(1) THE BREWERY & OUR EXPERIENCE
Happy Valley Brewing Company is a new addition to an exploding craft brewing industry in Pennsylvania. The brewery came on our radar as we passed through the state on our way to Pittsburgh and we are truly glad that it did. Despite not getting much warning of our arrival, head brewer Josh Davies graciously agreed to meet with us and spent much of the afternoon sharing his background and the story of the 6 month old brewery. They had an impressive list of 13 beers on tap which spread across the spectrum of styles; Josh explained that a lot of his focus falls onto yeast health. The restaurant and brewery is housed in a renovated 200 year-old barn and maintains much of that charm despite a modern touch. The bottom level contains a long 360 degree bar with a completely different mood than the upstairs. Josh feels that one of his favorite features in the brewery itself is the Fast Top S flooring – polyurethane layer over sand – which is virtually indestructible. With the beautiful scenery outside added into the equation, Happy Valley is definitely a full package that you can’t miss!
(2) VITAL INFORMATION
Date of our visit: Monday, 04/21/2014
Open since: October 2013
Approx. Barrel (bbl) Output 2013: n/a
Projected bbl Output 2014: 1,500 bbl
Brewhouse size: 15 bbl
Founder(s): Greg Summers and Scott Lucchesi
Head Brewer: Josh Davies
Distribution: Currently on site only
Other things we learned:
* The brewery and restaurant are housed in a 200 year old barn. An Angus beef farm was housed on the property until a by-pass cut the farm in half in 70’s. Following that time, the building was utilized for a furniture store.
* Happy Valley is a regional name, the area seems to be not greatly affected by recession.
* Scott runs the restaurant side – he has a few other businesses in town and is very attentive to details. Greg runs the beer side and owns Phyrst, a college bar downtown that has live music 365 days a year without fail.
* A Penn State grad did murals on the ceiling and wanted the murals to be reminiscent of a European chapel but with a beer theme.
* Have upstairs and downstairs bar with split tap lines.
* The official grand opening was the Fri-Sun before our visit (4/18 – 4/20). They called it “HopStock” since it was 3 days of Peace, Music, and Bitterness. LeMonster was also released.
* Signed up 190 people in 3 days for the mug club. $50 lifetime membership ($25 for grand opening) – special pricing is illegal in PA so mug club gets advanced invitations, waives cover, engraved mug, t-shirt)
* Downstairs has 7 different music zones and sound can be adjusted accordingly. Love seats at the bar. Stools w/ blue jeans covering.
* 5 – 15 bbl fermenters, 7 serving tanks. Also 3 bbl grundy tank for experimentation.
* Fast Top S flooring in the brewery- polyurethane layer over sand. Virtually indestructible.
(3) BEERS AVAILABLE DURING OUR VISIT
# = Year Round; $ = Seasonal/Limited Release
* Beers We Sampled
*# Stratus Loftbier
*# Craftsman Brown Ale
*# Tailgater Pale Ale — “Enjoy with 110,000 of your closest friends”
*# Barnstormer IPA
*# Phyrst Phamily Stout
*$ HayDay American Wheat Ale
*$ Bongo Fury Black IPA
*$ Hopgoblin Belgian Pale Ale
*$ Scotia Scotch Ale
*$ Tsar Bomba Russian Imperial Stout
*$ NitWit White Beer with Cardomom and Curacao Orange Peel
*$ Knuckleball Amber Ale
*$ LeMonster Imperial IPA
What we learned about their beer during our visit:
* Year Round: Pale ale, IPA, Stratus Loftbier, Craftsman Brown, Phyrst Phamily Stout. All names are barn or local themed – Phyrst Phamily band that played at the Phyrst for over 30 years.
* Josh likes to create full flavored light colored beers to break people’s preconceptions about style.
* Focus on yeast health, clean beers; no filtering of beers
* Currently no lagers in order to utilize tank space and keep large variety available.
(4) EXPANSION PLANS
(5) BACKGROUND OF PEOPLE WE SPOKE TO
Name: Josh Davies
Been with company since: May 2012
Previous Brewing Experience: Head/Production Brewer at Arcadia in MI for 5 years, Michigan Brewing Co. 3 years
Previous Occupation(s): EMT
Favorite Superhero: He-Man
(6) MORE LINKS ABOUT BREWERY
(7) You can find the rest of our photos here
Author: Brandon Wurtz