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Day Tripper: Brewery Ommegang

By Ken Day

Day Tripper brings you the information and inspiration you need to get out locally. Families, culture-seekers, adventurers, and thrill junkies will all find something worth hitting the road for– mountains, museums, parks, casinos, breweries and vineyards– and always within a day’s travel of home. So open your door. It’s time to explore.

Brewery Ommegang
Less than 100 Miles
Cooperstown, New York

By looking at the above location you immediately think Baseball Hall of Fame, right? I don’t blame you. The Hall of Fame has been an iconic location in Cooperstown for many years. But Brewery Ommegang is stepping up to the plate as the new highlight of Cooperstown.

Sure, seeing all the history revolving around America’s past time is great, but why not spice things up and see how beer is made in traditional Belgian fashion? Unlike the local brew pubs in the area– Browns Brewing of Troy and The Pump Station in Albany– Brewery Ommegang only has a small cafe and focuses heavily on the craft brew process. The Belgian style brewery does all of its bottling and aging directly on site (or close to it) with no third party affiliation.

The arched entrance of Brewery Ommegang

What makes this an interesting day trip is that Brewery Ommegang offers tours seven days a week from 12pm-4:30pm. During the tour you will learn how Belgian style beer is made — how the “Mort” is created, how they handle fermentation, aging, filtration and other various brew processes. You will also have the opportunity to taste a variety of different ingredients (hops, barley malt, spices, etc..) that are specific to their six types of beer. Continuing the tour you will walk through the bottling hall where hundreds of European imported 750ml bottles fly down the conveyor belts to be bottled and corked. Here is where 6000 bottles per hour are are filled and taken off the conveyor belt by hand.

I went on a Saturday and unfortunately the brewery was not in operation – but still very interesting. I was told by our tour guide that if we visited during the week we would witness them actually making the beer and the bottling hall fully functional.
So now your mind is focused on beer and not baseball – it’s time for the tastings!

When the tour is finished you have the opportunity to taste all of Brewery Ommegang’s beers. Traditional Belgian beers offer a higher alcohol content given the fermentation process. You will taste “Witte” – a light and citrusy ale with an alcohol content of 5.2%. You will also be tasting the infamous “Three Philosophers” – a dark caramel ale with a stunning 9.7% alcohol content.

Like many breweries you can visit their gift shop. You can also purchase growlers and stock up on your favorite Ommegang brew!

Brewery Ommegang travels to local restaurants to offer tastings as well as appearing at local craft beer festivals.

So if you’re thinking about checking out the brewery I recommend going during the week to see the action first hand. If you can’t make it during the week then I recommend checking it out when they have an event scheduled.

The band Cake will be appearing June 15th so I myself may need to make another trip – maybe I’ll see you there!

BREAKDOWN
Activity Level: 0
Cost: Free unless you’re interested in an event or concert
Best for: beer connoisseurs and enthusiasts

DIRECTIONS
Take exit 17 off of I88 (going towards Oneonta)
Turn right onto NY-28 N
Turn right onto NY-166 N/E Main St
Continue to follow NY-166 N
Turn left onto Co Hwy 33
Brewery should be on your right.

Click here for detailed directions

 

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