You could spend your Saturday night sitting on the couch, cracking open a nice cold beer, and enjoying a baseball game.
But trying out a plethora of craft beer, listening to live music at Tussey Mountain, and benefitting a local charity might be more fun.
The 17th Annual State College Brew Expo will take over the mountainside on Saturday, with 44 breweries on tap for the beer festival. Those range from the locals like Otto’s, to the Pennsylvanian like Troegs, to the big breweries like Samuel Adams and Magic Hat.
“Each individual brewery has their own table inside of three large tents and there’s an opening in between the tents where people can hang out and enjoy the bands,” said Michael Martin, who took over the expo with his wife Malissa six years ago. “It’s very much an open atmosphere for people to walk around have a good time.”
When the Martins stepped into the expo, they decided to add a charitable aspect to the beer celebration, donating all proceeds from the event to Penn State Coaches vs. Cancer.
“We don’t have a true dollar figure that we shoot for, but we’ve given over $50,000 over the years,” Martin said. “We’re very proud of that. We do as much as we can after all of our costs and everything.”
With the rising popularity of craft beer in recent years, events like the State College Brew Expo have seen a similar increase in interest. But such a popularity bump doesn’t come without issues.
“It’s still a very popular event but there’s a lot of competition now. Every town in Pennsylvania now is trying to have a beer festival,” Martin said. “It’s actually very difficult now to get the brewers to come because of the popularity of craft beer. It’s a tougher thing these days.”
The expo features two seminars, one at 6 p.m. and another at 7 p.m. The first will present an overview of the homebrewing process from the State College Homebrew Club. The second seminar, hosted by former Penn State trustee Dr. Ben Novak, will detail his time writing a bi-weekly beer column for the Centre Daily Times.
“In his seminar, Dr. Novak will discuss the joys and challenges of writing seriously about beer during a very different time,” a press release said, “from the process of finding inspiration and confronting misconceptions to the challenge of preaching deeper appreciation in a college town environment, where quantity often wins out over quality.”
As for the entertainment, central Pennsylvania rock band Royal Benson will open things up. They will be followed by national touring artist Anthony D’Amato, who has recorded with acclaimed bands like Bon Iver and Megafaun.
The Brew Expo kicks off at 5 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. Just make sure you remember the original motto of the festival: Drink Less, Drink the Best.
Photo: State College Brew Expo