Pints for Prostates

Friday, June 22, 2012

Brewery Ommegang

A couple weeks back, Kim and I took a road trip to Cooperstown, New York to tour Brewery Ommegang. The brewery makes some of the best Belgian style beers here in the States and worldwide. I'm sure I could go on and on about the brewery and the beers (I highly recommend them), but I'm just going to post some pictures and comment.
Ommegang Farmhouse
Ommegang was built in the 1990s but the design is that of a traditional Belgian farmhouse.

We checked in at the gift shop to sign up for the next tour and purchase tasting tickets ($3/person). We had a short wait so we went to the cafe/bar.
Cafe Ommegang
Fermentation is pretty awesome.
Beer, wine, bread, pickles, cheese, fish sauce, sake, yogurt, sauerkraut, vodka, etc.
Belgian (style) breweries:
Ommegang, Maredsous, Duvel, Liefmans, Brasserie  D'Achouffe
Belgian Pale Ale and cappuccino 
Tasting Ommegang's Belgian Pale Ale, fresh from the tap at the brewery, may have been the high point of the day for me. Really! We could have left right then and I would have been happy. I've had the BPA before, but it didn't taste like this. So much flavor. It even seemed like it had a slight barnyard Brett flavor (I'm fairly certain no Brettanomyces was used), which I loved and I hope I never forget.
Our tour guide in front of bottling equipment
The half hour tour was good. The brewery is fairly small. Our tour guide talked about how beer is made, the fermentation, and bottling. They have a clean room with an open fermenter. The beer ferments at 75 F!

After the tour, our guide led us to the tasting room. He put pretzels and various cheese spreads and sauces on the counter. We sampled all six of the Ommegang beers, from lightest (Witte) to darkest (Three Philosophers). The tour guide described each of the beers and the special herbs and spices added to each (I guess the Belgians didn't buy in to the whole Reinheitsgebot thing).
Herbs and Spices
After the tasting, we asked to be seated outside to enjoy a Sunday afternoon lunch/dinner. We had rain showers on and off that day, but luckily it held out long enough for us to eat and enjoy glimpses of the sun.
Outdoor seating
and a little red after the tasting
Hennepin ,a farmhouse Saison
Witte, a Belgian style wheat ale, or witbier
Checkout this menu!

Frites (twice-fried fries) with two sauces:
1) Abbey Ale and cumin ketchup and 2) Mustard with Witte Ale and honey
Moules Witte (mussels in Witte broth and Shiitake mushrooms)
Crepe with spinach and goat cheese
Crepe with duck confit and Shiitake mushrooms
Obviously, the meal was stunning. Visually appealing, good execution, and lots of flavors. Very enjoyable. Not too expensive either (though watch yourself when you pass back through the gift shop--that can get expensive, trust me).

I recommend visiting Brewery Ommegang for your own Upstate New York flavor adventure. And if you can't make it, look for their beers. All six are excellent representations of their respective beer style. Rather than a bottle of wine, pick up a bottle of Ommegang to take to your friends house for dinner. Cheers!
Ommegang Abbey Ale and Hennepin

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