Talleyrand Park - Summer Craft Beverage Expo Bellefonte, PA 16823
By Serge Bielanko
Once upon a time going out for a drink in Central Pennsylvania meant rolling up to a cinderblock tap room in the middle of the woods. There, you'd hop out of your pickup, limp on by the massive 'BUSCH LIGHT WELCOMES BUCK HUNTERS' banner flapping in the summer breeze, and enter into the dark, dank confines of a honky tonk where old men in John Deere hats stared at you between deep swigs of their Genny Cream Ale.
There's nothing wrong with that, mind you. And quite frankly, the more I think about it: the more likely it seems to me that there is a whole new 'brand' of tourism to be exploited by attracting city people out here for guided tours of 'authentic' Appalachian dive bars and watering holes. But still, these days social drinking has changed a lot around here. And unless you're asking the very backwards among us, I have to think it's a seriously good thing.
But don't take my word for it.
The proof is in the sipping.
And if it's sipping something wonderful you're into then this weekend's 3rd Annual Summer Craft Beverage Expo in Talleyrand Park is going to be some kind of paradise for you and your family and friends. Because for an entire afternoon this Sunday, June 16th, a whole lovely green space in the park will be transformed into a real-life wonderland of many of Central Pennsylvania's top brewers, distillers, and wineries.
For only $10 in advance (just $15 at the gate, under 21 is free), tasters age 21+ get admission, a souvenir tasting glass, AND tasting at each trail member's tent. And those trail members include a staggering array of who's who in Pennsylvania beer/wine/spirits.
How's this batting order look to you?
- Robin Hood Brewing Co.
- Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks
- Big Spring Spirits
- Barrel 21 Distillery
- Otto's Pub and Brewery
- Seven Mountains Wine Cellars
- Good Intent Cider
- Happy Valley Brewing Company
- Mount Nittany Vineyard & Winery
- Keewaydin Cider Mill
- Happy Valley Vineyard & Winery
- University Wine Company
See what I'm saying? Local legends and rookie stars. Plus throw in some of the area's best food trucks and restaurants as well as coffee, kombucha, and local band Hops & Vines performing live, and what you have here is about as good an afternoon as you could ever hope for short of catching a 22 inch brown trout on a dry fly or finding a bag of gold under your couch cushion.
The expo is brought to us by the folks who dreamed up the Central PA Tasting Trail, including Lucy Rogers, who's been the Tasting Room Manager for Bellefonte's own Big Spring Spirits for almost 5 years and is also a force behind the whole Tasting Trail idea.
I asked her to tell me more.
"The Tasting Trail is made up of 4 breweries, 4 wineries, 2 cideries, and 2 distilleries," she notes. "We got together to form the trail, print a map, and help craft beverage enthusiasts find us here in Centre County. Anyone can visit the trail at their own pace, but we also created the Passport program to help folks find their way and incentivize them to visit all the members. We feel the trail is unique because it has something for everyone--it's not just wineries, it's not just breweries-- and so everyone can find something to enjoy on the Trail."
The Summer Craft Beverage Expo has become the Tasting Trail's main get-together so far, a chance for people in our neck of the woods to gather and grin, welcome the impending summer, and sample all of the deliciousness being created right in our own backyards. It's an idea that, cross just two years, has quickly become a raging success.
Why? Probably due to the fact that...let's be honest here, it's most likely due to the fact that Central Pennsylvanians are outside people who LOVE to get outdoors with an IPA or a Gin & Tonic and rub shoulders with complete strangers and smile at them and toast the ducks in the sky and the trout in the stream because life is beautiful and in about an hour: the Beatles are playing a free concert!!!
Am I right?
Yes, I'm right!
Okay, okay, well almost. I mean, I can't bring back John and George from the dead. However, I can get kinda close. The Cast of Beatlemania, one of the world's most renown Beatles tribute bands, will be performing LIVE for FREE as part of Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association's Summer Sounds concert series right as the Expo is winding down. And form what I gather, you'll still be able to purchase a drink from one of the many fine establishments sticking around to serve all legal Beatles fans who need to wet their Liverpool whistle.
So bring your Dad if you can. It's Father's Day, remember.
Or come toast him if you can't.
But either way: go have some fun. You deserve it, you know.
Third Annual Summer Craft Beverage Expo.
Sunday, June 16, from 3 to 6 p.m. Talleyrand Park.
Tickets Here: $10 in advance, $15 at the door including admission, souvenir tasting glass and tasting at each trail member tent.
You must be 21 years old to purchase an expo ticket.
Trail Passport holder? Come to the VIP hour from 2 to 3 p.m., for passport holders only
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