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New York's Leatherstocking Region
by Richard "Suds" Vang
Great Lakes Brewing News, (East Amherst, NY) 1997, 2:6

Presented by the Upstate Chunk & Paradigm Company



The first blast of wint'ry breath has hit us in historic Hop Country. The white mantle rests gently now upon the tops of the old hop kilns, but more heavily upon others. We hold our collective breath through the long season, wondering which of these ancient beauties will survive to see yet another idle summer.

Still, the signs of winter have not thwarted brewing activity in our fair region. Cooperstown Brewing Company has been contract brewing, as well as producing their own fine ales. Brian Hall has brewed three beers for Kobor Brewing Company: an English Brown Ale, an American Wheat, and an amber, called Special Ale. All three are available year round in bottles.

There was quite a scare at CBC this Fall, as it was discovered that the water levels of the Town of Milford were dangerously low. Apparently lightning struck the above-ground reservoir and knocked out the controls which measure the water levels. As the two biggest users of water, the Milford School had to close for a week and CBC had to cease production for a day. But all is well, at least for now, as the Town has drilled a new well and joined it together with the old to provide enough water.

Just up the River Road the folks at Brewery Ommegang are still testing their beers. Brewer Bert de Wit is laboring under the decree of a large sign which looms over the brew house. It simply and forcefully states "Beer This Year." Our prayers are with them!

Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield recently received a unique honor by both being inducted into the Belgian Brewer's Guild, Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs. They are the first Americans and the first couple to be inducted. They were honored, of course, because of their close ties to the Belgian beer industry, and for their reputation as importers Vanberg & DeWulf, who specialize in traditional Belgian ales. For a more complete update, visit their fine Web site at

The Otsego Quaffers and Scoffers have changed their monthly meeting nights. They can now be found quaffing and scoffing at the Leatherstocking Homebrew Supply (175 Main Street, Oneonta) on the first Wednesday of every month.

The Matt Brewing Company has released their collection of holiday beers, packaged as the 12 Beers of Christmas. The Saranac sampler features this year's version of the popular Winter Wassail, a traditional English-style Wassail, copper in color, with cinnamon and spice notes. The 12-pack also contains Saranac's Adirondack Amber, Golden Pilsner, Pale Ale, Black & Tan, Wild Berry Wheat, Chocolate Amber, Black Forest, Mountain Berry Ale, Maple Porter, Stout and Nut Brown Ale. For more information on the company and its beers, check out their web site at

Finally, rumors abound that yours truly will be starting up a walking tour service in the Village of Cooperstown. More importantly, a tour package called "Hop Country Tours" is being developed. The 3-4 day excursion is expected to include lectures by local hop historians, tours of the above-mentioned breweries, and forays into the Central Leatherstocking countryside to visit some of the remaining examples of historic hop barns. The tour will be packaged around visits to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Farmer's Museum, whose first year hop growth did fairly well, and who has declared 1999 to be "The Year of the Hop." Most likely meals and accommodations will be included.

For more information, or to make itinerary suggestions, please contact me at P.O. Box 815, Cooperstown, NY 13326; or by email at You will receive promotional materials as they become available.


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