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Beer Trippin’ in New York. Part 1 – Brewery Ommegang

I’m from the East Coast.  Don’t hate me because of it.  We’re not ALL rude…  Really, we’re not.  My wife’s from out that way too and at least once a year, we sling our packs across the camels and head back east for a visit.  You know, to do the whole family thing.  It’s good.  We like it, they like it (I think).  It’s a win/win.

Anyway, it was that time of year again.  Oh, and before I forget, HUGE shout-out to my in-laws, who recently celebrated their 50th Anniversary!  That’s incredible!  Cheers guys!

Time for a journey back to our roots.  My wife’s turn this time, to see her family, go back home, get drenched in humidity, have some seafood, visit an east coast brewery or three and just get away for a little vacation.

We always manage to find a brewery along the way.  Cheers to beer-lovin’ women!  Time for a detour to Brewery Ommegang!  Ommegang, Ommegang, how I adore thee.  A little slice of Belgium right here in the U.S.

Ommegang holds a special place in my beer-pumping heart.  Three Philosophers was a “Belgian gateway” beer for me.  The cherry-quad turned me on to so many new, sweet, tasty Trappist and Trappist-style brews.  It also reminds me of one of my early trips up to NY, in the dead of winter, when my nose hairs instantaneously froze together anytime they were exposed to the bitter cold outside.  Good times.

Brewery Ommegang is located in Cooperstown, NY.  Cooperstown probably rings a bell, as its’ the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Another amazing place that I highly recommend you visit.  I could spend a week there, but I love baseball almost as much as I love beer!

Alright, here’s a 30 second recap.  Ommegang was founded in 1997, by Don Feinberg.  He liked loved Belgian beer and modeled his brewery after a traditional Belgian farmhouse.  A 136-acre Belgian farmhouse to be exact…  People like his beers.  Expansion.  People like his beers A LOT!  He can’t keep up.  Sold to Belgian brewery, Duvel Moortgat in 2003.  Duvel, yeah they rule!  You heard of it?  I hope so.  If not, look it up.  Please, you need to look it up if you don’t know Duvel. Ommegang beers get brewed in both Belgium and Cooperstown, NY to keep up with demand. Expansion, growth, people sucking down Ommegang’s offerings, which brings you to…  Today!

Amazing Belgian-style beers brewed right here in the U.S.  They’ve got an extensive line of creations, including an Abbey, Saison, Witte, Kriek and more.

We had been here before, but it was long before the major brewery growth and cafe addition.  It was back when they had local cheese infused with fresh hops and samples of Belgian chocolate on the tour.  But the ongoing growth has been a good thing.  They manage to conceal the bustling bottle line and production brewery behind the walls of a brick-built “Belgian farmhouse” in the rolling hills of New York.  It’s a beautiful thing.  This place sure is purr-dey.

The newly opened cafe was a welcomed sight as we were rolling in just as our stomachs were beginning to grumble.

I honestly don’t know when this section of the brewery opened, but I was informed I was the first person to use the men’s bathroom.  Strange, but, hmm, ok.  My son gave me a high-five and we headed back to our seats in the dining room.

We ordered the “FonDuvel”, which was a cheese fondue made from three different cheeses and of course Duvel beer.  We had sausage, bread and apples to dip in the fondue pot.  Oh delish!  Add on an order of frites and a few Belgian beers and this is my idea of the perfect meal.

I ordered the Hennepin Saison, followed by a BPA (Belgian Pale Ale) to wash it down, while my wife ordered the Liefmans Cuvee Brut, which is an Oud Bruin blended with cherries.  Our kids tore it up with a juice and root beer.

Click HERE to take a peek at the menu if you’re interested.  In addition to moules y frites, a variety of cheeses, waffles and more, there’s also a great selection of Ommegang and authentic Belgian beer, both on draft and in bottles.

No tour for this visit.  Any kids taking the tour have to be 5 or older and our monkeys don’t meet that criteria just yet.  No worries.  We were free to wander the grounds, smell the facility and watch the world go by.

Seriously, one of the prettiest breweries in the U.S.

They were in full swing, gearing up for their annual Belgium Comes To Cooperstown event.  This is a weekend long event that combines a beer dinner, tasting session, live music and camping to make for an amazing time.  I really need to plan a trip to attend this beer fest.

At any rate, Ommegang is a pretty special place.  Amazing Belgian -style beers, a gift shopped filled with goodies to decorate and drink in your man cave and a recently opened restaurant to keep your tummy stuffed during your visit.  I grabbed a few bottles for the road and we headed out.

If you’re ever in the area, this is a MUST!  They’re located at: 656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown, NY 13326.  607-544-1800.  Also be sure to stop by The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Cooperstown Brewing.

Ommegang can be found in more than 40 states, including Colorado.  Give them a try if you haven’t already.



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