Next weekend Belgium is coming to Cooperstown, NY…the epicenter of Brewery Ommegang. We are going!
Here we come to enjoy all-star Ales and future Hall-of-Fame brews. I could really care less about visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame. I was there in the 1970’s and I think that most of the ballplayers I found interesting were already enshrined. Since that time, baseball has become a circus, and an pricey one at that.
I guess we all have our passions. I like watching sports but I learned many years ago, being from the Philly-area, that if one bases some measure and worth of his life on the pro diamond, or the rink, or the court, or the field, get ready to be disappointed and depressed. I decided that I had more important things to give my time and heart to. The early to mid 1980’s Eagles broke me of my unduly affection and loyalty. I guess I would say that I like watching the Eagles, and could conceivably like watching the Sixers (if they ever become competitive again. Sorry, sorry, team), and sometimes like watching the Phils. But, I just don’t “love” it.
Plus, the pairing of big time sports, big breweries, and the exorbitant pricing thereof, caused me to turn away.
Ommegang started out for me as a less expensive version of Chimay. Made stateside by the Belgian Brewery Duvel, it has become my favorite. I scored two tickets month ago…they went quicker than Jamaican sprinter Bolt runs. In less than 24 hours, sold-out. I had my I-Phone calendar set for 12:01 PM on the day the tickets became available, and had the link to the third party ticket processing website. Good thing too. Ommegang’s website crashed. Tickets were like chum in a shark tank.
The dilemma we faced was lodging as we were waiting for another couple who were hemming and hawing about whether they wanted to come to Cooperstown or not. They had already lost the chance to get tix but now they were evaluating whether they would still come to Cooperstown to spend a day or two hanging out with us or not. We finally found a place in Cooperstown that had a room. The Tunnicliff Inn.
I was getting desperate for lodging and figured that we might just have to sleep in my Civic. With the Baseball Hall of Fame, a perennial summer favorite for vacations and visitations, plus the Ommegang gig, rooms were far and few in-between. The clincher for me was that the Tunnicliff Inn has Ommegang on tap. MMMM. I was at a microbrewery festival at Stoudt’s last summer where Ommegang was so much better than the other beers it was like a man among mere boys. Or pros amid little leaguers. Stoudt’s brews were actually a solid second…and everyone else was minor league in comparison. It is not that they were bad, it just is the Ommegang is so good.
Look at the line-up:
Participating breweries thus far:
Micro Braserie Charlevoix
Dog Fish Head
White Birch Brewing
Lawson’s Finest Liquids
Bobcat Café and Brewery
Clipper City/Heavy Seas
Custom Brew Crafters
Stillwater Artisanal Ales
Brouwerij De Dochter Van De Korenaar
Brouwerij ‘t Gaverhopke
Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse
Ithaca Beer Co.
My favorite Ommegang style?
The Three Philosophers (to the right). The New York Yankees of old or new, have nothing on these heavy-hitters.