Mantorville Brewing Company, just 18 miles west of Rochester and known for its Stagecoach brand beers, has been quiet for the past year, but the brewery just received a big award and is ready to celebrate by ramping up production and new packaging.
Stagecoach Honey Golden Ale was recently awarded a gold medal at the World Beer Championships, meaning that a panel of 12 international judges deemed it an exceptional example of style, rating it 90 on a 100 scale.
It’s the first award the brewery has won, and also the first beer it’s entered in competition. The Honey Golden Ale blends toasty, sweet, and savory impressions for an overall light-bodied, easy drinking experience. The only higher-rated U.S. golden ale was 420 Extra Pale Ale from SweetWater Brewing (Atlanta).
It’s an exciting and a busy time for entrepreneur Tod Fyten, who owns the brewery and handles the majority of internal operations. He purchased sole ownership of Mantorville back in 2002, but it’s his 32nd year in the brewing industry, with previous work in sales, distribution, and publishing.
Using the Stagecoach brand, Fyten’s beers focus on clean, consistent, and accessible flavor profiles that also include Amber and Smoked Porter. They’re styles in tune with the brewery’s 1990s origins, but Fyten is consistently fine-tuning them in the present. Instead of a beer-of-the-month mentality, at Mantorville it’s about craftsmanship and tweaking recipes, he says.
“We won a gold medal with our beer and there are still a couple of things I’m not satisfied with,” he said. Honey Golden Ale has been recognized as world class, but, he says, “My job is to make the very best.”
Stagecoach beers have been unavailable of late, he says, because of a brand and brewery revamp.
“A lot of people have asked questions about what’s been going on,” he said. In short: “It’s been a long process.”
New six-packs will debut in April in an easy-to-carry-and-stack “strongbox” that was influenced by James Page 6-pack holders in the 1990s and today’s Boulevard’s boxes. A new box sounds simple to customers, but logistics behind the scene delayed it. With the new packages ready to be filled with beer and carried home, now Fyten is turning attention inward, expanding the brewery so customers won’t have to go without again.
A visit to Mantorville Brewing Company is a visit to Mantorville’s historic downtown, where Fyten’s brewery is intertwined with the surrounding businesses. Inside the one-room brewhouse, visitors will find converted creamery tanks and equipment reminiscent of 1990s craft beer makers.
The scale of operations and the workspace, Fyten notes, are a unique piecemeal charm different than the familiar stainless steel towers of newly constructed breweries.
“We’re a step back in time on the history of the craft movement,” he said. The rest of downtown reflects an older era. Fyten serves samples at the brewery, but directs customers across the street to the Hubbell House for pints and lunch, a means of connecting businesses, past and present.