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Maxim Learns Belgian Beer-Making Secrets At Brewery Ommegang!

You know that delicious Game of Thrones beer you love so much? Well, turns out it isn't made beyond the wall, but at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York, home to many more delicious Belgian-style beers. We toured the place and learned all about how beer is made. Yeah, yeah, we needed to learn again, so sue us. (No, don't please.)


Photo courtesy of Thom Eijken

Welcome to beautiful Cooperstown, home to Brewery Ommegang since 1997. Gorgeous any time of the year, but especially the fall! Upstate New York is known for more than just being nipple-biting cold - it is also known for its high quality water and an abundance of awesome beer hops. 


Photo courtesy of Tom Sheehan 

Oh the places you'll go. (We chose the direction of DRINKING!)


Photo courtesy of Bailey Swilley

Here's the brewhouse, where wort is made. What's wort, you ask? It's the sugar water made from barley malt (pilsner base malts and specialty ones from Germany, Belgium, and 'Merica). At the end of the process, spices (like grains of paradise, ginger, star anise, cumin, coriander and orange peel) and hops are thrown in for each individual brew. 


Photo courtesy of Tom Sheehan 

Here's where the beer is filtered. Afterwards, it gets put into a bright beer tank, where it gets naturally carbonated with yeast and sugar. Also in this photo: a mysterious spill. Nope, this spill is not a part of the process, and nope, we didn't slurp it up, because we are not filthy animals... all the time. 


Photo courtesy of Thom Eijken

See those silvery tubes of Heaven? That's where "lagering" happens. After the beer ferments, it's aged in these tanks at zero degrees Celsius. Then it ripens (our favorite part), and the yeast makes its way on out. Get outta here, yeast!


From there, it goes into the bright beer tank and then into bottles where it will carbonate using méthode champenoise (natural carbonation by fermenting in bottles). Then, the bottles are cellared so they can mature into the sweet young things we like to drink. Overall, it takes five weeks for this one process. 


Photo courtesy of Thom Eijken

Hops! McLovin's favorite! Ommegang uses American, Slovenian, and German hops. These make the beer spicier, manlier, tastier, more bitter, and less appealing to your girlfriend (most likely). On the tour, we asked, "Why did you decide to make beers for Game of Thrones?" And they said, "Because they asked us if we wanted to. And we did." And there you have it! History! Beerstory, even!


Photo courtesy of Thom Eijken

After the tour, we went to the tasting room, where we sampled six beers: Rare Vos, Abbey Ale, Three Philosophers, BPA, Witte, and Hennepin. The tasting glasses were small, but we still got the buzz! Then, we were starving from all the beer learning... so we moved on to the cafe. Education is hard, y'all!


Photo courtesy of Tom Sheehan 

Ommegang's Cafe has a menu full of amazing Belgian deliciousness - fries, waffles, soups, sandwiches, and mussels made with a bottle of Hennepin. We stopped in after being famished during a gruuuuueling tour of beer secrets. Marry us, carbs!


Photo courtesy of Tom Sheehan 

Then, it was time to leave. They had enough of us. Until next time, beer heaven!



Check out 365 Beers In One Day and How To Make a Boozy Bottle Rocket

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