It’s easy to see why Ellicottville is such a fun place to come and play. Two resorts, a town alive with food and drink, and plenty of people you can share the stoke with. If you’re a seasonal (or even regular) visitor to 14731, you understand that this place - not just Ellicottville, but the entire region - thrives on being outside. Just a short drive over Chapel Hill or down Route 417 lies an entire area you may not know existed. These Enchanted Mountains contain much more than machine groomed packed powder, and we’re encouraging you to get out of your comfort zone and explore.
A MAGICAL MIXTURE OF HOPS … AND GOOD GRUB
He wanted to provide Olean with something no one else had. After brewing his own beer for over 10 years, Gregg Piechota - an Allegany native - bounced an idea off of his friend Jaye Beattie about opening a craft beer bar. After some consideration, they conceded that Olean was in desperate need of something new, something fresh. Four Mile Brewery was born.
“I just started thinking, if no one else is going to do it, maybe I can be the one, Piechota told me. “Myself, Jaye, and Nick - our 3rd investor - all had kind of a similar vision for what we wanted it to be, and we all brought different things to the table. It was a perfect fit.”
Four Mile’s history goes back to a time when (gasp!) the government didn’t want us to drink. No, they refused to let us drink. In 1907, the Olean Brewing Company opened at the same brick & mortar where Four Mile resides (until Prohibition forced it to close.) Now, 202 E. Greene Street is alive and well again, providing the masses with magical mixtures of hops.
“I’m a big IPA guy,” Piechota said. “My main brewer Craig (Clark) is as well. We centered our flagship brew - the Allegheny IPA - around that love. It’s a recipe derived from 20 years of Craig trying to find that perfect blend (editor’s note: Craig nailed it. The beer is really good!) and we took it from there. After we attempted - successfully - to brew it in our large system, we knew we had a winner. That’s by far our best seller.”
Four Mile’s rapid ascension within the ranks of western New York’s craft beer scene is a testament to the dedication Gregg and co. have in brewing a great beer. Initially on board with Sanzo Distribution, they soon found that the Buffalo market was thirsty for some fresh blood (breweries). Now with Certo Distribution, there are 65 Four Mile taps in the Buffalo area, with many more on the way.
“We’re constantly growing, constantly expanding,” he said. “We recently signed on with TJ Sheehan Distribution, which has a heavy presence in the Rochester/Syracuse markets - our first kegs shipped to Rochester last week.”
But to fully experience the Four Mile brand, you need to head over to Olean and see it for yourself. By utilizing the old building, Four Mile has been able to recapture that pre-Prohibition vibe … all the while, bringing a new-age touch to it.
“The 2nd floor is now good to go for private parties,” Piechota said. “We’ve got Coach Schmidt’s (St. Bona Men’s Basketball Coach) radio show broadcasting live every week, and we do gameday specials whenever there’s a Bona game. During the summertime, our biergarten comes alive with live music and people hanging outside by the firepits. We’ve created a really great scene that people have been loving.”
When you go over, don’t think that beer is the only purpose of your trip. Four Mile’s kitchen is constantly cooking up fresh dishes to complement the hops, and Piechota said their winter menu is darn near as good - or better - as the summer one. Now that New York State has lightened up and lets bars serve alcohol before noon on Sundays, brunch has become a weekly lightning rod. (Now, if we could only get Uber!) And if you’re just in the mood for some beer and tacos, then Taco Tuesday should do just the trick.
“The reception we’ve gotten from both the people of Olean and the local craft beer scene has been just tremendous,” Piechota said. “What’s really great is that a lot of our brewery peers in the Buffalo area consider us a ‘local’ brew. If you can find something that no one else does, why don’t you do it?”
Four Mile Brewery is located at 202 E. Green St. in Olean. Find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and at www.fourmilebrewing.com.
EXPERIENCE THE OUTDOORS … INDOORS
It’s so much more than a gun show. When the Olean Sports Show opened its doors to the public eight years ago, it was easy to assume that this would be another run-of-the-mill sportsmen show, complete with guns, knives, ammo and all of the appropriate hunting accessories. But as society’s propensity for spending more time outdoors has grown, so has the Sports Show.
Going down at Good Times of Olean on Jan. 21-22, the Sports Show has transformed itself into a full-blown dream for outdoor enthusiasts. Adding vendors that cater to kayakers, snowshoers and mountain bikers, it has diversified itself into an appealing exhibition for all ages and interests.
“We try to say it’s not just blood and guts,” laughed Meme Yanetsko of the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce. “There is still plenty of that, so hunters need not worry. But we have made a dedicated effort to make this show more appealing to a broader range of people. When we first started, we thought it was a great idea because of the success of the Home Show. Then, we were pulling in just local vendors. Now, we’re getting people from two, three, four hours away.”
One of such vendors is Jim Beverly of Oakfield, NY. Missing all but one year, Beverly specializes in training Golden Retrievers to track prey while hunting. If you’ve got a dog and you’re interested in teaching him how to do more than sit at your feet while you’re eating, you can bring them along to the Sports Show.
“WPIG and The Mix come and play MC for us to kind of direct traffic inside the show,” Yanetsko said. “We don’t want people missing out on all of the great seminars and activities that we have planned. In doing so, they’re able to do some live broadcasts directly from Good Times.”
Some vendors even bring ATVs, side-by-sides and snowmobiles right to the show, where you can hop in and take them for a test drive. Although kayak vendors will be there as well, you might not be able test them out … seeing as the pond will be frozen.
“Country Squirrel of Ridgeway, PA will bring a selection of the snowshoes they sell,” continued Yanetsko, “so you’ll be able to get onto those and cruise around. We’ll also offer more seminars geared towards women and the outdoors - how to shoot recreationally, take care of yourself outside, hiking, kayaking, and outfitting the entire family. We’re really looking forward to this year’s show.”
For more information on the Olean Sports Show, head to oleanny.com or call the Chamber at 716-372-4433.
STICK AROUND … THERE’S NO RUSH!
After you’re done cruising around the Sports Show (and before you head over to Four Mile) get in a couple games of bowling at Good Times. With plenty of lanes, a full-service bar, volleyball courts and restaurants, it’s a great spot to take the family if you’re in need of a day off. (See gtofood.com for an overview of all the fun that Good Times of Olean has to offer.)
Plan an overnight stay so you can take your time from one attraction to the next. Check the Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce website for lodging options while you’re in the Olean area. Multiple hotels and bed & breakfasts reside in the area, both on the main drag and tucked away along the Allegheny River. The Microtel Inn & Suites located on Route 417 (800-771-7171) offers free continental breakfast, WiFi access, a fitness room, business center, guest laundry ... there’s even a Dunkin Donuts on the property! Book your stay and make a weekend out of it! You’ll be pleased you did!