War Horse Brewing Co. is located on one of the most idyllic plots of land known to brewing, in New York’s Finger Lakes wine region. For visitors it’s the best of both worlds: vineyards on one side, and beer and hard cider brewed on site on the other.
The War Horse facility has a rotating tap line of classic beers like the Breakfast With Churchill, an oatmeal coffee stout, plus wine-inspired beers like the Peace Bomber, a Riesling wheat ale. And, of course, it pours such IPAs as the Lieutenant Dan and double IPAs like the Big Broadcast.
We caught up with Jon Mansfield, War Horse’s brewery operations manager, to find out his death-row beer, his first brewery crush, and why no bar compares to drinking at home.
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1. What’s your desert island beer?
It’s got to be something hydrating, right? Probably a cream ale or a Mexican lager. You have to be able to wake up and drink it.
2. What’s the beer that made you fall in love with beer?
Great Lakes’ Dortmunder Gold and Rohrbach’s Scotch Ale. Great Lakes was a college friend’s local beer and that was one of the first times I had had a craft beer that was light and easy. It showed me that craft beer could be anything, not just huge, bold flavors. Rorbachs is a Rochester (New York) brewery. It was probably the first time I saw a beer on tap and then saw the place it was made. It was kind of like, “Oh wow, you can be from here and make beer and it can stand right next to everything else.”
3. FMK three beer types: IPA, pilsner, sour.
F: IPA. Exciting, fresh, juicy, bitter. I mean… right? M: Pilsner. Clean, classic, elegant. Approachable yet still complex. Just like my wife. K: Sour. You have to off one. Sorry, Tarty.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your last supper beer?
What do you have on tap with the highest alcohol by volume? Give me two, I’m going out on top.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
My house. I control the drink and food list, it’s way cheaper, I control the door, the music, and the dress code. And the staff have to be nice to me.
6. What’s the best and worst beer in your fridge right now?
Best: whatever the freshest is. When one of our brewer friends puts out a new beer and we get to check it out brand-new, it is a mind-blowing combo of fresh beer, wonderment, and pride. Worst: There is a lonely bottle of a Mexican lager (the one that needs lime) in the back of the fridge. It came over during some get-together and has never been claimed.
7. If you could no longer drink beer, what would be your beverage of choice?
Working hours: I’m on a sparkling water kick right now. Wegmans brand, unflavored. After hours: wine. I like Manhattans but if I need to pick a top dog, wine is it. No mixing, no shaking, no measuring, just pour and drink. And the levels you can dive into is fascinating, you can tease apart aromas, flavors, terroir, or you just drink it because it tastes good.