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New York's Central Leatherstocking Region
by Richard Vang
Great Lakes Brewing News, (East Amherst, NY) 1998, 3:4

Presented by the Upstate Chunk & Paradigm Company

 


The summer haze has settled here in Leatherstocking Country, bringing another unofficial seasonal milestone. Cooperstonians are stressed because it means our short-lived summer is on the down slope and Monday Night Football is only three weeks away!

The haze, of course, is humidity personified, due to the large amount of rain we’ve had recently. The area’s hop yards have benefited greatly, as the vines at The Farmers’ Museum have drunk to their heart’s content and our now reaching 20 feet in height. They are an awesome sight on their sturdy poles, made even more beautiful by the fact that they are planted right next to the Church, which is right next to the Tavern!

Speaking of beer and religion (and I know many of you do), the Brewery Ommegang received its’ official blessing on June 4, conferred by Father Larry David McCormick, an Evangelical Lutheran priest. "Father Mack", as he is known to his congregation at a South Street Seaport British pub in NYC, marked the brewery’s first summer season in Cooperstown with a ceremony reminiscent of European brewery traditions.

And thank God he did, for in the midst of all the rain our local Milford brewing region was devastated by not one, but two, sets of tornadoes. I myself have to believe that through Father Mack’s intervention with the Great Hop Farmer above, both Ommegang and the Cooperstown Brewing Company were spared, suffering only temporary power loss.

Later in the month, on June 21, more strong winds hit the area as the members of the Del-Sego Roadrunners and the Otsego Homebrewers Association took to the River Road for the First Annual Brewery to Brewery 5K Run. The event, billed as "The Beer Run: Ommegang to Old Slugger", was a great fund-raising success for the Leatherstocking Quaffers and Scoffers, and saw 74 beverage harriers travel past golden fields and aging hop barns to their just reward of CBC’s quality ales. Next year’s race is scheduled for June 20, and will reverse this year’s course.

I myself was particularly blessed one recent day as I returned from a trip to Albany, stopping at The Bull’s Head Inn in Cobleskill, a long-time rest area for weary travelers. Upon my arrival at the old country inn, active as such since colonial times, I spied their brew kettles, and—lo and behold!—they are now a brew pub. "Would you like a beer?" they said. "God is great," I said.

The Bull’s Head is renowned for its food, which ranges from crab cakes and spiedies (an upstate specialty), to roast duck, stir fry, prime rib, "flame-kissed" steaks, pork, pasta, and their outstanding "Veal la Innkeeper." Their sandwich and burger menu will fill any belly, especially when accompanied by one of their several beers. To my surprise, owner Bob Youngs has been brewing on premise for a year now. The menu touts amber ale, porter, stout, nut brown ale, wheat beer, lager, pilsener, light lager, and scotch ale—about six of which you’ll find on tap at any given time. Their selection of bottled beer is robust as well, and when combined with the dark, rich wood and colonial atmosphere of the interior, you won’t want to return to modern times.

Founding Father Benjamin Franklin is once reported to have said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." I, for one, can vouch for that.

 

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