Homebrewed in Happy Valley: Create Your Own Brew Tour This Summer!
By Emily Riden
If the idea of exploring all that Happy Valley has to offer in the summer sounds even better to you coupled with an ice-cold, locally-brewed beer in hand and a few good friends by your side, you’ve come to the right place!
From Bellefonte to Lewistown and everywhere in between, Happy Valley is home to a growing number of top-of-the-line breweries offering locally-sourced, expertly-crafted beers and experiences that you won’t find anywhere else.
To enjoy them all this summer, why not gather your friends (including a designated driver or someone with the Uber app!) and create your own brew tour? Whether your strategy is to experience them all in one outing or to savor your brewery tour all summer long with a new stop every weekend, from a cherry dreamsicle ale in Bellefonte to an oatmeal cookie cream ale in Lewistown, here are a few destinations you will not want to miss!
Robin Hood Brewing Co.
1796 Zion Road, Bellefonte
Start your tour at this Bellefonte brewpub to get a taste of Robin Hood Brewing Co.’s continuously-rotating selection of IPAs, wheat beers and experimental brews. Popular selections on tap include the Robin Hood King Richard Red and the Robin Hood Pomegranate Wheat and distinctly fun flavors like the Robin Hood Nuttingham Peanut Butter Porter — a creamy, chocolatey porter chock full of peanut butter flavor — and the Robin Hood Cherry Dreamsicle brewed with cherries, vanilla and milk sugar. And you won’t be drinking on an empty stomach! The kitchen specializes include pizza, pub food and creative American favorites.
Home D Pizzeria
1820 S. Atherton Street, State College
If you want more of what Robin Hood Brewing Co. had to offer, as your brewery tour moves through State College, make a stop at Home D Pizzeria. The sister location to Robin Hood Brewing Co., Home D Pizzeria offers more Robin Hood beers on tap, as well as an extensive pizza menu, including a number of wood-fired options, calzones, strombolis and more.
Otto’s Pub & Brewery
2235 North Atherton Street, State College
Just a short Lyft ride away on your tour is one of State College’s most popular and longest-running breweries, Otto’s Pub & Brewery. Otto’s craft beer lineup ranges from their Mt. Nittany Pale Ale to their Black Mo Stout and almost everything in between, available on draft or in 12-ounce cans, six-packs, and cases to take home and enjoy long after your brewery tour. In between beers, you can also enjoy a bottle of Otto’s homebrewed non-alcoholic ginger beer or soda and a tasty bite from the pub’s extensive menu.
Happy Valley Brewing Company
137 Elmwood Street, State College
Happy Valley Brewing Company has built a loyal following of craft beer lovers since its inception in 2012, and after your next stop on your brewery tour, you may be one of them! The brewery features a wide selection of year-round and seasonal flavors like their Tailgater American Pale Ale, their Stratus (Nitro) Loftbier, or their NitWit Witbier — all of which pair nicely with their menu and the live music frequently offered at their Elmwood Street Location.
Shy Bear Brewing
35 Meadowbrook Lane, Lewistown
While your tour could continue with extensive time spent in downtown State College, with more stops including the likes of Liberty Craft House (where you can appreciate an impressive rotation of craft brews from throughout Pennsylvania), you’ll want to save plenty of time to experience all that Shy Bear Brewing in Lewistown has to offer.
The brewery, now in its second year of operation, is a rare gem of culinary and craft-brewed brilliance, surrounded by nature and nestled on a rustic ridge oasis.
“Even coming up the lane, you get that feeling like you’re finding something special,” said owner and founder Jason Ufema, who brings years of experience to Shy Bear Brewing after beginning in the beer industry in the ’90s, as he says, “before it was cool.”
“It’s not like pulling into a strip mall or another big complex. It’s something a little bit more special,” continued Ufema. “We looked at it as a whole in the area and thought, ‘What can we offer that other places don’t?’ One of the main things is really that outside experience.”
To take full-advantage of Shy Bear Brewing’s outdoor space and atmosphere, you may want to plan your tour stop to coincide with the brewery’s special offerings, including movies on the lawn on a 16’ drive-in theatre-style projection screen, live music every Sunday (and on select additional days throughout the week), the dog-friendly patio and more.
And we haven’t even gotten to the beer yet! Crafted by brewer Roger McKelvie, Shy Bear Brewing currently features more than a dozen beers on tap, including its flagship, favorite IPA, Jaybird; Cookie Dipper, a fun oatmeal cookie cream ale; new sour beers, including a boysenberry sour; and an all-new double mango IPA debuting this summer.
“It’s really difficult to pick a favorite; it’s kind of like picking your children — whichever one is treating you the best at the time,” said Ufema, who often enjoys the Jaybird, several of their sour beers, and the Patty O’Furniture (Nitro), a new Irish stout on nitro.
In addition to its brew lineup, Shy Bear Brewing offers a menu to match, with vegan and gluten-free items amongst its offerings of shareables, salads, soups, sandwiches and seasonal entrees.
“We’re giving people something that they would find in the Philadelphia or Pittsburgh suburbs,” said Ufema.“It’s the unexpected. Everything that we do as a whole could come down to the idea that we just want to elevate the experience — and elevate the expectation particularly.”
And in this case, Shy Bear Brewing could very well elevate your brewery tour!
Happy, and safe, drinking, as you enjoy all that Happy Valley has to offer!