Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown—This brewery is well-known for their Belgian-style beers and even though I’m normally not a huge fan of that style, we were minutes away at the Baseball Hall of Fame, so we made the short drive south for the free beer tasting. We arrived when a tour had just ended, so we joined in for the tasting portion. The beers were, in general, very good. All were drinkable and had many nuances including Rare Vos which has orange peel and cardamom notes to it. We bought a bottle of the Rare Vos and the Three Philosophers, a wonderful dark beer that went smashingly with the dark chocolate offered at the tasting.
Adirondack Pub & Brewery, Lake George—In between the Tenant Creek hike and the search for Shelving Rock Falls, we took a short break and had a beer and some chicken tenders at this brewpub. The witty glasses were probably my favorite part of the meal as we both thought our beers were a little watery. Their patio is great, however, the service was fine and we got to watch part of a Euro Cup match with full bellies (and a mild buzz).
Coopers Cave Ale Company, Glens Falls—Eric took pup for a quick walk while I ran in to taste a few of their offerings. The tasting room is basically a little store and a bar at the front of their small brewery. The best beer by miles was the Oatmeal Stout; I also got a 22oz bottle of the porter. Many people were stopping by to get their growlers filled, but they have most of the beers on tap and are happy to pour you a tasting of up to three.
Saranac, Utica—Also known as FX Matts Brewery, this is one of the largest breweries in the United States and has been in the same (original) family for four generations. You can find Saranac beer just about everywhere, but we were staying in Utica, so we figured why not take the tour and try some beer? Our Chicago-born guide had been working there for all of three weeks, so while she was friendly, we couldn’t get many questions answered and there was quite a bit of umms and uhhs. Unfortunately, they had a bad fire about three weeks before our visit, so the bottling facility was off-limits. At the end of the tour, you can have two pints which was a bit much for the middle of the afternoon, but I enjoyed my caramel porter and about half of the imperial stout before we were shooed out. For some odd reason, they didn’t have the logo pint glasses on sale in the gift shop, just the plain soda-inspired ones, but I managed to sweet-talk my way into making them sell me one from the tasting room upstairs! :)
Ithaca Beer Company, Ithaca—After working up a sweat in Falls Gorge, I stopped in here for a sample. Most of the beers are lighter, but I did like the Nut Brown and the very strong Ten Ten. We picked up a few bottles of the ginger beer because it was just spicy enough and very refreshing. The kid behind the counter hailed from Cooperstown, so I had a nice chat with him about a few of the other breweries we had visited earlier in our trip.
Rooster Fish Brewery, Watkins Glen—While our dinners were acceptable (chicken-avocado wrap for me and a chicken, apple and not-as-sharp-as-advertised cheddar sandwich for Eric), about a week before our visit they had experienced a power-outage that ruined all their drought beers save for one. (What is it with these NY breweries and their misfortunes?) Disappointingly, this meant we couldn’t sample any of the tasty-looking house brews. So, instead I got an Arrogant Bastard Ale and Eric stuck with the free refills on the lemonade. While the logo glass is great, no further comment until we can actually taste their beer.