Cooperstown, NY’s Brewery Ommegang hosts one of the east coast’s big beer festivals, Belgium Comes to Cooperstown (BCTC), which takes place this weekend.

BCTC features over 60 different breweries from all over the United States, as well as imports. Each year, Ommegang picks a “movie theme” for the festival. This year they’ll be turning it to 11 by having Spinal Tap be the theme.

This year, two DC chefs are in attendance and representing the #DCBrews community in the “Great Mussel Tussle,” which is part of the first annual Great Beer Deserves Great Food Throwdown. Six different chefs from six different areas are competing to create the best beer and mussels dish. The areas represented are NYC, Philadelphia, the Hudson Valley, Boston, Cooperstown, and Washington, DC. The winner of the Tussle will be decided by vote of BCTC’s VIP guests. The champion chef will win prizes including the winning recipe featured in the Café Ommegang menu for the next year.

Belga Cafe’s Executive Chef and Owner, Bart Vandaele, is the DC representative. Vandaele opened Belga Café as the District’s original Belgian Café to “elevate and expand the common American conception of Belgian cuisine.” Recently, he has been selected as a National Brand Ambassador for many Belgian brews.

Another DC representative, and someone who is very familiar with beer and mussels, is Granville Moore’s Teddy Folkman. Folkman, as you may recall, beat Chef Bobby Flay in a beer and mussels Throwdown, so hosting this event is right in his wheelhouse. Folkman is a brewery ambassador for Brewery Ommegang and part of the Great Beer Deserves Great Food campaign.


We’ll keep you updated on whether Vandaele can bring the crown home or not. If you’re interested in going to BCTC, you will unfortunately have to put it on your calendar for next year. This event, like SAVOR, is notorious for selling out extremely quickly. Still, it’s nice to know DC has some strong representation up there. A win by Vandaele would give even more notoriety to our local craft beer scene!