Hop’in Around: Huntingdon

By on March 6, 2019

On the road edition: Huntingdon

I just got back from a visit to the popular, mid-state vacation destination of Raystown Lake (specifically Huntingdon) and I’m saddened to report that this place is pretty much a void for craft breweries, compared to our robust beer scene here in Lancaster County — but that will soon change.

If all goes according to plans, Juniata Brewing Company will be the first craft brewery in Huntingdon County. Owner Sean Steeg and brewmaster David Welsch plan to open a 5-bbl brewery and taproom in a TBD location in Huntingdon borough (which is about the size of Ephrata). They expect to open for business by September 2019. Juniata plans to produce a broad mix of beer styles.

In nearby Altoona, Railroad City Brewing Company has been brewing up handcrafted ales since 2016. Speaking of railroads and beer, the annual Rails & Ales fundraising beer festival at the Railroad Museum of Strasburg will take place this year on Saturday, April 6. It doesn’t look like Railroad City will be in attendance, but the event will feature a couple of my out-of-area favorites: Robin Hood Brewing Company out of Bellefonte, and Free Will Brewing Co. out of Perkasie. As I digress, there are a couple breweries new to me at this year’s fest: Crowded Castle out of Phoenixville and Bald Birds Brewing Co. from Audubon. Stay tuned …

Nothing beats a frosty glass of Riepstine’s Shake It Up, a foggy milkshake IPA. The brew, from Riepstine’s Pub & Brewery in Williamsport, has hints of vanilla and pineapple accented by Citra and
Mosaic hops.

But, back to Huntingdon. Despite a lack of breweries, good craft beer is not impossible to find. Boxer’s Cafe is a popular spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts. The Cheers-like bar features craft beers from Victory, Dogfish, New Belgium, Oskar Blues, and Stone and some great imports like Skull Splitter from Orkney Brewery and a selection of Samuel Smith beers. During our stay at the Edgewater Inn we found beers from Otto’s Brewery (State College) and Riepstine’s Pub & Brewery (Williamsport) on tap. My wife really liked Riepstine’s Shake It Up, a foggy milkshake IPA with hints of vanilla and pineapple accented by Citra and Mosaic hops. Cheers to brewery owners Bart and Tess Rieppel for an excellent and perfect use of lactose, which I’ve seen brewers stumble over many times. And while I’m raising a glass, cheers to Edgewater Inn owners Keith and Sarah Beamer for being gracious hosts and stocking their cozy, Juniata River-view bar with some great craft drafts.

The Edgewater Inn is one of the few establishments in Huntingdon offering serious dining, although relaxed to fit their clientele (when not booked as a wedding venue) who are often sportsmen and women and PSU fans. The other notable dining experience in Huntingdon is Mimi’s, a martini bar with a seafood-focused menu. If you’re more of a hometown watering hole kind of person, then Johnny’s Bar is the spot. I didn’t get a chance to stop in during my visit to Huntingdon — which is an easy two-hour (and then some) drive from Lancaster County — but I am told this place has a great selection of craft beers as well.

Cheers and thanks for reading!

Michael C. Upton is a freelance writer specializing in arts and leisure. He welcomes comments at somepromcu@gmail.com and facebook.com/SomebodiesProductions.

The logo for Juniata Brewing Co. soon to be open.

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