Published in Localvore Today

The Northeast has a rich and vibrant brewing tradition and I’m continually amazed at how many world-class breweries are within a day’s drive from Vermont. For this edition, I headed west to Cooperstown, New York, to visit Brewery Ommegang (656 County Highway 33, Cooperstown, NY 13326).

At just under four hours drive-time from Burlington, VT, a day-trip to Ommegang is totally do-able. The drive will surely be glorious when spring and summer work their magic on Upstate New York with all that farmland and trees.

Cooperstown is a bit off the beaten path, but keep on going. Right about when you think you’ve taken a wrong turn, you’ll round a corner and Brewery Ommegang sits elegantly in a serene open field. The brewery was built in 1997 on an old hop farm and honestly looks like a little piece of Europe dropped right into New York.


This image is no accident. The founders of the brewery, who have since sold off their shares, were so inspired by all the amazing beers that they encountered on a trip to Belgium that they wanted to bring that brewing tradition back to the States. They fashioned Ommegang in the style of Belgian farmhouse breweries, making sure that the building and grounds fit seamlessly into the landscape. (Today, the brewery is fully owned by Duvel Moorgat, a well-respected family-owned Belgian brewery, which was an initial investor in the project.)

If you plan to enjoy the café, which you really should, your best bet is to check in with the host stand right when you arrive: I’m told that it can be tough to get a table for lunch or dinner during the summer. Get your name on the wait list and then head off to enjoy a tour of the brewery and a guided tasting. Tours are free and tastings are only $5 and include a souvenir tasting glass.


After your tour and tasting, grab a bite and a beer in the café. I highly recommend starting with the cheese plate, which includes artisan New York cheeses, and the charcuterie plate, both of which come with house-made beer-infused accoutrements. Entrées include chicken and Belgian waffles, a house-made black bean burger, spicy Moroccan Sausage sandwich and more. There’s a little something for everyone!

For beers, you can order up any of Ommegang’s core group of beers including Abbey Ale, Witte, Rare Vos, Hennepin and Three Philosophers. You’ll also find seasonal brews like Glimmerglass, their spring Saison lightly spiced with sweet orange peel and pink peppercorns, plus some rare one-off beers only available at the brewery. They also offer beers from the rest of the Duvel Moortgat family of breweries: Duvel, Achouffe, Maredsous, Liefmans, De Koninck and Boulevard.

Before you leave, make sure to check out the company store. They have everything from cowboy-style shirts and hoodies to beer and barware. Stock up on rare beers and grab some beer-infused mustards and cheese spreads.

Brewery Ommegang hosts many special events during the spring and summer including concerts, beer dinners and a huge beer festival called “Belgium Comes To Cooperstown.” Make sure to check out the calendar on their website for upcoming events.

And if you’re looking to make a full day of your trip to Cooperstown, swing on over to the Baseball Hall of Fame (25 Main Street). They’re only about ten minutes apart.

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Jeff Baker

A student of existentialism, a Cicerone Certified Beer Server and a Wine Location Specialist on the Champagne region, Jeff believes in thoroughly evaluating and extolling the merits of finely crafted beverages. He is currently a contributor for the Daily Beet, a columnist for the Burlington Free Press and the Curator of the Curriculum for Farrell Distributing.