Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hangin' out on the East Toast

Home for the holidays. Turkey, log cabin (yes I grew up in one), hound dog, football, and family. After a fun-filled and tasty Thanksgiving, we were looking to get out and about and do something different. We decided to check out the Ommegang Brewery in Cooperstown, NY.  Though it has been in existence since 1997, we were excited to get out to its rural location to see the new tasting room and brew pub.

My family waves at me through the giant arch!

The grounds and buildings were spectacularly beautiful, particularly the large arch that greeted us upon arrival. We walked through the main doors into merch central, a room filled with beer, food, and swag with doors into the pub and the tasting room. We were not the only ones who thought this was a good post-thanksgiving idea. About 10 minutes after we got our name onto the wait list the place was packed! From the bar to the pub seating area, the merch room to the tasting room, it was SRO with little space to spare. While at times it was claustrophobic, the people-watching potential was tremendous.

My dad got the best seat for eating ALL THE FRIES!

The menu was unique and eclectic, with an organizational system that kept us hopping. There were many fresh and interesting options - all Euro-inspired. We started with baskets of frites, and were treated to two spreads per order. My favorite was the cumin ketchup. Have you noticed how posh ketchup is getting these days? It seems like everyone is weighing in on this basic and iconic condiment. The garlic aoli was excellent as well.

I had the Three Philosophers to go with the fondue I split with Amanda and Aldo. A blend of quadruple Belgian ale and a cherry lambic, this was a rich beer with hints of cherry, vanilla, malt, and bourbon. It was just hoppy enough to have a bitter finish, but would not put off those who like their beers done differently than your standard Northwest IPA. Aldo tried the Belgian Independence Day Tripel, a classic Belgian ale with hints of vanilla.

After lunch we went in for a tasting. The tasting room was beautiful with lots of windows. We were treated to tiny pilsner glasses for our tastes, a souvenir to take home. Beyond the beers we tried at lunch, my favorite was the Hennepin, a golden ale with orange peel and spice.

My mom and Amanda enjoying the tasting. 
All in all, our experience at Ommegang was pleasant with good food and good beer! It was a great way to spend some time with the family over the holidays!


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