Are you a craft beer lover with a passion for charming small towns? Well you’re in for a treat. Cooperstown, New York is not only home to the Baseball Hall of Fame, but also some amazing inns and craft beverages. Throughout the winter months, the Inn at Cooperstown holds a monthly Bed & Brew package along with Ommegang Brewery. This VIP experience is the perfect way to spend a weekend in Cooperstown with your loved one. It’s how my hubby and I celebrated our wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day this year!
A special thank you to the This is Cooperstown/Otsego County Tourism Board, The Inn at Cooperstown, and Ommegang Brewery for hosting my husband and me during our weekend in Cooperstown.
About The Inn at Cooperstown
Owned by Marc & Sherrie Kingsley since 2003, The Inn at Cooperstown is everything you’d hope for in an inn. The building itself is full of charm and character. The common areas are stocked with coffee, tea, and board games to keep you occupied – should you decide to stay in. The amenities extend to the exterior as well, where you’ll find rocking chairs on the front porch and a Tesla charging station in the parking lot out back.
When you arrive at the inn, you’re welcomed with such warmth. I give a special shout out to Ryan at the front desk who made us feel at home the moment we stepped inside. I immediately felt like he was one of my friends. And Marc & Sherrie are no different. They welcome you in like family, and you can see in their eyes just how much they care about the inn and their guests. It’s truly a special experience.
What’s Included in the Bed & Brew Package?
The Bed & Brew weekend is just one of the special packages you can book with The Inn at Cooperstown. Currently in their 13th year, this package is available during the winter months (November through April), when Cooperstown is quieter. Each month has a unique theme, so they vary slightly. But, if you’re booking the bed & brew package, here’s what you can expect:
Two nights accommodation at The Inn at Cooperstown
Craft beer share with fellow guests on Friday night
Breakfast at the inn both mornings
Free time to explore the town
VIP tour and tasting at Ommegang Brewery
Gourmet 4-course dinner & beer pairing at Ommegang
A custom growler filled with your choice of beer signed by the brewmaster
One or two Ommegang pint glasses per person
One sweatshirt or two t-shirts from the brewery
Coupons for local businesses in Cooperstown
Memories and friendships that will last a lifetime
Now, when I first saw the price for a couple for the bed & brew weekend in Cooperstown, it was a little bit of sticker shock. But when I realized just how much was included in the package, I realized how amazing it was! Plus, we got to have experiences that very few other people are able to have at Ommegang. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the weekend.
Friday Night: Beer Share
When you book your Bed & Brew weekend in Cooperstown, you’re encouraged to bring some beer to share with the other guests. If you’re a homebrewer, that means bring some of your own brew. But if not, just bring some of your favorites – local is always a great option! We brought some peanut butter beers from Willow Rock (a local Syracuse brewery), and Terrapin (one of our favorites down in Atlanta).
Beginning at 8pm, guests made their way down to the common rooms on the first floor of the inn. The table was quickly filled with beers of varying styles, bottles, and alcohol content. We started mingling with other people, learning that some of the guests were there for the first time, while others made bed & brew a regular vacation and were back for the second or third time! Visitors came from Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New York City, Virginia, Connecticut, and other states. It was amazing to get to meet people from all over who had come to the small town over their mutual love for craft beer.
Drinking & Mingling
I quickly joined in a conversation about dogs (of course), and fell in love with the photos a man was showing of his Basenji. It wasn’t until later in the night that I realized that was Marc, one of the owners of The Inn at Cooperstown! He and his wife, Sherrie, mingled in with everyone just like they were guests themselves. Their hospitality and friendliness was one of the highlights of the entire weekend!
Guests came and went throughout the night – some didn’t arrive until after dinner or a long drive into town. Others left early to do their own thing. But one thing stayed consistent – the eagerness for guests to chat, share the beer they brought, and get to know each other!
Saturday Morning: Breakfast
One of my favorite things about staying at an inn is the homemade breakfast. It adds a comforting quality that you don’t get at chain hotels. The Inn at Cooperstown was no different. Several tables were set up in two adjoining dining rooms with some self-serve options – coffee, granola, yogurt, toast, and fruit. Homemade muffins were on every table. And as soon as we sat down, the kitchen staff came around to ask if we wanted juice and the daily hot entree. Yes, please!
Although your itinerary for the weekend is pretty full, there is some free time during the day on Saturday to explore Cooperstown. The most famous attraction is definitely the Baseball Hall of Fame, but you should make some time for the other spots too. Main Street is full of cute shops and eateries.
Tin Bin Alley is the perfect place to do some gift shopping and satisfy your sweet tooth with homemade fudge and candies. For lunch? I recommend Alex’s World Bistro. Tucked behind another shop, the restaurant has an eclectic and cool atmosphere with some amazingly delicious dishes. Several of the other shops are filled with baseball-themed gifts and souvenirs – the baseball theme really runs deep in Cooperstown! If you venture past the single stoplight on Main Street going away from the shops, you’ll get to Cooperstown Distillery. Locally owned and operated, enjoy a tasting or even a tour of the distilling process.
Want to learn more? Don’t worry, I’ll dive a little deeper into Cooperstown’s attractions in an upcoming article.
Saturday Evening: VIP Experience at Ommegang
The evening at Ommegang starts with a trolley ride. Yes, an old-fashioned trolley! Meet with the other guests to board the trolley and make your way over to the brewery. Upon arrival you’ll learn how the evening will go – starting with a tour of the facilities. The brewery actually closes to the public shortly after you arrive, so you’ll have the place all to yourselves! That’s a pretty cool thought, especially considering how massive the brewery is.
Cooperstown is a small town, not the first place you might think of when you think of a major farmstead brewery. But the area has held several different (nick)names throughout history, including “Hop City” and “Nova Belgium”. Can you think of a better place to establish a brewery dedicated to Belgian beer? The Susquehanna River Valley has been fertile land for hops for hundreds of years.
The History of Ommegang
The name “Ommegang” comes from a Belgian word meaning “coming together” or “walking about”. The first ommegang festival was held in Brussels in 1549 – a date that you’ll see on the main arch at the brewery. The festival was a huge celebration to honor the king, including food, beer, and entertainment. The second date you’ll see on the archway is 1997 – the opening of Ommegang Brewery by Don Feinberg and Wendy Littlefield.
2004 marked an important year for Ommegang. First, it was when they created their famous witbier (a personal favorite), and it was the first brew to be kegged. But 2004 also marked the first year of the ‘Ommegang at Ommegang’ – a large-scale beer festival. Expanding on that in 2011, the brewery started the Summer Concert Series, which continues to grow in popularity and attendance. One of the things that makes Ommegang unique as an event venue is the extensive land that it sits on, allowing visitors to camp throughout their stay – right on the property.
Ommegang has also made a name for itself through its collaboration with HBO on the Game of Thrones beers. Brewmasters coordinated with HBO execs on the flavors, styles, and naming of each beer so that each was reflective of what was happening each season. I actually filled my growler to take home with the latest GOT beer: “My Watch Has Ended”.
Back in the tasting room, the brewers at Ommegang were quite generous. Each guest got a new pint glass that we would later take home. Then the two guys leading the tour introduced a few of the beers on tap, pouring each for everyone to try. After highlighting a few selections, they opened it up for guests to try anything else on tap that they wanted. For many people, that meant everything!
A large charcuterie platter was put out as a snack in the tasting room. While we tasted, we were able to choose what we wanted to fill our growlers with as well as which clothing we’d like from the gift shop. (My husband missed out on this one – instead of getting two t-shirts for us, I opted to get one sweatshirt just for me!)
I’ve been to a few gourmet dinners with pairings before – and this was one of the best! The head chef and our tour guide explained each dish and beer pairing as the courses progressed. I’ve never been a big seafood fan, but the Valentine-themed dinner was full of lobster – and it was delicious. Seriously. The shrimp and lobster bisque appetizer was absolutely fantastic. I wish I could have more. Now. Please?
Pitchers of the beer paired with each dish were passed around the table, so you could have as much or as little as you pleased. The waitstaff and brewers were friendly and open to answering any questions we had throughout the night. Marc and Sherrie made a point of visiting each table and checking in on everyone. After dessert – an incredible strawberry shortcake that I would also like more of – we had some time to browse the gift shop. My hubby and I chose to purchase some bottles that are exclusive to the brewery (and unavailable to get anywhere else). Then it was back to the inn for the night!
Sunday: Breakfast & Farewell
Unfortunately Sunday marks the end of your weekend in Cooperstown, concluding with another delicious breakfast at the inn. But don’t worry, you can always come back! And the best part of the bed & brew package? Each month has a different theme, so your experience will be slightly different. For example, the January weekend lets you taste some experimental brews that haven’t been released yet. You might be trying Ommegang’s next big hit!
Also, if beer isn’t your thing, check out one of the other packages available at the inn – or make your own itinerary! So what are you waiting for? Book your weekend in Cooperstown now.