The featured beer painting of the day is of the Rare Vos Amber Ale by Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, New York. Rare Vos was the first Ommegang beer I had ever tasted several years ago, and I was hooked from the beginning, so I chose to paint this one. Ommegang opened in 1997 just when craft beer was still in the infancy stage in America. All craft breweries should look to this one as an example of how the business side should be handled. Steve Body just reamed 10 Barrel Brewing in Bend, Oregon for selling out to InBev, the world’s largest beer producer. Ommegang, on the other hand, was more discreet in choosing a larger investor. The brewery was purchased by Duvel Moortgat, the leading producer of Belgian beer worldwide, and also one of the best large craft breweries. Most people didn’t seem to notice the change in ownership. Here is an example of how to expand without losing creative control. This brewery uses its facilities to host some of the best events such as a cyclocross race, and an amazing music fest, pairing two fun things to make memories that last!
Let me tell you how awesome it is to arrive to Brewery Ommegang. First, you will see beautifully crafted signs guiding you for the last few miles of rolling hills in a rural section of beautiful upstate New York. Then, you come upon a wonderful arched farmstead crafted after Belgian farmhouse breweries, and you feel like you are entering into a beer wonderland. The tanks glisten, and the rampant lion and diamond crest identifies the place as distinctly Ommegang. When you walk into the gift shop you have two options, to enter the tasting room, or the café. Yes, that’s right, you can get amazing food at this brewery. Allison Capozza, the Publicity Manager, was very welcoming and made my visit and live painting session pleasant! I painted for about two hours while munching on complementary French fries, beef wellington bites, and cookies, and savoring tasters of every beer available in the tasting room. Thank you for making me feel so welcome!
Rare Vos is a perfect Belgian amber ale. It has an overall rating of 91 on Beer Advocate, but rates a 98 by the bros. I suggest buying a bottle of the Rare Vos to check it out for yourself. The pop of the cork, and the aroma of this sweet, malty beer will have you from the beginning. Go ahead and buy a case, as this beer ages well, mellowing over the years.
Cheers to Brewery Ommegang! I always buy your beer for a celebration! Thanks again for being such wonderful hosts, and for distributing your beer all the way to Alaska. I will always remember my visit whenever I pop the cork from one of your bottles!