Monday, June 21, 2010

Big Ten Road Trips, part 5, Penn State

So, you are taking the trip from Champaign to Beaver Stadium. You apparently have some vacation time saved up, and a lot of money for gas. It's 615 to get there and about 11 hours. Drive safely. On the way, you'll go through Indianapolis, Dayton, and Columbus.

Once you go past Columbus, you are about half way there. The first stop you can make on the way is in Zanesville at Weaselboy Brewing Company. They are open Tuesday through Friday from 4pm to midnight, and on Saturday from 3 pm to midnight. They are closed Sunday and Monday, so if you want to stop, you should do it on your way there, not the way back (if you spent the night in Pennsylvania.

If you aren't making any side trips, and are just driving straight to State College and don't want to get too far off the interstate, the next place that makes beer is Marzoni's Brick Oven & Brewing Co. They are open Sun-Wed from 11 am to 10 pm, and Thu-Sat from 11 am to 11 pm. They seem to have 7 house beers on tap. They are located in Duncansville, just before you get to Altoona.

Once you get to State College, your local beer option is Otto's Pub and Brewery. Otto's is about 9 minutes away from the stadium. They've got 9 or 10 beers on tap, and may have more. They also have some of their beer for sale in 22 ounce bombers, so if you go, bring me something back.

Since you are probably the adventurous soul, you aren't just going to go straight there. So take the slight diversion on the route and go up to Pittsburgh. If you go to Pittsburgh, go to The Church Brew Works. It's out of the way on the trip to State College, but it's really cool. Seriously, you should go to church.

Also in Pittsburgh are 3 (sort of large) breweries; Iron City, Pennsylvania Brewing, and East End Brewing. East End is the smallest of the three. Iron City is kind of famous in that town, and PennBrew makes some pretty good beers.

There's also a Rock Bottom, and out by the airport is Rivertowne Pour House.

If you have the time, don't go directly back to Champaign (or if you are going to State College from one of the northern Big Ten schools) take a ride through Cleveland. Cleveland has some damn fine breweries. Great Lakes produces some awesome beer. I'm a huge fan of the Blackout Stout. If you can time it correctly to get some of the Blackout Stout that's been aged in various barrels, you are a lucky person.

Also around the Cleveland area is Thirsty Dog. I'm a fan of their Siberian Night and their Hoppus Maximus. There are other breweries and brewpubs in Cleveland, if you have a favorite that isn't listed here, feel free to leave a comment.

If you want to take a quick jaunt down to Akron from Cleveland, you can hit Hoppin Frog. Some of their beers are really good, like BORIS and DORIS.

Since you went to Penn State for a football game, you probably need to get a beer. It won't take long for you to get a headache from hearing that lion in the stadium all day. Seriously, every first down?

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