Cooperstown and Otsego County was once the epicenter of hops production in the United States, producing more than three million pounds of hops annually at its peak. Therefore, it is only fitting that craft brews are still a cornerstone of the local culture. While major hops production halted in the early 20th century, local breweries are revitalizing the industry and continuing the region's rich legacy.
Brewery Ommegang, located on a beautiful 136-acre farmstead just minutes from downtown Cooperstown, brews an impressive collection of award-winning year-round, seasonal, and specialty Belgian-style ales. Enjoy a free tour the facility before heading to Café Ommegang for a tasting flight, accompanied by authentic Flemish cuisine such as waffles and frites!
Ommegang's summer concert series is also the perfect way to see your favorite performers in a beautiful outdoor setting. The sloping lawn behind the brew house means there's no such thing as a bad seat. Dance up close or set a chair on the hill and relax with an Ommegang brew and a treat from one of the local food trucks.
At Fly Creek Cider Mill and Orchard, a turn-of-the-century, water-powered mill still presses fresh cider daily. Some of that cider is then crafted into traditionally-inspired apple wines and hard ciders at the Farm Winery. Stop in to try the ciders and wines in The Mill Store Marketplace and you will also find samples of salsas, preserves, cheese, fresh-baked goodies and homemade fudge.
To experience a little bit of everything, make your way along the Cooperstown Beverage Trail. With four breweries, three wineries, a historic cider mill and a new distillery on the map, you can spend a whole day tasting your way through Otsego County. Tours and samples are available at Butternuts Beer & Ale, Rustic Ridge Winery, Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Brewing Company, Pail Shop Vineyards, Bear Pond Winery and more!
To experience a different kind of distilling, visit Kingfisher Lavender in July. While the pale purple fields and soothing aroma are breathtaking at any time, July is peak lavender season and the perfect time to distill the delicate flowers into hydrosol and oils. Take home an oil sample or a bunch of dried lavender and continue to enjoy the aroma long after you're gone.
When your stomach starts to growl, make your way to Origins at Carefree Gardens. This café on wheels serves a delicious, locally-sourced menu in the warm and inviting atmosphere of an active greenhouse. Stop by for Sunday brunch to enjoy a live jazz performance, or reserve your place at a Wednesday night Harvest Dinner.
For the true local experience, don't miss the Cooperstown Farmers' Market, open Saturdays year-round and Tuesday afternoons in July and August. A popular meeting place for locals and visitors alike, you can find an eclectic mix of shopping, fresh foods and local beverages and will meet the farmers and artisans that make Cooperstown and Otsego County such a special place to live.