One of the pleasant subtleties of Happy Valley is the abundance of local breweries and wineries. They provide a true taste of the region by using freshly grown local ingredients to produce some of the best beers, wine and food you will find.
Not only are the products delicious, but also a brewery or winery tour is a great way to get out and explore the area by learning how the wines and beers are made.
Plan your trip by reserving your accommodations at one of Lion Country Lodging’s six hotels. Here are a few of the best breweries and wineries to visit in Happy Valley.
Otto’s Pub & Brewery
Otto’s is the only brewery in State College and you’re likely to find their selections at other bars and restaurants throughout town. They brew 15 different kinds of beers ranging in variety from pilsners to porters.
If you want to visit Otto’s, you should definitely plan to stop in on a Friday. Every Friday beginning at 5 p.m., a tap is hand driven into a firkin with a mallet. What is a firkin you ask? A firkin is “a British-style cask of ale that is conditioned in the cask and gravity poured for a real ale taste.” It’s real ale as it the style has historically meant to be enjoyed.
Otto’s American bistro cuisine is made with fresh ingredients from local farms and bakeries. Plus they offer wines from local wineries, a guest tap for other PA breweries.
Gamble Mill Microbrewery and Restaurant
If you’re craving history as well as great local beer during your time in Happy Valley, make sure you pay a visit to the Gamble Mill.
The Gamble Mill Microbrewery and Restaurant was the first building in Bellefonte to be placed on the national register of historic places. While the eight-barrel microbrewery was added in 2010, the restaurant portion of the building dates back to the 1800s when it was operated as a mill. It received its current name from George M. Gamble who bought the mill in 1901 and he ran it until he retired in 1923. The mill was set to be razed in the 1970s before a group stepped in to buy and restore the building.
Today it’s one of the best places to eat in Bellefonte. Tavern specialties include Pig Iron IPA Beer Battered Fish & Chips, and one pound of locally raised baby back ribs. On the beer side, the Mill’s head brewer brings expertise from one of America’s most highly regarded breweries, Dogfish Head Brewery of Delaware.
Notable year-round beer selections include their Bushhouse Brown Ale, named after the Bush House in Bellefonte and the J. Rose pale ale named after local jockey Jeremy Rose. The Gamble Mill offers brewery tours and beer tastings by appointment. For contact information click here. For a full list of what’s on tap click here.
Elk Creek Café + Aleworks
Enjoy freshly crafted beer and terrific live local music at Elk Creek Café in nearby Millheim. Their fresh and local ales are micro brewed on premise. Enjoy unique brews such as Brookie Brown Ale—Chocolate and Carmel malt flavored and named for the trout that inhabit nearby streams—or a Double Rainbow IPA, a golden beer with a fruity English flavor and aroma. Their food is made fresh daily and that ingredients have Happy Valley fingerprints all over them. Tait Farm Community Harvest supplies vegetables and the breads and buns come from Gemelli Bakery in State College.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, the café turns into one of the area’s premier live music venues with numerous bands playing anything from rock n’ roll to bluegrass.
Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery
This quaint family-owned winery sits on the side of Mt. Nittany on 65 tranquil acres. Owners Joe and Betty Carroll have operated the business since 1990 in this private region of Centre Hall only 10-15 minutes from downtown State College. The way the Vineyard is situated on the slope of the mountain provides a favorable environment for grape growing, especially for their European and hybrid-wine grapes. And their process has paid off because their wine selection has won hundreds of medals over the years.
Mt. Nittany Vineyard and Winery offers free tours (by appointment) and wine sampling is a part of the tour. They also frequently have wine and cheese tastings and special dinners. Click here for a full listing of their upcoming events.
Whether you prefer dry, sweet, semi-dry or semi sweet wines, Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery can provide you the wine you crave. One of their can’t-miss selections is Nittany Mountain Red, which is made from a “full-bodied blend of red French hybrid grapes.”
Seven Mountains Wine Cellars
Spend a relaxing day in the Seven Mountains region with Seven Mountains Wine Cellars. Seven Mountains, like Mount Nittany, is family owned and has won the prestigious Governor’s Cup for grape and fruit wine. They are always looking for new and creative wines to make.
Wine tastings are offered daily during business hours. Private tastings with tours need to be scheduled in advance.
Kick back, relax and enjoy some of the best local brews, wines and food that Happy Valley has to offer. Stay with Lion Country Lodging while you experience Happy Valley’s fantastic brews and wines.
Visit Lion Country Lodging
Carnegie Inn & Spa - (814) 234-2424
100 Cricklewood Drive State College, PA 16803
Days Inn Penn State - (814) 238-8454
240 S. Pugh Street State College, PA 16801
Hilton Garden Inn - (814)-272-1221
1221 East College Avenue State College, PA 16801
Nittany Budget Motel - (814) 238-0015
2070 Cato Avenue State College, PA 16801
Quality Inn State College - (814) 234-1600
1274 North Atherton Street State College, PA 16803
Super 8 - (814) 237-8005
1663 S. Atherton St State College, PA 16801