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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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