Belgium Comes to Cooperstown seems to grow bigger and bigger with each year. There’s more beers, more breweries, more food, more …fluff. There’s some grumbling from the cheap seats about this (yes, even a bit from myself) but all of that misses the point of BCTC: it’s a weekend full of stellar brews and bites with some of the best folks in the beer and culinary industry.
I had a lot of fun capturing all of the action at the tasting while drinking more than my fair share of the beers available. Sours were much more prevalent this year than in the past; no complaints here about that. I beelined it to the Ithaca and Captain Lawrence tables to make sure I received a pour of this year’s batch of Rosso and vintage Brute (and reaffirmed that another batch is in the works with the Ithaca rep). New to me was Allagash’s Golden Brett, a mild sour that inoculated with Allagash’s house yeast and finished in their 800 gallon oak foudre. Mild tartness with a hint of citrus, plenty drinkable.
One of the standout local brews was Union Station, a collaboration with Chatham Brewing, who unfortunately were not in attendance due to a brewery fire earlier that week, and C.H. Evans (The Albany Pump Station). This was a big 11.2% belgian-style Quad brewed with notes of plums and dark fruits. Extremely drinkable given the alcohol content.
Someone caption this.
Dave and Nuzz from The Ruck!
It was nice to have Peekskill’s Simple Sour on tap. Much better than from the growler.
Brian Strumke pouring some Stillwater Small Black and As Follows.
Scott looking debonaire as hell.
This is Rob’s excited face.
Bill from White Birch and the last bottle of Indulgence.
Jacqueline doing her best “Timeless Art of Seduction”
Todd and Ape…. I don’t even know.
The Master and The Puppet.
Pig Destroyer and Justin. Killing it!
The Richmond Contingent.
Ryan popping Neil’s BCTC cherry.
The Saranac Bear certainly made the rounds.
No surprise here. Perennial beers are fantastic.
This is Rob’s serious face.
Dave and Hammer!
BCTC is really two festivals. One is the tasting and Hop Chef and all of the activities Ommegang has planned for your day. The second part is that camping and how you enjoy that is totally up to you. We have friends that come in from the Capital District, Vermont, Mass, Philly, and NYC. Some people kick back a few beers and, grab something to eat quick and make it an early night. Others of us plan a ridiculous after party with a huge feast followed by an insane bottle share that extends until the wee hours of the morning while walking around visiting all the brewery staff you met during the tasting that day. Which faction do you think our group fell into?
Our feast included tons of meat on the grill, countless cheese and charcuterie plates, duck confit and a monster of a foie gras prepared by some of the Capital Region’s top chefs. This is “camping”.
JVS, looking pensive as ever, contemplating which animal he will devour next.
The Woody got a lot of love during that weekend.
Our friends from NYC were back again this year.
Even without their presence Albany Distilling Co. was well represented by the Capital Region folk.
Nom noms from Oscar’s Smokehouse.
Darkness vertical? Why not.
One of the many cheese boards of the evening.
Elliot and Dimitrios putting on some finishing touches.
JVS and Ryan sharing a romantic moment over a bottle of Brewlywed.
And Bill past out a few times. What’s new.
And a few more shots with Bill.
All in all I’d say it was a pretty successful Belgium Comes to Cooperstown, one of the best ones yet, although I have to say if our after party gets any bigger our “festival” is going to rival the size of Ommegang’s.