At last, the winter cold has gone and the sun has returned to greet the summer season. Thoughts of the beach and boardwalk, cookouts and picnics and planning vacations have replaced cabin fever. I previously discussed traveling and integrating beer into your vacation plans, and I will be talking about several day and overnight trips that would be enjoyable for the family in this and future articles.
I would like to relate one I recently enjoyed. Destination: Cooperstown, N.Y., home of The Baseball Hall of Fame, a lake of the same name, historical sites and several breweries and cideries.
Cooperstown is about a five-hour drive through some of the most scenic country on the East Coast. The town is a picturesque old city with an obvious baseball theme. There are many stores that sell memorabilia, custom bats, clothing, etc. There are also many family-oriented attractions such as the Farmers' Museum giving a real picture of farm life on this working farm.
The Cooperstown Beverage Trail - cooperstownbeveragetrail.com - consists of breweries, wineries and cideries that will allow you to enjoy a trip through the region and some tasty beverages.
Brewery Ommegang, owned by Duvel Moortgat, of Belgium, is the big attraction for the beer aficionado. They brew fantastic beers and have a great cafe where you enjoy some excellent cuisine and beers. Tours are conducted every hour from noon and are free. (No children under 5, please.) A tasting is held after the tour for a nominal fee, giving you a chance to taste six beers and several of their beer-infused cheeses. Check the website - Ommegang.com - for more info. Lots of beer, glasses, clothing, food and other paraphernalia are available in their store.
Just down the road is the Cooperstown Brewing Co., where you can taste several of their beers for just a few dollars and tour their facilities. The baseball theme is carried through in their labels and names such as Old Slugger Pale Ale and Strikeout Stout. You can also buy swag of all kinds.
Just a few miles away is a newcomer to the area, Council Rock Brewery, a wonderful little brewpub with an astonishing assortment of beers and a nice food menu. Open 4 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays to Thursdays, noon to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays, they are a family-run venue where friendliness and service are the norm. We enjoyed an exceptional lunch and a sampler of the eight beers on tap … all very tasty. The Vienna Lager and Wings of Darkness Dark Lager were the favorites. For garlic lovers, their garlic pesto fries are killer!
Lodging of all kinds are available: bed and breakfasts, hotels and lakeside cabins can be found at ThisIsCooperstown.com. We stayed a bit out of town in Sharon Springs. For those familiar with the TV show "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," this will be familiar. This one-time resort was once a destination for the elite. Their sulphur baths were world famous and the old homes are a portrait of architectural history. Now mostly run down, a new renaissance is taking place and investment is once again rebuilding the town thanks mostly to the Beekman phenomenon.
The American Hotel (AmericanHotelNY.com) is a totally restored nine-room hotel that harkens you back to more simple times. Owners Garth Roberts and Doug Plummer have made this hotel a destination with their attention to detail, customer service and a restaurant that will keep you coming back. A small bar stocked with a nice beer selection, whiskies and liquors of all kinds that are served up by George, the friendliest bartender you will ever meet. The locals frequent the place and a friendly family atmosphere pervades the venue.
On the way home, we made a stop at Cave Mountain Brewing in Windham. Another quaint place with a comfortable ambiance where you have a large selection of beers and a great beer can collection. They also have an extensive menu to accompany your libations. Summer should be a great time to visit and enjoy the scenery without the ski crowds.
Of course, there are innumerable places to stop on the way home depending on your route: Keegan Ales in Kingston, Gilded Otter in New Paltz, and Newburgh Brewing are just off the Thruway. Go to ThinkNYDrinkNY.com.
More locally, Tuckahoe Brewing in Ocean View opened their new tasting room that is open noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Cape May Brewing in Rio Grande has summer hours of noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Well, hope you get to travel a bit this summer and enjoy the beers on the road. Cheers!
On Tap: Carton Brewing's Intermezzo, a nicely tart, refreshing 5 percent brew infused with green apples and dry-hopped on wasabi root. On tap at Passion Vines in Somers Point.
June 8: Sea Isle Craft Beer and Rock Festfrom 3 to 7 p.m., 63rd and Landis Ave., 100 beers to sample
June 13: Vic & Anthony's inside the Golden Nugget will offer a Dogfish Head dinner. Priced at $80 per person, the five-course menu plus passed hors d'oeuvres includes six Dogfish beers such as 60-Minute IPA, Burton Baton, Indian Brown Ale, Raison D'Etre, 90-Minute IPA and Palo Santo Marron. Food includes BBQ pork potato croquette, seared halibut with green mole, steamed Portugese oysters with chorizo, lamb osso bucco and frozen chocolate bitters with club soda. Call 609-441-8355.
for reservations.June 15: Six Flags Great Adventure Brewhaha, 4:30 to 8 p.m., $45 includes tasting and buffet. Park admission extra but not required for fest.