Brewing Beer In The Happiest Of Valleys

Beer is a well-loved college staple, although I’m not exactly sure Natty Lite can actually be called “beer”. Thankfully, for those who like to think their palate is a bit more sophisticated, Happy Valley offers a variety of micro breweries for students and locals to choose from. The Happy Valley Brewing Company opened around a month ago, and are now finally offering their own beers. We were impressed the last time we went, but no review can be complete without sampling a micro brewery’s hand crafted beer. Fellow writer Steve and I took it upon ourselves to do some hard hitting journalism, and we recently traveled to the HVBC to taste their new selection.

Now I will give you a slight caveat before we begin describing the beers: neither of us are that well versed in beer. I, for one, know that I enjoy beer, and that it can be hoppy, fruity, and grainy in flavor…and that’s about it. Steve and I figured that together, we might make up one knowledgeable person.

Steve and I ordered the beer sampler, which comes with 6 beers for $9. As of right now, the HVBC only has 4 of it’s beers on tap, so we doubled up on the Stratus and the Barnstormer. To avoid swaying our own opinions, we refrained from reading the descriptions of the beer until we took down a few notes. Below are our attempts at explaining each beer, along with the official description from the HVBC website.

The Stratus Loftbier

(4.7% ABV)

The Stratus Loftbier is one of the lightest beers offered at the HVBC. The taste was subtle, clean, and refreshing.

The official description: “Exhibits a subtle, pleasing malt aroma. Hits the palate with a mild, grainy sweetness. Finishes crisp, clean and refreshing.”

The Tailgater Pale Ale

(4.7% ABV)

The Tailgater Pale Ale was the next lightest beer on the list, offering a heavier mouth feel than the Stratus while maintaining the same alcohol content. Steve and I noted that the Pale Ale had a fruity almost spiced flavor, with a pleasant aromatic smell.

The official description: “Notice the pale, straw color. Take in the bright, citrusy hop aroma. Savor the medium-bodied mouth feel and the dry, refreshing finish.”

The Barnstormer India Pale Ale 

(6.2% ABV)

Our waitress had warned us about the IPA, telling us that she felt that the Barnstormer was actually smoother than the Tailgater (which usually is the opposite considering the Barnstormer is an IPA). However, we agreed with her initial assessment. The Pale Ale was indeed smoother than the Tailgater, and was fruitier and more fragrant.

“I like the Barnstormer more than the tailgater. It has a higher alcohol content but is still more drinkable due to it’s nice balance of hops,” Steve said, his face alight at the prospects of sounding like a somewhat knowledgeable beer drinker.

The official description: “The sunny, golden color hints that this is a classic IPA. The robust, citrusy hop aroma leaps out of the glass. The assertive hop bitterness grabs your attention. The crisp, clean finish brings a satisfied smile.”

The Craftsman Brown Ale

(5.2% ABV)

As a dark beer lover I was particularly partial to the Craftsman. The flavor was full-bodied and smooth.

The official description: “The deep, almost luminous, mahogany brown color harmonizes with a nutty, toffee-like aroma. Not the least bit cloying, but the “biscuity” malt flavors linger well into the next sip.”

Overall, the two of us were incredibly pleased with both the food and now the beer at Happy Valley Brewing Company. Even though they only have four of their own beers on tap, we like what we tasted, and we’re sure that the rest will be just as good. The food, beer, and atmosphere of HVBC make it a great addition to the bevy of dining options here in State College. I can say with 100 percent confidence that I’ll be back to try their food and beer as soon as possible.

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About the Author

Catie Simpson

Catie is a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. She's also the resident townie and culinary enthusiast due to a brief stint at the CIA (the culinary school not the secret government agency). She currently works at a Baby Temperament Lab on campus where she tries to get babies to do dangerous things. She's also on the twitter.

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