New places are popping up along
the Beverage Trail with interesting takes on classic locally sourced fare
By Kevin Limiti • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Otsego County is famous for its Baseball Hall of Fame, art museums, hiking trails and more but there is also another thing that draws people to the region, its craft beverages.
Otsego County has its own beverage trail and is home to the internationally known Ommegang Brewery. But new places are popping, each with their own unique history, many of which source their ingredients locally.
Two of these places is Rustic Ridge Winery and the High Burl Brewery, which are on state Route 80, nestled between adjacent farms. The brewery and winery dogs, Ruger and Jake, greet the patrons as they beg for animal crackers and popcorn. Inside is a homey place filled with wine and good vibes, and bartended by Holly Bennett, no relation to the Bennett family who owns the winery.
“It’s a big family get-together here,” Bennett said and the winery/brewery pairing is the only one in the area with both that she knows about.
At Morey’s Family Restaurant, your booth neighbor might be a man dressed in a brocade jacket, pajamas and bedroom slippers, smoking a pipe and sitting in a high-back chair next to a roaring fire, a dog sitting at his feet.
A girl with long blond curls in a long frilly nightgown stands next to him. The room he is in looks like a parlor room in “Downton Abbey.”
Encased in clear plastic, the room with the dad and daughter isn’t too much larger than your hand.
It is just one of 150 dollhouse displays inside Morey’s Family Restaurant & Dollhouse Miniatures on Oneonta’s East End. But Morey’s quirky displays aren’t the best part.
I had one of my best breakfasts there. I ordered their Greek omelet – three eggs perfectly cooked, and folded with feta cheese, tomatoes, red peppers and spinach leaves, all lightly sautéed. I could taste the flavor and freshness of each ingredient; Morey’s chef(s) did not override them with too much oil or butter.
My omelet came with two pieces of French toast, my choice of side, which were also perfection: thick, soft bread triangles lightly coated, not soaked, in fresh batter.
You’ll remember Morey’s miniatures, but it’s the food you will want to go back for. (Morey’s Family Restaurant, 5536 Route 7, Oneonta)
Head to the Upstate Bar and Grill for deliciously juicy New Brunswick Jail Island salmon on apricot couscous,
encrusted with almonds and served with seasonal vegetables.
I ordered mine cooked medium well-done and was happy to have done so: Every bite was moist and filled with the biting flavor of apricot. (Upstate Bar & Grille, 5418 NY-28, Cooperstown)
Brewery Ommegang has a new menu and an expanded dining room, with plenty of room for the whole family to enjoy lunch or an early supper.
I always get the chicken and waffles, served with a maple-bacon béchamel and a tangy raspberry jam. Try it with a Rosetta ale, which is aged on cherries and tastes like no other beer you’ve ever had.
And, of course, you need frites – they come with a house aioli, but if you’re REALLY hungry, you can get them with the Nirvana IPA cheddar-bacon sauce, or poutine made with local cheese curds – be sure to order enough to share!
And make sure to check out the daily beer specials so you can find one that pairs well with your food.
COOPERSTOWN – Brewery Ommegang won two prizes and the Red Shed Brewery one at the New York State Brewers Association’s third annual Craft Beer Competition.
Ommegang’s Three Philosophers took a bronze in the “Belgian Other” category and Witte took a bronze in the “Wheat Beer” category The Red Shed’s Jessica’s Red Ale took a silver, in the “Amber/Red Ale” category.
Austin James Robinson is the first baby born in 2019 at the Bassett Birthing Center in Cooperstown. Austin arrived at 3:01 a.m. New Year’s Day to his mother and father, Destiny Grant and Adam Robinson of Walton, Austin weighs 6 lbs.,13 oz,, and is 19¾ inches long. Destiny noted that Austin’s birthday is exactly 30 days before her own birthday. 2018 was another record setting year with 1,081 babies born at Bassett.
COOPERSTOWN – Asked today for “key factors to success,” four panelists from the local brewing industry spoke as one: Quality, quality, quality and quality.
“It all starts with quality,” said Roger Davidson, Council Rock Brewery founder. “It is fun … (but) I try to do the best I can every single day for consistent quality.”
“If quality isn’t the top of mind, you shouldn’t be a brewer,” said Ommegang’s Phil Leinhart, who has been cited in international competition as the “best in the world” of brewmasters at mid-size operations.
Aaron MacLeod, director of Hartwick College’s Center for Craft Food & Beverage, expanded that to include “the value chain” — hops, barley, malt, all the products that go into beer making.
HOLIDAY BAZAAR – 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. ‘Tip Toe Through The Holiday’ features items for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentines Day. Includes gifts, decorations, crafts, more. Lunch available. Elm Park United Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. 607-432-6552 or visit elmparkumconeonta.org
CONTRADANCE – 7:30 p.m. Fun social dance featuring music by Tailwind, caller Hilton Baxter. Arrive at 7:15 for introduction to steps. Admission, $8/adult. First Presbyterian Church, 25 Church St., Cooperstown. 607-547-8164 or visit otsegodancesociety.blogspot.com
To the beat of Oneonta’s Roundhouse Rockers (Mark Spaziani on lead guitar), the fifth annual Cooptoberfest beer-tasting crowd is warming up at this hour under the tent in the Doubleday Field parking lot. From 5 p.m. on, a $45 ticket opens the door to an evening of beer tasting, courtesy of micro-breweries from around the region. At right, with President Doug Campbell and Innovation Manager Justin Forsythe manning the table, Brewery Ommegang – the event’s prime sponsor – is ready for what’s in store. New this year is Eat Drink Cooperstown, local food vendors. (Jim Kevlin/AllOTSEGO.com)
HOLIDAY MARKET – 5 – 7 p.m. The Taj Garage comes early. Visiting artist Steve Clorfeine, poet, world traveler, teacher, more, presents items from Nepal, India. Includes handcrafted items from silk, cotton, sculpture, paintings, dolls, more. Find great wedding, holiday presents. Show continues thru 8/26. The Art Garage, 689 Beaver Meadow Rd., Cooperstown. 607-547-5327 or visit www.facebook.com/TheArtGarageCooperstown/
FINE CRAFTS – 5 – 7 p.m. Opening reception for Fine Crafts Invitational exhibit “Made in New York: Earth, Wind & Sky” with joint Miniature Show inspired by Thomas Cole. Displayed thru 9/21. Cooperstown Art Association. 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com
WALKING TOUR – 7 p.m. Downtown Revitalization Then & Now along Main & Market Streets with Gary Wickham & Bob Brzozowski. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
ART CLASS – 3 – 4 p.m. Entertaining class for kids to learn Mask Making based on Thaw Gallery Yup’ik masks. Free. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/calendar-a
REENACTMENT – 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Civil War encampment featuring soldiers in authentic uniforms drilling, performing maneuvers, singing period songs, more. Battle reenactment planned for afternoon followed by concert. Free, open to public. Lawn, Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Road, Cooperstown. 607-547-5098 or visit hydehall.org/event/civil-war-weekend-saturday/
ART FESTIVAL – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 11th annual juried art fest celebrating the relationship between artist, landscape. Fest features contest between local artists, food, vendors, music, demonstrations, more on expansive lawn. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org/calendar-a