Today's grativibe is about working hard to share your passion with others.
Did you ever have a friend show you something uniquely interesting and cool, and then the friend said “I made it for you! I hope you enjoy it!" That’s kind of the story of my new favorite microbrewery Big Inlet Brewing!
A Passion for Beer and Fun
Some friends and relatives - Randy Henderson, Brent Henderson, Mike Starks and John Weise – through hard work and a passion for beer and fun, turned a working farm into a spacious, laid back, out-doors-y small batch craft microbrewery. It's in a big old barn with a barrel roof, located just off the top end of Chautauqua Lake near Panama Rocks. You can find your new favorite hangout at 6169 Elm Flat Rd, Mayville, NY. Elm Flat Road is a nice Chautauqua County rural road with no lines painted on it.
Mike and John had each been brewing at home for a decade already and just had to take it to the next level, so the planning began. Mike has won microbrewery competitions and it shows in the many choices in the well thought out beer menu. The hometown boy in me loves that they use locally grown/produced ingredients. New York has always been a good farming state.
Inside and Outside
Inside, they have a first floor with the main bar, seating, and space for a small band. There is a loft as well where you can peer down on the beauty of the cutest little brewing equipment ever! (The inside seating is not in use right now to adhere to social distancing guidance.) The wide-open outdoor space with many picnic tables and outdoor stage is very peaceful: plenty of elbow room. While I and my good friend Bob were there the outside biergarten was underway and eventually a pond will further enhance the farm's beauty.
During our visit one of the several great food trucks was there, ‘Moo Cheesy’. This fine truck is proudly owned and operated by Robyn R Tyler, who is retired from service in the US Navy. Her menu feature is the namesake MooCheesy, a half-pound burger and sauteed onions between two classic 'cheesies' (grilled cheese sandwiches). Bob and I shared the Dill Pickle Cheesie with dill pickle cream cheese, mozzarella and sliced dill pickles in rye bread. WOW! It paired great with the beers. Next time, I plan on trying the Cheesy Siracha Grits. The other food trucks Big Inlet partners with until they have the kitchen up and running include Big Melch's Smokin BBQ, Kev's Kitchen, Siri Thai Cuisine and good old Stedman Corners Café.
Oh wait! The beer! I almost forgot!
“Ultimately, beer is about a good time” says their website. Can confirm! Their current beer menu always has an explorer-friendly variety of stouts, ales, porters, wheats, reds, and ambers, a cider or two, and an occasional special run thrown in like Lowbrow Blackberry Sour. Some microbreweries are IPA-heavy, which is just too much sometimes, but Big Inlet seems like a menu everyone can enjoy. I tried Scott’s Tavern Ale, Experimental Amber, and finally Naturally Red, all which I would enjoy again of I didn't want to try all the others on the menu! You'll find the owners manning the taps and roaming the grounds and it's wonderful to talk to them and feel their pride in the place and their products - the passion comes through.
The microbrewery grounds have a large area with an outdoor stage with lots of tables for hanging out with friends and family. You can find a wide variety of regional bands playing every Friday and Saturday, with some that come around on the regular. Lots of people bring their chairs and set up when the bands arrive. There is a smaller inside stage as well which is not being used right now. The woods, the grass, the shade and friends help to make it feel like a summer backyard party. In mid-August, Big Inlet plays host to the Mayville Bluegrass Festival, and I can't wait!
Come for the craft microbrew beer, but leave with a great all-around time and a relaxed smile on your face......and probably a growler or two, I'm thinking!
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