A few weeks ago I went to Cooperstown for my friend Mark’s birthday. He wanted to complete the Cooperstown Beverage Trail.
The beverage trail is six different breweries and wineries throughout the Cooperstown area. The trail itself is pretty spaced out so Mark decided to rent a bus to bring is to each stop. Never drink and drive!
As you stop at each place along the trail you can print out a flyer for stamps. Every stop has a souvenir and once you collect all the stamps you get a few glass!
We went out of order on the trail because of the times each place opened and closed. We also did not get to everything in one day.
Cooperstown Brewing Co.
Our first stop was Cooperstown Brewing Company. It opened at 11:00am. We were literally the first people there. The bartender got there right after we did!
We couldn’t take a brewery tour because they had been painting. The tasting was only $3 for 6 different beers!
The poor bartender was all by himself because there was a beer festival at Hunter Mountain the same day. We all did the tasting so he went through a lot of glasses.
The Old Slugger Pale Ale was my favorite.
After the tasting we were all waiting to pay and a bunch of other groups of people came in. They all had to wait around. That guy must have had a horrible day!
The bathroom was so cool too. Really showcases 99 bottles of beer on the wall.
Cooperstown Brewing Co. had a great selection of beers. Most of them were lighter which was great to start off the day. I also liked that most were baseball themed.
We actually went to Ommegang first, but found out when we got there it didn’t open until noon. We got back a little before noon and there were a bunch of other people waiting. We hung out by the door (everyone else was on the side patio) until they opened about 10 minutes to 12. Since we were by the door that they opened we got in as one of the first groups. I think people were pissed, but you snooze you loose. We also got on the first brewery tour!
The tour and tasting was $5. We headed outside and got decked out in safety equipment first (goggles and close-toed shoes if necessary) and then headed over to the brewhouse.
The brewhouse was pretty small. I was surprised since Cooperstown is the only brewing location and they produce a lot of beer! After the brewhouse we headed to the packaging part of the brewery.
The bottling lines were so small. They must run them a lot to make all the beer they sell! Next it was tasting time!
I liked that they gave us snacks while we did the tasting. They had pretzels and spreads. We also got to try 6 beers. Sadly the Game of Thrones beer was not part of the tasting.
We learned all about the spices they use in the beers. It was pretty interesting! We all bought a lot of beer to take home with us. We were carrying boxes out to the bus!
I had the most fun at Ommegang. I probably could have stayed there all day. They have tables and a restaurant for lunch, but it’s a small space so the wait was long. They also do concerts there in the summer which I think would be fun to go to!
Fly Creek Cider Mill
Next we mixed it up and went to the Fly Creek Cider Mill. It was a really cute place, but not meant for drinking. It was more of a country store. They had a lot of jams and spreads inside you could taste as well as a cider tasting. A few people got bottles of cider to drink, but it was too bubbly for my liking. You could try each of the two flavors of cider for free, but it was a little dixie cup size.
Outside they had a pond and a bunch of ducks you could feed. I think in the summer they might have even more animals.
It was a nice stop, but not really the same as the rest of the stops. You could go and sample food and buy country-themed stuff, but there was nowhere to drink.
Rustic Ridge Winery
Next we went to a winery. Rustic Ridge was small, but had a great atmosphere. When we went inside they sang happy birthday to Mark. For $3 you could try any 5 wines.
I got two whites and 3 reds. Most of mine were good, but a little too dry for me. Cheryl got a few that she really liked so we grabbed a few bottles.
The Cooperstown Distillery is technically not part of the beverage trail, but the guys wanted to go.
The tasting was free which was awesome. I attempted to try stuff, but taking shots of booze after drinking all day wasn’t a good idea. I tried the whiskey and the bourbon, but gave the vodka, gin and rum to other people.
I really liked how the place was set up. The bartender was really nice too. It was our last stop for the day since all the places close early.
Bear Pond Winery
The next day some people came with us to finish the trail. I really wanted my glass!
Our first stop was Bear Pond Winery. It was a really cute place. The tasting was $3 for 6 wines. I got mainly white wines this time since red wines hit me harder. My favorite one was the Dirt Cheap rose wine. We got a bottle to bring home.
Butternuts Brewing Co.
Our last stop on the trail was probably the most unique. Butternuts Brewing Co. is relatively small, but they make great stuff. I loved the can designs. They brew everything there and their operation is so small! They pack their cases by hand!
I really liked Butternuts. It was $5 for the tasting and all of their beer was fantastic. We got a case to bring home with us.
So what was the best?
Ommegang was the clear winner. I think the new Game of Thrones beer has made them more popular than ever. The place was packed! We got a brewery tour, tasting and they also have a bar and restaurant to hang out at. If I was ever in Cooperstown again I would not hesitate to go here.
A close second was Cooperstown Brewing Company. I really liked all the beer I tried there. I could see myself hanging out there all day. It was a cool atmosphere (maybe turn on some music) and would have probably felt less hectic if there was more than one bartender.
Have you ever been on the Cooperstown Beverage Trail?