COOPERSTOWN, NEW YORK
One of America’s most exquisite breweries, OMMEGANG has hand crafted sterling Belgian styled beers since Belguim’s Duvel Moortgat, Affligem, and Scaldis joined forces with importing entrepreneurs Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield in 1996 to build an authentic Belgian-style farmstead brewery in Cooperstown. On an old 140-acre hop farm in the Susquehanna River valley, Ommegang expanded capacity by 40% during 2008.
One of the earliest and best examples of America’s brewing renaissance, the ambitious farmhouse retreat added a radically renovated 20-draught tap house with enlarged café and kitchen, covered patio and expanded store, during 2018.
Beginning with Abbey Dubbel, then Hennepin Saison and Rare Vos Amber, Ommegang’s Belgian styled beers are amongst the best known and most appreciated inside and outside America.
A front entrance patio and back wood deck surround the upscale stable-like farmstead pub. Its hardwood 10-seat bar (with prominent barback hutch) services right side pendant-lit chairs and tables as well as a loungey left side cabana area.
During my wintry journey in January 2023, discovered seven more worthy Ommegang suds while seated at the box-lit bar eating snacks and light pub fare. There stylistic range broadened over the years to include New England-styled IPA’s, breakfast stouts, etc.
“Evanescent” NEIPA, Neon Rainbows, retained soft-toned effervescence as tart lemon-dropped grapefruit, sweet orange peel, tangy mango and sour guava subtly sashayed thru musty cellared fungi and slight piney bittering.
Dry-hopped IPA, Hopstate, let lemony grapefruit, orange and pineapple tanginess penetrate musty herb-salted pine resin.
Strong blonde ale, Everything Nice, plied rum-caked powdered sugaring to wintry cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger spicing as well as creamy vanilla for boozy 9% ABV resilience.
For its 25th Anniversary Imperial Amber Ale, coriander-spiced citrus sweetness stayed demure as prune-dried stewed fig and apricot picked up oaken cherry tannins sprinkled with white pepper.
Honeyed ‘granola stout,’ Keep It Crunchy, let sugared pecan, dried cranberry and oats-flaked cocoa adjuncts get happily ambushed by maple syrupy dark chocolate, walnut black coffee and buttery pine nut.
For Imperial Keep It Crunchy, the hardy oatmeal stout picked up deeper Belgian candi-sugared cocoa nibs influence and more pronounced black coffee nuttiness, allowing tertiary bruised black cherry, blackberry, blueberry and anise illusions to sneak by.
Wondrous winter ale, Bourbon Barrel Adoration, aged in Buffalo Trace bourbon, put rummy burgundy sugaring and dry plum wining inside caramelized raisin-fig-date conflux contrasting leathery oaken vanilla.
Original 1998 Aquarian Weekly article below
It’s worth visiting Baseball’s Hall Of Fame just to stop by peerless Belgian-styled OMMEGANG BREWERY. Not a brewpub per se, but a fully detailed operational brewery with available samples of exquisite ales. Most of Ommegang’s full product line could be found in Beer Index. In November ’98, while vacationing with extended family, I also found a few previously unbeknownst Saranac’s and Woodstock brews that I’d get familiar with over the years to come.