Beer, Wine and Baseball

Last weekend, I was in Cooperstown, NY with my wife for the Baseball Hall of Fame weekend. Instead of fighting the crowds (and the heat) to watch the induction ceremony on Sunday, we decided to spend the afternoon sampling some of the local beverages.

We first tried to visit Brewery Ommegang, a Belgian-style brewer that’s known for its Game of Thrones-inspired beers. Unfortunately, there was a concert later that night and they’d already closed for the day. Disappointed but still determined to sample the local offerings, we tried Pail Shop Vineyards next.

Pail Shop uses atypical grapes, including hybrids created by research institutions, since they need to survive temperatures as low as -30 degrees F in the winter. At the tasting room there, we sampled the winery’s full line-up, which includes:

  • 7 Mills: A white blend using Vidal, Vignoles and Traminette grapes
  • Marquette-Noiret: A medium-bodied red blend using 70% Marguette and 30% Noiret
  • Traminette Simi-Dry: A slightly sweet wine using 100% Traminette grapes
  • Pail Shop Rosé: A medium-body, dry red wine that’s unlike traditional Rosé
  • Painted Rail White: A sweet blend of Traminette and Vidal grapes
  • Painted Rail Red: A blend of Concord and Noiret grapes, creating a semi-sweet red wine that’s perfect for Sangrias
The vineyard at Pail Shop.

The final stop was Council Rock Brewery and Pub, just outside of town. I decided to go with the five-beer flight (pictured at the top of the page). From left to right, my choices included:

  • Half Nelson Light Pale Ale (3.6% ABV with Nelson and Citra hops)
  • All American IPA (7.3% ABV using 3 West Coast hops)
  • Sleeping Lion Red Ale (5.3% ABV with double dose of hops)
  • Leatherstocking Brown Ale (5.6% ABV with a hint of chocolate)
  • Sunken Island Scotch Ale (8.2% ABV with caramel flavor)



My wife tried the Banana Split Dampfbier, a 5.4% ABV amber ale fermented with hefeweizen yeast, and the 4.8% ABV Mango Wheat, an American style beer with 34% wheat and real mango. Both were as sweet as advertised.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.

The craft movement in Cooperstown is growing, just like the rest of the country. The area includes other breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries that I didn’t have time to visit. A number of them have teamed up to form the Cooperstown Beverage Trail, and earlier this year the Cooperstown Distillery opened the Beverage Exchange downtown, a Gastropub that also serves and sells local products.

If you’re ever in the area to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame, it’s worth stopping for a glass and getting a feel for the area’s growing beverage industry.


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