January ’04 visitation to rural Penn State campus led me to two tiny specialty beer stores handily named Brewsky’s Bottle Shops (one at Days Inn). Zeno’s Restaurant on Allen Street offered wide selection of international finds and local faves. Cricklewood Drive’s American Ale House & Grill was deemed worthy.

April ’06, found OTTO’S PUB & BREWERY north of Penn State campus. Opened 2002, freestanding lodge-styled side-decked wood building had tucked-in left side bar with stool-table dining space plus additional frontal and right side eating areas.

Snacks, sandwiches, burgers, pasta, and nightly specials go well with stylishly diverse beer menu (enhanced by excellent seasonal selections).

Respected standard fare included sharply citric-faded, red-fruited, Centennial-Cascade-hopped, tea-honeyed Mt. Nittany Pale Ale, smooth, biscuit-buttered, banana nut-breaded, pastry-like Hefeweizen, woody-hopped grapefruit-centered wheat-dried Pilsner Lager, and mildly orange peel-embittered, floral-hopped, nut-smitten, creamy-frothed Arthur’s Best Bitter.

Noteworthy seasonal brews quaffed were vibrant Chinook-hopped apple-peach-pear-orange-toned Double D IPA, nitro-injected Irish-styled hop-roasted nutty-bottomed coffee-tinged Black Mo Stout, and elegant Bourbon-Aged Old Fugget Barleywine – a creamy whiskey-doused sureshot gathering overripe fig-banana-cherry fervor above herbal currant nuance.

Upon one-day April ’08 college tour junket, imbibed mandarin orange-fronted, herbal-spiced, peppery-hopped, cane-sugared, peach-grape-tinged Maibock and tangy apricot-lacquered, orange-juiced wheat-cracked Apricot Wheat.

During 2010, Otto’s moved down the street next to Fairfield Inn on North Atherton Street.

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