Back on Saint Patrick’s Day 2014 my best friend Ashley and I took a trip over to Ommegang Brewery for not only some St. Paddy’s celebration but to pick up some Game of Thrones Fire and Blood (which had it’s release party at the brewery the previous day). And I began my Ommegang glassware collection that day.
Ommegang is located in the hillside by Cooperstown, nestled on a beautiful sloping hill. The building is absolutely gorgeous looking. It looks like something that has been there for hundreds of years, and in a good way. The all white walls gleam in the bright sunlight and the roof shows off a nice pattern that repeats across the whole building.
You drive up the road and pull off to the left into the parking lot. From there you walk back to the front and pass under the deep archway.
I loved the archway. It makes for a grand entrance, giving the illusion you’re walking into an old estate. Once you come out the other side you can see the hill rising above you, a large clearing that ends in a tree line. While the field was empty on this chilly March day they do hold events and concerts there.
Nestled behind the main building off to the right is the Gift Shop/Cafe. We went in and then just stood there for a moment. There before you is a whole section of glassware. Each specific year round beer they brew has its own glass designed just for it. I knew right away I was going to be coming home with more than one glass. Ommegang is one of my favorite breweries. They specialize in Belgian style beers and their selection is quite excellent. They brew my favorite Belgian Dubbel; Abbey Ale. It is my go to Belgian beer and my main beer to cook with.
Besides the glassware, set front and center as you walk in was the Game of Thrones display. This was the main reason we had made the trek to Cooperstown. For Fire and Blood. But before we filled a basket with gift shop goodies we realized we needed to eat, especially if we were going to be sampling some delicious beers.
I’ve had Taproom food before and some of it is good and some is okay. But at Ommegang this is not a Taproom with some bar grub. This is a full blown cafe. They take pride in their food and the chef makes some amazing dishes. The meal I had was delicious, better than I’ve had in many a restaurant.
Besides the food there two line ups of beer taps. On one side is the regular Ommegang lineup and on the other a selection of beers brewed by other breweries in the Duvel family. I started off with the Fire and Blood and then enjoyed a Glimmerglass.
A Quick Tour
After that it was time for the tour. There was a small group that day and the tour itself was quick. At the start, before going into the main brewing hall you walk across the back courtyard. Towering above you are their large lagering towers where the beer is aged before filtration. They give you an idea of the kind of volume in play here.
After the quick walk it’s into the main brewery itself. You follow the brewing process from beginning to end (and get a peek into their open fermentor where so much of the magic happens). The tour ends with the large bottling line, which allows for far more bottling capacity than they are currently at, giving them plenty of room for growth,
After the tour it’s back to the small little tasting room tucked off the side of the Cafe and Gift Shop. In there, you get a sampling of each of their year round offerings and a small complimentary tasting glass. Once the tour and tasting was done it was time to head back into the Gift Shop. Beers, t-shirts, and multiple glassware later it was back out into the parking lot and the drive back to my buddy Ashley’s house where she and her husband would be heading out for their first St. Paddy’s as a married couple, once he got off work. Ashley had her Fire and Blood in hand, happy to bring it home to save for another day.
Overall, it was a great afternoon. Ommegang was a pleasure to visit. It’s an absolutely gorgeous looking place with world class beers and outstanding cuisine. I’m definitely going back again this year.