Desert Edge Brewery

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Our first night on the town my roommate, Cortney, and I went to this nearby restaurant and brewery located a block away from our place of residence in Trolley Square. Trolley Square is a very odd shopping center. It is partly empty and partly filled with the most random selection of stores and companies. From a bookstore selling new, used and antique books, to a yoga studio, to the center for Fantasy Con and more. Needless to say we were both amused and confused whilst exploring there for the first time.

Desert Edge is just around the corner from the main shopping “mall” area, behind Whole Foods. It offers a trendy and relaxed atmosphere that reminds me of one of Tucson’s local breweries – Thunder Canyon.

This is a seat-yourself type place – which definitely threw us when we first entered – and has a lot of options to choose from. There are tables, the bar, and several sections of the restaurant to pick from. I don’t think anyone would have to wait more than 10 minutes on a very busy night to find seating. As it was, on a Friday night and fairly packed, we didn’t see a single group wait for a table.

After our brief confusion and instructions to seat ourselves we picked a spot in the corner that offered plenty of people watching views. The clientele ranged from hipster and lumberjack college students, to young families, and business gentry. The dress was anywhere from casual to business casual and you could make the evening what you wanted.

Now on to the food.

The menu offers very reasonably priced meal options. Nothing over 12 dollars, really. And they also feature a varied Specials menu attached to the back of the normal menu. They offer sandwiches – hot and cold, pasta salad, soup, salad (of course), and “entrĂ©es”. Their menu was varied and had options for most moods. They even had several Mexican dishes – tacos, enchiladas, and burritos!

The price of their beers wasn’t too bad either at just under $5 for a pint. And they offer a decent selection!

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I ended up getting one of the specials – a Portabello and Fontina Panini with roasted red bell peppers, ????, served with potato chips and house pasta salad. While it all tasted fresh and it was satisfying, it was mind blowing or amazing. It was all simply DECENT. I’m going to try one of their regualr menu items next time. See if that is any better.

While my tongue wasn’t blown away by the food, the atmosphere and price and location will be drawing me back.

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New York Wineries and Breweries

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Whilst visiting with the family I came to discover that they are all winos and drinkers. Not much of a surprise, considering there’s not a ton to do. But the fact that they enjoyed wine DID make me smile.

And luckily enough there is a Brewery and Winery tour, AKA a “Beverage Tour,” within an hour’s drive of my grandparents!

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Cooperstown Brewery

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Omegang Brewery

Cue family road trip! I went with my dad and his two younger brothers. It was just me and the boys. And I was not able to keep up with them. Haha.

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Cooperstown Brewery

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Bear Pond Winery Eva Coo Wine – named after the first woman executed in the county. (In my opinion it was too sweet to be named after a cold blooded and greedy murdress, but hey. They enjoyed telling the story!)

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Ommegang Brewery

I started strong but by the middle of the third tasting I was feeling it and we had a LOT more driving to do.

This was at the Ommegang Brewery which is the only one that you can buy outside of the county. Check your local Costplus or beer stores to see if they stock it! The really fun part about this brewery is that they have a Game of Thrones inspired selection of draughts.

The tasting was lots of fun and offered a bowl of pretzel sticks and dips and cheeses to sample through the flight of beers. It was entertaining and the girl was very enthusiastic, but I got real full and sick of beer real quick on this one. Though I asked for half samples of the beer, our beer host kept on forgetting and giving me more. So I was more often than not passing it on to my non designated driver companions, aka Dad and Uncle Mike.

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Fly Creek Cider Mill’s Quick Service Restaurant

Overall, my favorites of the tour were the first winery, Bear Pond Winery, that had the MOST delicious mulled wine (kept warm on a candle warmer, no less.) We ended up going there twice while visiting because the WHOLE family loves it! And also the Fly Creek Cider Mill. Because cider is amazing and doesn’t taste like alcohol. Also because it had so many SAMPLES. It was better than Costco! There were samples of sweet dips, spicy dips, cheese dips, soups, crackers, honeys, fudge, ciders (free tasting there!!), and even samples of apples.

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Rustic Ridge Winery

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Rustic Ridge Winery

Honestly, after that I kind of zoned out and focused on taking pictures while the boys had their fun. In the last winery there was this group of women who were just absolutely having a blast. Trying all sorts of extra wines, buying all the accoutrements and plastic travel wine cups, they had literal arms-ful of souvenirs and wine products. And my uncles and dad are the exact type to join in on their fun. They were all joking around and it was joyously (and inebriatedly loud) all the while a daughter in law sat looking sophisticated and too-good-for-this in the corner, sipping wine talking about how her husband was off ‘coon hunting. She said ‘coon so many times it was obvious she was simply enjoying the hilarity that was her life.

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Tiny tree or Giant pumpkin?

They make this “Cooperstown Beverage Tour” real fun by offering a free souvenir cup when you go to each of the 6 locations on the official list.

We almost didn’t make all 6 though. At the last stop on our route we got to Butternuts Ale and Beer right after they closed. My Uncle Steve got out and started circling the place looking for any signs of life (or viable entrances). We weren’t having any luck, but as it happens my dad woke from his nap and decided to go join the fun. Right at that moment someone opened up the rickity garage door in front of us to officially say they were closed. Buuut my dad and uncles made sure to ask if they could at least have a stamp.

The brewery lady was more than happy to oblige and even gave us all our souvenir cups (no tastings though) and a pile of 20 coasters EACH. I don’t know why we had to have that many cardboard coasters, but they made for great frisbees to toss at my once-again-sleeping father on the way back home. ;P