Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ommegang Brewery - Cooperstown, NY

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh............. My favorite weekend of the year has come and gone. This year, however, was even more exceptional than ever before. Every Labor Day weekend one of my favorite bands moe. hosts a music festival in upstate New York. The eleventh annual moe.down was held in a new location. For the first time in a decade moe. wouldn't be entertaining on the slopes of Snoe.Ridge, but instead at Gelston Castle Estates in the city of Moe.hawk. Much, much more on this very soon... In the meantime I want to tell you about my stop on the way to the .down.

Since Cooperstown is only about thirty minutes south, we decided to visit Ommegang Brewery. This craft brewery specializes in authentic Belgian ales. If you've never tried any of there brews I urge you to make the effort to search out a 750ml of any variety they sell, which is limited to a select few. Quality over quantity.

The original owners of the Belgian beer company Duvel invested in the brewery. The building embraces Belgian architecture and art. It was built in one of North America's most densely populated hop regions many years ago until mold spread, killing the area. Ironically, the brewery uses imported European hops like a Czech Saaz. If you couldn't tell we took the free tour and tasting. Here's the tour in a nutshell:

Before the tasting, although it's probably hard to believe.

Woj checking out the field behind the brewery.

These are the wild hop vines growing around the front of the building (you can see them in the very first picture too).

Entrance to the tasting room.

Well said Frank. Underneath the chalkboard are samples of the ingredients used in all the beers. These are discussed during the demonstration. The beers we had during the tasting were all pretty stellar.

From what I could tell these were massive water tanks.

The "kitchen" of the brewery: The actual brew house. I'm fairly certain this tank is used to boil the wort. There was a gigantic mash tun behind it also used in the six hour process to create a batch.

Although it doesn't look like much, I believe this is where the fermentation is done. I found it pretty amazing that all varieties of Ommegang beer go through at least one stage of open fermentation, sometimes with the roof opened. Even as a homebrewer this seems risky with the threat of contamination.

Here's a shot of one BBT. A Bright Beer Tank is used in the time between fermentation and bottling to make sure the beer is suitable to be sold. To the right you can see the level of this batch of Three Philosophers.

This is the bottling plant. Unlike most commercial beers, Ommegang conditions in the bottle. A bottle of their stronger ales, like Ommegang Abbey or Three Philosophers, can age for ten years and yield a matured taste and texture. The hard part is letting it sit for ten years :)

Rollie Fingers?!?! Oh yeah, the other attraction in Cooperstown.

I needed to take the opportunity and pay my respects to Michael Jack. FYI the Baseball HOF is amazing. I know it's cliche to say, but any fan of the game must check it out.

No comments:

Post a Comment