On West Main Street in Lancaster, nestled inside Lille Belle Meads, lies one of New York State’s newest, and perhaps, most unheralded, farm breweries, TIL Brewing, a passion project of Lilly Belle’s Joe Marshall. TIL, short for Things I Like, is one of Western New York’s nearly four dozen breweries, one that, in the face of a heavily trend-driven craft beer scene, is brewing beer the way they want to brew it, while working on “thoughtfully created recipes with rich and complex flavor profiles.”
Marshall, a homebrewer at heart, says that he launched TIL, which he owns with childhood friend Jeff Henseler, in an effort to enrich the taproom offerings at Lilly Belle and quench the thirst of those patrons who happen to be looking for a beer. Although it’s a company unto itself independent of Lilly Belle, all of the brewing will take place there.
“I started brewing beer back in 2005; it wasn’t until my wife Tricia wanted to open Lilly Belle Meads that I began making mead with her,” Marshall says. “We love bringing mead to the craft beverage world and getting people excited about it, but Lilly Belle has always had guest beers on tap from farm breweries like Rusty Nickel and West Shore. While people have liked LBM’s meads, some patrons simply lean towards beer, and most craft beer drinkers are always interested in what’s brewed closest to where they are, and nobody is closer to LBM than TIL. We’re known for mead and part of why I started TIL is to enhance LBM’s tasting room and what we can offer to our customers.”
TIL is working with a 3 vessel, 1-barrel brewhouse with fermenter capacity of up to 8 barrels at a time, in an effort to keep the batches small and the beer fresh.
“We started talking about it early on,” he says of the idea for adding a beer element at Lilly Belle. “We’re in Lancaster and there is no craft brewery there, so about six months after opening the meadery, we approached Jeff about starting up a brewery with me and TIL Brewing began.”
Marshall says that talks of a collaboration with West Shore Brewing have already begun, as have talks of a beer x mead hybrid with Lilly Belle. He adds that he hopes to have TIL beers on taps in Lancaster and across WNY soon, along with bottles releases at the brewery.
“It’s called a braggot,” he explains of a beer/mead hybrid. “You get the crispness and flavor of the beer with a nice honey element in the finish. It’s a very unique realm of craft beverage and we will be one of the only ones in the area making them regularly.”
As far as the beer you can expect to see on tap at TIL, Joe loves a good crispy (German lager, Hefeweizen) and Jeff is a big stout and Belgian fan. Naturally, they both love IPAs. “Just like the meads at LBM, I want you to taste all the flavors we describe, but leave you refreshed with a clean palate,” Marshall says of what to expect from TIL’s beers.
“Things I like, things Jeff likes, and hopefully others like too,” he adds. “Being small, we’ll be able to keep a lot of variety in what we produce and hopefully keep it interesting to anybody that sees TIL on tap at Lilly Belle or anywhere else. We’ll probably be doing a lot of stouts, IPA’s obviously, but also getting into lagers and some lighter styles. We’re excited to play around and do split batches or variations on regulars too.”
“I think that a new brewery the size of TIL is where there is the most chance for success right now. A smaller brewery like ours allows us to really just focus on making the best fresh beer we can and also supplies the need for a place (like Lancaster) to get local craft beer they can’t get anywhere else,” he says. “Again, Lancaster doesn’t have a brewery yet, and even though they have taken to craft mead, people really want a brewery they can call their own there too, so they’re stoked for us.”
But wait, Things I Like? Turns out, as Marshall so eloquently explains, the meaning and story behind the name is fluid.
“The meaning and story actually change all the time, but if we ever say that TIL means anything other than ‘Things I Like,’ then we’ve probably had a couple beers by the time you ask,” Marshall explains. “When we first started talking about the brewery, one of us said ‘I just want to brew things I like,’ and that idea stuck, so we went with TIL Brewing. We want to keep hold of the fun and creative side of brewing on a professional level and we think people will appreciate that. While we want to brew beers that everybody likes, we figured if one of us says ‘I don’t like it’, then it isn’t going to be a TIL beer. We’ll have the beers you expect, but we’re certainly not afraid to experiment, and in today’s craft beverage climate, that is also a necessity.”
“Stay safe out there and we look forward to having a pint of TIL beer with everyone soon!” Marshall says in parting. How fitting.
TIL Brewing is located at 11 West Main Street (Ste 102) in Lancaster. For more information, visit https://www.tilbrewing.com.
Brian Campbell is co-founder and Brand Manager of the Buffalo Beer League, and writes the weekly Buffalo Beer Buzz column. If you have beer news that should be included in the Beer Buzz, Brian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Twitter (@buffbeerleague), Instagram (@buffalobeerleague), and Facebook (@thebuffalobeerleague).