Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2014

BCTC2014
Hey guys, hope everyone had a great time at BCTC this weekend. Pics are up on Facebook (I tend to do that with people focused festival pictures so friends can tag people I may not necessarily know) so if you haven’t yet make sure to head over to FB and check out the album, maybe tag a friend.

Big shout outs to Dimitrios for taking them helm with feeding our faces with delicious food the entire weekend. Sorry our laser focused attention was on drinking beer and not giving you the help you deserved. And to the crew at Remarkable, hope y’all had fun with your first year at BCTC. Always awesome hanging out with the Grimm, Stillwater, and Global Beer folks. Big thank you to Mike from Fest Pics for the invite and as always some great pics to remember the event by. One of the few events of the year where I end up in front of the camera for a change.

See everyone next year, yeah?

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown 2013

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.

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Bottle Share with Night Shift Brewing


Too fun not to share this one. Got this tweet last week from the crew at Night Shift Brewing:

Night Shift is in Everett, MA and doesn’t distribute much outside of the Boston area, so for my house in Loudonville, NY to be the #2 venue only behind the brewery itself is a pretty awesome. Elise has been saving a few bottles in the beer cellar and I had recently picked up a bottle of Taza Stout for myself, so when our friend Anthony was coming in from Boston I asked him to snag one of their latest beers, Citranation, and their blueberry berliner I missed out on. Thankfully he obliged and we had a pretty nice lineup of Night Shift beers for tasting, along with some other randoms from Pig Destroyer Jon and Jeff2, mostly because we’re Untappd badge whores. Check it out:
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Awww man, I was really excited for this. I love Duvel. :-/

Please don’t mistake my bitching for calling this a bad beer. It’s a good beer, maybe even a great beer in the hands of someone who, like you, hasn’t been inundated with Ommegang the majority of his craft beer drinking life. If you love Duvel, and you love Ommegang, then you’ll love this beer.

But for someone like me, someone who used to be the biggest Ommegang fanboy, who has had just about every single one of their beers, and has had their core beers countless time, you really want to see them do something different like another Biere de Mars, or a lambic, gueuze, or Flemish Red. Hell, it doesn’t have to be a sour, I’ll settle for anything that doesn’t have the same set of spices and “proprietary house-yeast” they use in all of their beer. It doesn’t even have to be a huge, nationwide release. Do a pilot-batch system, let the brewers experiment and play a little bit. If it’s a dud, so what? You guys can clearly afford to throw out a few barrels of beer.

Brewing something like Duvel Rustica is Ommegang resting on their laurels. These guys need to take a risk.

Ommegang Duvel Rustica

— So you guys have seen my rants where I really, really want Ommegang to step up their game, do something totally un-Ommegang and completely out of the box for them, right? Well imagine the exact opposite of that and you have Duvel Rustica. Take a beer that is basically ancient in beer years right now, add everything I find boring about Ommegang to it and boom, you have Duvel Rustica. In case you are wondering, yes it tastes like Ommegang yeast raped a bottle of Duvel. I fell asleep halfway through the bottle. (Thanks for the bottle, Jon.)

Ommegang, install a fucking coolship, get a shit ton of barrels, and start a god damn brewery-only souring program. Thanks!

Day Drinking at Moreau Lake State Park + Bonus Ommegang Rant

 

Golden Harvest Peach Jack

Jon and Danielle were spending the weekend up at Moreau Lake and while I couldn’t stay the whole weekend, Elise was at a wedding shower so that means I had a free pass to head up there with Kuma to enjoy a few drinks around the fire. Jon said he ended up having a shitty night so I’m glad I didn’t stay.

The lineup for the day:

  • Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery – Peach Jack
  • Maui Brewing Co. – CoCoNut PorTer (Thanks Chris!)
  • Hoppin’ Frog Brewery – Frog’s Hollow Double Pumpkin
  • Brewery Ommegang – Scythe & Sickle
  • Avery Brewing Company – Maharaja (Birthday beers from Elise)
  • Founders Brewing Company – Dry Hopped Pale Ale

Rant time:

Jon actually grabbed this Scythe and Sickle at Ommegang well before it hit shelves in our area and we were drinking this the weekend after. If you have already read my rant about this beer on All Over Albany I apologize, but I feel this needs to be said here.

When you read the reviews for Scythe and Sickle a lot of them have the same thing to say, or at least allude to it: “You can really taste the Belgian yeast in this.” What they mean to say is “You can really taste the Ommegang yeast in this.” And that’s the biggest problem that I have with all Ommegang beers these days. If you lined 100 beers up I could easily pick out the one Ommegang beer out of them. They all have this same common flavor profile due to using this only one yeast strain in their beers and after years and years and years of drinking Ommegang (they’re really where I started getting fanatical about craft beer) it’s getting kind of boring. That’s a shame since this Scythe and Sickle deserves a 4+ rating but unfortunately I just can’t give it that rating while being that bored and uninterested in the brand in general.

I want to see Ommegang do something truly different and out of their comfort zone. It doesn’t have to be a huge risk, nationwide release or anything. I want to see them experiment, do some small batch, brewery only release or even something as small as a brewery only on tap release. I would drive out there for something like that in a heartbeat, and I’m sure there are plenty of locals who would appreciate a beer like that as well.

This dovetails into my complaint that we really don’t have much in terms of beer in the area that worth trading for. If I want to trade for something across the country, I generally have to drive up to Vermont and get some Heady Topper, Lawson’s or Hill Farmstead. The two big craft breweries of note in New York, Southern Tier and Ommegang, really only brew what they ship mostly nationally and they do nothing in terms of brewery only releases. Ithaca used to have some sours that were worth trading, but that’s still 3 hours away, one single style of beer compared to the multiple styles of beer I could acquire in VT, and since they no longer have a coolship their sour program is kind of up in the air (yes that was an open-air fermentation pun). My best chance in NY right now is to get my hands on some of the Captain Lawrence sours (congrats on the big wins at GABF this year, btw) and to hope that Peekskill starts up their barrel aging and sour programs and they start bottling some day. That’s kinda sad.

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Moreau Lake State Park (link) | 605 Old Saratoga Road, Gansevoort, Saratoga, New York 12831 (map) | All Moreau Lake State Park Posts

Brewery Ommegang’s Waffles and Puppets – Oct 14th 12PM-5PM

From Ommegang’s Facebook event:

Our 15th Birthday Celebration! The annual party to celebrate the anniversary of Brewery Ommegang’s opening back in 1997 is fun for all. There’s great music, food, and authentic Belgian waffles, a puppet show for the kids and world class beer for the grown-ups. Come and enjoy the best of what Belgium has to offer in our backyard. This celebration is a toast to everyone who has made Brewery Ommegang what it is today. 

The Puppet People Present: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 

Shows are at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm

The Bogarts with Mary Doherty & Mike Fulner will also be playing live music at 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Enjoy great food from:

Waffles by The Waffle Cabin

& food from Café Ommegang

PLUS!

A visit from alpacas!

As a special treat for our over 21 guests this year; we will have a specialty beer bar pouring 6 of our different seasonal and limited edition beer releases.

Celebrate our birthday with our special XV Anniversary Ale!

Ommegang’s 15th anniversary celebration. Music, awesome waffles, beers, and foliage. What more do you need on a Sunday Fall afternoon? Anyone else going?

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Camping

This is without a doubt my favorite part of the BCTC experience. Belgian after Belgian after Belgian gets old pretty quick (for me) these days so it’s good to take a break from it all and start drinking something different. That plus walking around meeting new people who are willing to share a beer and food, dropping in on other friend’s camp sites, watching the movie and the fireworks all make for a really great night.

We started the night drinking some really great beers, eating a shit ton of brats in sauerkraut, and ended the morning around 6AM drinking pretty much anything that still had liquid in it (several times I was chugging a magnum of Jameson, ugh). Yes, we were “those guys” who were being complained to “take it down a notch”. Yeah, that didn’t really work out, and pretty much all of the other stragglers that were still up at any of the campsites within earshot (and further) came over to hang out and kinda just made things louder. Honestly this was the best time I’ve ever had at BCTC and I thank all who were there to hang out.

Thanks to Mike, Jon, Scott Jr., and Adam for sharing!

The lineup of the night:

  • King Henry – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • 2008 Bourbon County Brand Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Bourbon County Brand Vanilla Stout – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Juliet – Goose Island Beer Co.
  • Curieux – Allagash Brewing Company (not pictured)
  • Imperial Milk Porter (Stranahan Whiskey Barrel Aged) – Cigar City Brewing
  • Frangelic Mountain Brown – Founders Brewing Company
  • Three Penny Especiale – Lawson’s Finest Liquids
  • Bourbon Barrel Backburner – Southern Tier Brewing Company (not pictured growler)

Brewery Ommegang Belgium Comes To Copperstown Tasting

- As the years have progressed I’ve became a little more laid back about the BCTC tasting. My first year, like any BCTC noob, was spent trying to go to every single brewery table and trying the highest ABV quads they had available, then making the second round and trying the triples, and then by the end of the tasting puking my face off. This year it was more about picking out the five or six beers that were available that I hadn’t had yet, spending some time with brewers I was familiar with, and generally not being a fucking asshole (that came later, between the hours of 1AM and 6AM). Man it’s hell getting old.

We grabbed some fantastic hand rolled cigars from the cigar tent. I always forget to bring cigars so having fresh made was amazing.

The three liter bottle of Sierra Nevada’s barleywine Bigfoot drew large crowds.

A big buzz this year for Captain Lawrence’s Hops and Roses. (I didn’t get any that day but did have some at a Doom Saloon bottle share the following week.)

There was a lot of whine asses on BA about people taking their shirts off. Let’s be honest here, it was hot as balls that day. Get over it. (Plus, accoring to the chants, it was “Shirtless Six O’clock.)

Several bands played throughout the day and night. The Sexy Sax Man (whoever that is) even got up on stage at one point to play his famous rendition of George Michael’s Careless Whisper. The most notable band (for me) comprised of some members who I recognized from Brewery Ommegang, doing some Pink Floyd. I definitely killed some time listening to them.

Belgium Comes to Cooperstown Hop Chef Competition at Brewery Ommegang

- Washington Hop Chef winner Jeff Eng of Clyde’s of Tower Oaks, Albany Hop Chef winner Jaime Ortiz of Creo’, Philadelphia Hop Chef winner George Sabatino of Stateside and last year’s winner of the BCTC Great Mussel Tussle Tommy Harder of Blind Tiger Ale House appeared for the conculsion of the competition to determined who would be crowned Hop Chef at this year’s BCTC.

A sampling of the four dishes was the perfect amount food before several hours of beer tasting. I was a little surprised with the outcome, since Sabatino’s winning dish of smoked capon sausage was a little simple for my tastes. I prefer natural casing with a nice crunch and a snap and I feel like steaming the sausage in Rare Vos doesn’t do the texture any justice.