Estate and many more.
Head to the main floor for DJ Gilroy and the heartbeat of the party to pick up. Here, you’ll find your favorite beers. Personally, I prefer either a Southern Tier IPA or EBC (Ellicottville Brewing Company) Stainless Steel Obsession. But if you’re looking to broaden your beer flavor horizon, don’t sweat it - you’ll get to choose between breweries like Victory, Big Ditch, Voodoo, Brooklyn Brewery, Boston Beer, John Harvard’s … shall I continue? There will be a ton of options for every palette - from IPAs to Sessions to Ciders.
On the third floor, “Buffalo’s Favorite Party Band” - Hit N’ Run - covers your favorite songs, and seeing as you’ll be drinking, go ahead and sing along. (You’ll sound great, I promise!) Last year’s Holiday Valley GoPro recap video had a vibrant crowd singing Styx’s “Come Sail Away” in unison with the band. It’s like karaoke with 100 of your closest friends.
Tickets are available at holidayvalley.com or at your nearest Wegman’s, so do not delay if you’re interested in coming. Beer & Wine always sells out well in advance, and if you talk to anyone that’s been, they’ll tell you it’s some of the best fun they have all year.
People I’ve talked to love the event for a multitude of reasons. One said he loves the costumes at Friday evening’s dinner. Another said how much fun he has both with his friends (which is an annual trip for them) and the new people he meets every year. Another even met his wife at Beer & Wine Fest! If that’s not reason enough to check it out, I’m not sure what is.
When the festivities end on Saturday night, you don’t want to be wondering how you’re going to get home. Holiday Valley is offering some really great lodging packages, and you can stay at The Inn (bottom of the hill down the sidewalk), Tamarack Club (adjacent to the HV Lodge) or at one of the many Holiday Valley rental properties. Don’t risk it! Get a group of friends together and stay the night. Options include 1 night for Friday or Saturday, or 2 nights with tickets to both the Dinner and Festival. And Holiday Valley lodging guests have a free shuttle after the Festival to Ellicottville and back.
The 13th Annual Holiday Valley Beer & Wine Festival is brought to you by Holiday Valley, Ellicottville Brewing Company and Southern Tier Brewing Company. For more information or to purchase tickets, head to www.holidayvalley.com/brewfest or call 716-699-2345.