430. Racer 5 IPA

430. Racer 5 IPA

I went to Red Bones for dinner tonight. Red Bones always has an excellent beer selection. They had Racer 5 IPA on tap, which is on Beer Advocate's Top 100 list. This was served in a standard pint glass. I paired this with St. Louis style pork ribs, brisket, beans and cole slaw.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Bear Republic Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 7.00%
Serving: Draught, 16 oz.
Style: American IPA, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours a hazy golden with a creamy, thin, white head that clings to the glass leaving nice lace.

Smell (4.0): A nice, strong, citric hop aroma is dominant, with a more subdued bready maltiness.

Taste (4.5): Sweet, bready and toasty malts and an intense, tart, citric hoppiness.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Light-bodied, tingly carbonation, with a lightly oily texture.

Drinkability (4.5): Very refreshing, the alcohol is also well hidden.

Overall (4.35): A very nice IPA. The toasty and bready malts balance but don't steal focus from the hops.

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429. Rogue Shakespeare Stout

I purchased a bottle of Rogue Shakespeare Stout tonight along with a few other beers tonight. I chilled this and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

The bottle says this:
Ebony in color with a rich creamy head, an earthy flavor that comes from oats, and a mellow chocolate aftertaste.
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Rogue Ales Brewery
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: American Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (5.0): Pours an opaque black witha fluffy brown head that thins to a persistent quarter-inch layer that leaves patchy lace.

Smell (4.5): Roasted aromas of coffee and chocolate. There's a tart fruitiness and a light hoppiness.

Taste (4.0): Dark coffee, chocolate and lightly tart fruit. The finish is a mix of roasted coffee bitterness and juicy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (4.5): Light to medium-bodied, tingly high carbonation, smooth.

Drinkability (5.0): Light and flavorful and very drinkable.

Overall (4.45): An excellent stout, with bold roasted flavors and excellent drinkability.

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428. Smuttynose Imperial Stout

428. Smuttynose Imperial Stout

I purchased this at Downtown Wine & Spirits several weeks ago. I let this warm to 45-50º F and served it in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Smuttynose Brewing Company
Year: 2006
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.5): Pours an opaque black with only the faintest hints of red at the edges. A thick brown head tops the beer. The head slowly fades to a quarter-inch layer before disappearing completely.

Smell (4.0): On first sniff, piney hops dominate the aroma. As the beer warms roasted aromas like coffee and chocolate appear. There are also hints of fruit an alcohol.

Taste (4.0): Chocolate and tart fruit upfront, the finish is a combination of roasted coffee and dark chocolate bitterness, as well as a juicy hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Full-bodied, creamy, with tingly moderate carbonation.

Drinkability (3.5): Hindered by the strong flavors and high alcohol.

Overall (4.15): A nice, strong RIS. I may buy a bottle to age for a year or so to see how this changes.

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427. Dogfish Head Raison D'Être

427. Dogfish Head Raison D'Être

I got this at Downtown Wine & Spirits, as mentioned in my last post. I let this warm to around 45-50º F and served it in my Westvleteren chalice.

The bottle says this:
A deep mahogany ale brewed with Belgian beet sugars, green raisins & a sense of purpose.
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.0): Pours a clear brown-ruby, with a beige one-finger head that thins quickly to a patchy layer and then disappears completely leaving no lace.

Smell (3.5): Spicy notes of dried fruit, sweet malts, caramel, and a hint of roastiness. Juicy fruitiness upon swirling.

Taste (3.5): Sweet caramel malts, sugar and fruitiness upfront. The finish is lightly spicy with a fruity tartness and light bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Low carbonation, medium-bodied, smooth.

Drinkability (4.0): Easy to drink with well hidden alcohol.

Overall (3.45): A decent, but not great attempt at a Belgian Strong Dark. The aromas could be stronger and more vigorous carbonation would do quite a bit for the appearance and mouthfeel. The taste is good, though perhaps overly sweet without enough spice and bitterness to balance.

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426. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

426. Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale

I noticed there were quite a few single bottles of Indian Brown Ale and Raison D'Etre at Downtown Wine & Spirits. I hadn't had either before so I picked up one of each. I let this one warm slightly and served it in my NERAX pint glass.

The bottle says this:
A clean well-hopped brown ale with aromatic barley, caramelized brown sugar and whole-leaf Liberty and Goldings hops.
Beer Stats:
Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 7.20%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: American Brown Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a lightly hazy dark brown with ruby hints. A one-finger, beige head tops the beer and thins to a persistent quarter-inch layer leaving patchy lace.

Smell (5.0): Deep roasted coffee and chocolate. Just a hint of fruit and alcohol.

Taste (5.0): Sweet chocolate, fruit and caramel upfront. The finish is full of roasted coffee and chocolate bitterness.

Mouthfeel (5.0): Low carbonation, full-bodied, smooth.

Drinkability (4.5): Incredibly flavorful and delicious.

Overall (4.75): This is probably the best American Brown Ale that I've tried. The roasted flavors are bold, but are superbly well balanced by fruity and chocolatey sweetness.

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New Template

I changed my blog's template tonight. I found a version of K2, a Word Press template, for Blogger, and spent a couple hours customizing it for my blog. I like the new look, though I'm still working out some kinks. I know it looks weird in IE. I'll try to fix it, but why not get a better browser? Leave a comment if you notice any problems or have any general comments.

The header is a photo of Brewery Ommegang that I took at Belgium Comes to Cooperstown.


425. He'Brew Genesis 10:10

425. He'Brew Genesis 10:10

I've been wanting to try a He'Brew beer for quite sometime, but I've never seen them at Downtown Wine & Spirits. A couple days ago I noticed several bottles sitting in a small dispaly at shin level. So I picked up a bomber of Genesis 10:10 and a bomber of Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A. The label of Genesis 10:10 says "10th Anniversary ale brewed with our chosen specialty malts, hops, brewers yeast and pomegranate juice." I let this warm slightly and served in one of my New Belgium glasses.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Shmaltz Brewing Company
Alcohol: 10.00%
Serving: Bottle, 22 oz.
Style: Fruit Beer, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (4.0): Pours a clear, deep oarange-ruby. A thick, sudsy, off-white head eventually fades to a thin film, leaving patchy lace.

Smell (4.0): Fruity pomegranate, caramel malts and light hops.

Taste (4.0): Sweet malts and fruit upfront are met almost immediately by a strong hop bitterness that mingles with the fruity and malty sweetness. Eventually the the bitterness becomes dominant in a juicy hoppy finish.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Medium-bodied, tingly carbonation, light oiliness.

Drinkability (4.0): Flavorful, high alcohol is well hidden.

Overall (4.0): This is a very nice fruit beer. The pomegranates contribute fruitiness and sweetness to balance the hoppy bitterness without dominating the flavor profile.

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424. Brother Thelonious

424. Brother Thelonious

I went to Downtown Wine & Spirits tonight to pick up some new beers. I noticed several bottles of Brother Thelonious, which I had read about at Appelation Beer and Brew Like a Monk, so I decided to pick one up. I chilled this and served it in one of my Ommegang chalices. Appelation Beer recommends pairing this beer with vintage jazz LPs, my record player is currently broken, so I paired this with Jazz MP3s, Miles Davis.

As Stan Hieronymus has pointed out, the label is excellent. It features the likeness of Thelonious Monk in monk's attire—his head is surrounded by a halo of piano keys—holding a chalice of beer in his right hand, and a skull in his left. For every case sold North Coast makes a $2 contribution to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz.

Beer Stats:
Brewery: North Coast Brewing Co.
Alcohol: 9.00%
Serving: Bottle, 750 mL
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a deep clear ruby brown. A half-inch yellowish-brown head tops the beer, and quickly thins to a patchy layer that's fed by small bubbles.

Smell (4.0): Rich sweet malts: caramel. Dark fruit: dates and raisins. Swirling reveals the beer's high alcohol.

Taste (4.0): The taste is much the same as the aroma: caramel, dates and some raisins. This finish is spicy alcohol with a bitterness that mingles with residual sweetness before eventually winning out.

Mouthfeel (4.0): Full-bodied, smooth and creamy. Carbonation is low. Alcohol creates a warming in the finish.

Drinkability (3.5): The flavors are nice, but the alcohol is strong and evident.

Overall (3.85): A good Belgian Strong Dark, not the best that I've had, but a solid brew nonetheless.

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422-423. Two Magic Hat Wheat Beers

Both of these beers came in the Magic Hat mixed 12-pack that I bought at Downtown Wine & Spirits before Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. I had the Circus Boy Thursday night and the Hocus Pocus Friday night. I let both warm slightly and served them in my UFO Weizen glass.

422. Circus Boy

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Magic Hat Brewing Company
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.5): Pours a hazy straw golden with a creamy fluffy white head.

Smell (3.5): Yeasty, grainy, light citrus, sweet but subtle bubblegum.

Taste (3.0): Grainy wheat, citric tartness, with a lemon zest bitterness.

Mouthfeel (3.5): Light-bodied, low carbonation that still manages to give a tingling sensation

Drinkability (4.0): Light and refreshing.

Overall (3.35): An okay beer, an easy drinker, but lacking in flavor.

423. Hocus Pocus

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Magic Hat Brewing Company
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz
Style: American Pale Wheat Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance (3.0): Pours a lightly hazy pale straw, topped by a fluffy white head that slowly recedes.

Smell (3.0): Grainy wheat, tart citrus, very minimal.

Taste (3.5): Light citric tartness, coarse graininess, fruity apple in the finish. Bitterness is present, but is very low.

Mouthfeel (3.0): Light-bodied, low-carbonation, tingly, a tad watery.

Drinkability (4.0): Light refreshing and pretty easy to drink, a good hot weather beer.

Overall (3.3): This beer is a little lacking in the flavor department, but it's not bad for something light and refreshing.

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Despite sobering up Saturday evening, I woke up with the stale taste of cigar in my mouth and a mild hangover on Sunday. We packed up the cars, checked out of the motel and piled into David's rental car to look for a good breakfast spot. David had found some potential breakfast spots, our choice foe that morning, The Coffee Bar, was closed. Instead we decided on a diner on one of the main streets. I didn't notice the name until I saw it on one of the menus - Empire Diner. Feeling especially hungry I ordered two pancakes, and a sausage, cheese and pepper omlette with a side of homefries. The food was excellent. The pancakes were light and fluffy, the omlette was delicious, and the homefries were very tasty. The latter is quite impressive given that I normally don't like homefries. After breakfast we drove back to the motel picked up my car.

The plan was to visit The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, where Abner Doubleday emphatically did not invent baseball. Win had requested a picture of Tom Seaver's plaque. I took pictures of Red Sox stuff for myself, Mets stuff for Win and Bennett took pictures of Orioles stuff. The Hall of Fame had some nice exhibits. I won't go into any detail, instead I'll just post pictures. All of these are clickable for the full sized images (huge).

Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver (do I look drunk?)

Sometimes you don't have to be good to be great

Curse Reversed


Earl Weaver

Carlton Fisk

Never trust the criminally insane

The Hot Pants Patrol

A Waco boy

Red Sox Pictures:

Mets Pictures:

We briefly checked out the Merch and then caught the trolley back to the parking lot. It was 2 PM when we left Cooperstown. David, Dave and Bennett drove back to New York, and I drove back to Boston.

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Belgium Comes to Cooperstown: Saturday, Part III

I'm finally getting around to posting my tasting notes for Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. This should be the last of my posts about the actual beer fest. I'll write one more post about Sunday, but that'll be about the Baseball Hall of Fame and won't mention beer at all.

The beer selection was outstanding. There were a lot of great importers in attendance. The selection at the Shelton Brothers booth alone was phenomenal. There were also a lot of good North American breweries including: Allagash, Brooklyn Brewery, Dogfish Head, and Unibroue just off the top of my head.

Just some general comments about my tasting notes: I tried to be as concise as possible to facilitate more sampling, I didn't assign numerical rankings because of the small sample sizes, and I decided to dispense with the drinkability category for the fest. I decided to eliminate drinkability because it's the hardest category to get a good feel for with a small sample of beer, and because at the Extreme Beer Fest it was the first category that my objectivity slipped on as I approached inebriation. David also took tasting notes, though I don't have those to post.

All beers were served in the 4 oz. sampling glass that was provided. They were served variously on tap and from bottles, though I didn't make a note of this when I was served, I'll note the ones I'm sure about (which may turn out to be most of them). Some breweries had some merchandise for sale at their booths. Brooklyn had bottle openers on lanyards, glassware and what appeared to be thongs. Unibroue was selling large cardboard versions of their bottle labels. I bought two when I was pretty drunk.

They were out of La Fin Du Monde

I have pictures of me with most of the beers, but I can't remember which beers are which. I'll only post a few that I'm sure of.

408. Rodenbach Grand Cru

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brouwerij Rodenbach N.V.
Alcohol: 6.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Flanders Red Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a reddish-amber with good clarity, topped by a persistent brown/beige head.

Smell: Sweet, sour, cherries, and a sharp aroma I couldn't place.

Taste: Sour, but not overpowering, the aftertaste is sharp and tart.

Mouthfeel: Light, effervescent carbonation, finish is sour and dry.

409. Blanche De Brooklyn

I'd seen Garrett Oliver walking around the brewery building that morning when I took the tour. He was at the booth when I went by. I told him that I enjoyed his book. Perhaps I should have tried to get a picture with him.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brooklyn Brewery
Alcohol: 4.50%
Serving: Tap
Style: Witbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Very hazy, with a pale straw hue, the head is creamy and white, and fades to a persistent thin layer.

Smell: Fruity, bananas, pepper.

Taste: Banana fruitiness is evident, though not as strong as the aroma. The finish is spicy and peppery. Perhaps grains of paradise?

Mouthfeel: Strong carbonation, light-bodied, with a lightly dry finish.

410. Cantillon Iris

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brasserie Cantillon
Alcohol: 5.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Unblended Lambic, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a hazy bright golden, a thin ring of white bubbles is the only sign of a head.

Smell: Lambic sourness, funkiness emerges upon swirling. There's also a strong hoppiness, though the hop aromas themselves seem to have mellowed.

Taste: Sour lambic flavors upfront, with mellow but dominant hop flavors in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Light-bodied, with a dry finish.

411. Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale

The Harpoon Belgian Pale Ale was created for Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. I'd read that it was Harpoon IPA fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. I had to try this because I probably wouldn't get a chance to try it again, and because it had the potential to really showcase the differences in yeast strains. The guy at the Harpoon booth, who introduced himself as the brewery's microbiologist, said that he had pulled off a small amount of the wort from a batch of Harpoon IPA and pitched the Duvel yeast strain.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Harpoon Brewery
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Belgian Pale Ale/ American IPA

Appearance: Pours a clear golden-amber with a thick, fluffy, white head that leaves patchy lace.

Smell: Intensely fruity and floral.

Taste: Fruity upfront and through the center. The fruitiness fades into bitterness in the finish, but the bitterness is mellow compared to the IPA.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, moderate carbonation, medium-bodied with a creamy/silky feel.

412. Ommegang Bier De Mars

This is another one-off release from Ommegang, this time a Bière de Garde. I had this one right after a sample of Ommegeddon.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brewery Ommegang
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Bière de Garde, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a hazy golden amber, with a head that fades to nothing.

Smell: Tart, hoppy, with a hint of musty funkiness. I wouldn't be surprised if this beer was fermented with Brettanomyces.

Taste: Hint of citric sweetness and tartness. The finish is musty and funky with mellow hops.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium bodied, moderate to high carbonation, with a dry finish.

413. De Ranke XX Bitter

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brouwerij De Ranke
Alcohol: 6.20%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Lightly hazy yellow straw color, my pour had no head.

Smell: Aroma reminded me of the Harpoon BPA. Juicy fruity aromas, with a mellowed but strong hop presence.

Taste: Sweet fruitiness, notes of bananas, followed by mellowed but bitter hops.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-bodied, smooth, moderate to low carbonation.

414. St. Bernardus Tripel

I'm typically a fan of St. Bernardus beers. I haven't seen this one at Downtown Wine & Spirits, so I decided to give it a try.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brouwerij St. Bernardus NV
Alcohol: 8.00%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Tripel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a lightly hazy golden with a thick white head.

Smell: Typical Belgian fruitiness. Bananas, yeast and light alcohol.

Taste: Fruity with nutty and buttery notes, spicy alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-bodied, low carbonation.

415. Dogfish Head Fort

Neither of the Daves were enthusiastic about trying a raspberry beer, but I wanted to give it a try since I missed it at the Extreme Beer Fest and haven't seen it for sale in Boston.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Dogfish Head Craft Brewery
Alcohol: 18.00%
Style: Fruit Beer, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a beige head that leaves patchy lace.

Smell: Raspberries and alcohol.

Taste: Tart raspberries and very spicy high alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium to full-bodied.

416. Barrel Aged Four

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Allagash Brewing Company
Alcohol: 10.00%
Style: Quadrupel, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a hazy brown with amber tints, no head on my pour.

Smell: Fruity. Notes of cherry, alcohol and vanilla.

Taste: More fruitiness in the taste, with notes of bourbon and an herbal flavor.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium-bodied, smooth and almost silky.

417. Palm

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brouwerij Palm NV
Alcohol: 5.10%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a fluffy white head that thins to a patchy layer.

Smell: Belgian yeast fruitiness, with a bit of malt.

Taste: Toasty malts, yeast, fruit, with a light bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Tingly carbonation, medium bodied.

418. Obbie's Grand Cru

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Appalachian Brewing Company
Alcohol: ?
Serving: Tap
Style: Belgian Strong Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy light brown with a white head.

Smell: Belgian yeast fruitiness.

Taste: Fruity upfront. The finish is spicy, with a light bitterness detectable in an otherwise sweet finish.

Mouthfeel: High carbonation that conceals most other characters, light-bodied.

419. Zinnebir

Beer Stats:

Brewery: Brouwerij Sint-Pieters
Alcohol: 5.50%
Serving: Bottle
Style: Belgian Pale Ale, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a very cloudy golden with a foamy head that leaves thick lace on the glass.

Smell: Light fruitiness with hints of orange.

Taste: Fruity, peppery. The finish is grainy and spicy with a hoppy bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, light-bodied and smooth.

420. The Shed Substance D

This beer was advertised as a Saison with Brett.

Beer Stats:

Brewery: The Shed Restaurant and Brewery
Alcohol: ?
Style: Saison, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a hazy light golden with a creamy bubbly white head.

Smell: A tart, hoppy Brettanomyces aroma. Funky and lightly fruity.

Taste: Citric tartness, fruitiness, mellow hop flavors with a bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, smooth, medium-bodied.

421. The Shed Double Hoppy Illumination

Beer Stats:

Brewery: The Shed Restaurant and Brewery
Alcohol: ?
Style: Saison, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: Pours a clear amber with a persistent beige head.

Smell: Fruity with resiny hops.

Taste: Hoppy with a nice sweet fruity and malty notes.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and creamy with low to medium carbonation.

In addition to the new beers I had several samples of Ommegeddon, another sample of Ommegang's Bier De Mars, Cambridge Brewing Company's Tripel Threat and some others I can't remember. There were a lot of beers that I wanted to try but wasn't able to due to a limited supply, limited time or limited sobriety.

Overall Belgium Comes to Cooperstown was an excellent beer fest. The brewery grounds during summer are an ideal place (weather permitting) for an event like this. Perhaps there could have been more seating, but maybe it wouldn't have been needed without the rain. I definitely want to go again next year, and maybe even camp out.

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Belgium Comes to Cooperstown: Saturday, Part II

This entry I'll primarily dedicate to fest details, photos and stories. I'll save my tasting notes for a third Saturday entry.

The weather reports predicted no rain for Saturday. It began raining intermittently after breakfast, and continued when we arrived at the brewery. We thought, erroneously, that the rain was over when the sun made a brief appearance after lunch. However, the sun disappeared and the rain began again, progressing from light to torrential. Luckily the tents kept us mostly dry, though the ground became a muddy mess. Things cleared up for good later in the evening.

Torrential rain

Things cleared up

Things cleared up

From 2 to 6 PM there were unlimited samples. Once 2 PM rolled around David, Dave and I began drinking. Bennett, being underage, and our DD saved us a table under one of the tents. This turned out to be quite nice because of the rain. We probably had around 20 samples each. The tasting notes were what limited the pace.



Me, sporting my new beard, Blanche de Brooklyn in hand


David taking tasting notes

Hold Fast!

I had fourteen new beers, as well as several that I'd had before, including three or four samples of the delicious Ommegeddon. In addition to having so many great beers I also feel that I learned a bit as well. I think I can now fairly accurately pick up on characteristic Brettanomyces aromas and flavors. The Belgian yeast aroma also became very familiar. I'll post some more on this when I type out my tasting notes.

At one point I returned to the table to see Bennett talking to a guy wearing a Yellow "Staff" T-shirt. I sat down and Bennett told him that I might be able to help. He was looking for advice on how to bring the soil that he was growing marijuana in down to pH 7 from pH 8 using something "organic". Bennett and I had both suggested hydrochloric acid because the neutralization just creates water and chloride ions. He thought it was too harsh. Eventually I decided that vinegar might work, and he was happy with that suggestion. I hope it doesn't kill his pot. Apparently he had asked Bennett about the book that he was reading, somehow the conversation turned to Bennett's major. When the guy heard biochemistry he asked for advice on solving his pH problem.

There were several live bands as well. I don't remember their names, but they got people up and listening. Some people were even dancing.


By the time the tastings were over at 6 we were pretty drunk, especially David. He scored some Wheat Thins, Cheddar and White Cheddar Popcorn from a woman sitting next to us, by telling her that she had a cute kid. I bought another delicious Belgian waffle. The guy who sold me the waffle complimented my Neutral Milk Hotel T-shirt, making the count four or five. Once the tastings were over we broke out a cigar.

David, especially drunk

Cigar time

Dave steals my cap

Sitting at the table I saw a cop walking through the tent. I turned in the direction that he was walking and saw a shirtless guy being detained by a staff member. I'm not sure what he did, but really aren't all shirtless guys prime suspects. Incidentally the guy looked a lot like Gunther with a thicker moustache. I'm not exactly sure why he was arrested, but it probably had something to do with drunkenness.

The arrest, click for larger

We left around 7:30 or 8 and drove to Cooperstown to get dinner. We stopped and had Pizza at Sal's (I think that's the name) then we continued on to the hotel in Herkimer.

I was really surprised at how beautiful Upstate New York is. I snapped these pictures from the car on the ride back.

We returned to the hotel, changed shoes and rested for awhile. We decided to smoke the cigars that Dave had brought up, so we walked around Herkimer for awhile smoking them. We eventually found our way to a city sponsored "Block Party" went into a bar, grabbed a beer (Sam Adams), then sat around outside finishing our cigars. We returned to the hotel and finished our game of poker.

Overall Belgium Comes to Cooperstown was a great event. The beer selection was enormous, the food was good, and the surroundings were nice. The weather wasn't great, but the outdoor setting was nice. I'll definitely be back next year.

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Belgium Comes to Cooperstown: Saturday, Part I

The plan was to grab breakfast, go to Glimmerglass State Park on Otsego Lake to go swimming and then head to Brewery Ommegang for Belgium Comes to Cooperstown. We had breakfast at Waffle Works in Herkimer and then drove to Glimmerglass State Park for some swimming.

We arrived at Glimmerglass and decided to swim despite the light rain and the "Beach Closed" signs. At around 10:55 - when the lifeguards arrived for the 11:00 beach opening - we were told by a PA announcement to get out of the water because the beach wasn't open. We showered, got dressed and headed to Brewery Ommegang.

The brewery wasn't very crowded when we arrived. There were quite a few tents up, but ours was one of the first cars to park in the field next door. We checked in and got our wristbands. Since we were early we went on a brewery tour, and I bought an Ommegang T-shirt and bottle opener. I received the first two compliments of the day on my Neutral Milk Hotel T-shirt from two of the people working the register in the brewery store.

The brewery building itself is quite attractive. It's modeled after a Belgian farmhouse, and has an open archway that separates the two halves of the brewery. The dates on the front of the brewery are 1549 and 1997. The former being the date of the first Ommegang (which means "walk about") in Brussels, and the latter being the year that Brewery Ommegang was founded.

The tour began outside in the archway of the brewery where the tour guide passed around glasses containing various ingredients used in Ommegang beers. We then went inside and saw the brewhouse.

Brewery Ommegang practices open fermentation. The fermentation room isn't open to visitors, but a window and a mirror allow a glimpse of the fermentation.

After seeing the brewhouse, we walked to the other side of the building and saw the bottling operation.

After the tour we went to the tasting room where we sampled all of Ommegang's regular offerings. Ommegang Witte, Rare Vos, Hennepin, Ommegang and Three Philosophers.

David and Dave



After the tour we found a table under one of the tents and had burgers, fries and Belgian waffles, while waiting for the 2 PM start of sampling. The next entry will include tasting notes for the different beers that I tried, strange events, and more pictures.

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