In the summer of 2015, Ethan and I headed out for a day on the Cooperstown Beverage Trail with Jim Donley of Doubleday Drivers and my niece, Anna, a SUNY Geneseo student studying video production. For Ethan and I, it was an act of food geekery to really experience the Cooperstown Beverage Trail in a single day. Jim was happy to be our designated driver in return for getting a video featuring his services taking people around the trail. Anna was our video intern for a day, though actually more than that since she also edited the footage, put in the sound, and even did the introductory voice over.
This was a totally unauthorized adventure. No one on the trail knew we were coming. It was a random weekday in late summer and I think we captured the trail experience as any visitor would find it. No one seemed to take much notice of Anna and the camera. They certainly didn’t pay us (we paid as we went) and they haven’t endorsed it (or even seen it prior to this posting). I’m really just hoping they don’t ask us to take it down. All commentary and shenanigans are solely ours.
What did we think of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail?
We had a blast and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone local or visiting Cooperstown, Oneonta, or Central New York for that matter. I’m not claiming that we aren’t biased. I love our local producers. Brewery Ommegang is legendary and, crowds aside, I am never disappointed by a visit. Cooperstown Brewing Company brews great English-style ales and love being able to get all of the beers on draft. I don’t get over to Butternuts Beer & Ale nearly enough. Their intimate tasting room, knowledgeable staff, and special brews that are only available there are the quintessential craft brewery experience. I am definitely a regular at The Fly Creek Cider Mill, but usually with my kids, so I don’t spend as much time with their range of ciders, wines, and spirits as I should. It was also great to kick off the trail there and get breakfast at the snack bar.
The wineries were a lot of fun. The folks at Rustic Ridge Winery are so welcoming, but trying to narrow down what you are going to try from their lengthy wine list is a challenge. The staff at Bear Pond Winery were fantastic, the wines were cool, and the horseradish pickles were out of control. Now, technically, Pail Shop Vineyards wasn’t on the trail at the time we did it, but I had it on good authority that they would be for 2016 and they are. It was my first visit to the new winery and I was super excited about their local grapes and passion for Traminette. They had some incredible infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars too.
We finished up with The Cooperstown Distillery and then a cocktail at the distillery’s Main Street tasting room and bar, The Cooperstown Beverage Exchange. It was a great way to finish things off and toast a magnificent day of craft beverages and some pretty great food too. You might notice some shots of us at lunch at Dobler’s Brewery and Tavern, a new local brew pub that isn’t technically on the trail, but Jim thought we could swing by along the way.
An awesome day. You should try it.