Last week we ventured up to State College, PA, home of Penn State University. Husband had a job interview up there and I acted as pilot so he could spend sometime relaxing before getting grilled about various kinds of IT craziness.
As usual, we looked for somewhere to get food and a beer up there since we rarely get up in that area. We found Otto’s Pub and Brewery, a microbrewery based restaurant just out on North Atherton Street (and yes, as a fan of Firefly, and most especially the episode “Shindig”, I snicker every time I say Atherton).
Alas, I did not have my camera with me to take pictures of the place and the food. The building is very new, with an addition currently being added onto it. The décor is basic industrial brewpub with the HVAC innards displayed. What makes this place interesting is the banners and signs displaying the logos of Pennsylvania breweries long past. Very nice touch and I’m sure probably helps cut down on the crowd noise. I can imagine this place really hopping when there is a game in town.
The staff was very friendly and we were immediately seated at a nice booth. A bar occupies the center of the main room, in an “L” shape with a plentitude of taps (they also have cocktails and other beers in addition to their own). A good sized flat screen TV showed the Olympics. For our first beers, I got the Apricot Wheat and husband got the Hefeweizen. The Apricot Wheat had a strong scent of the stone fruit but not sweet. Definitely one of the best I’ve had of this type. The hefeweizen was good but not exceptional. If you like the type, you’ll like this.
We both ordered sandwiches but everything on the menu looks tasty. Otto’s is very committed to local sourcing, which in PA, gets you a lot of variety. I got a daily special, a jalepeno burger, which looked to have both jalepenos and green chilis. It also had thick cut bacon (which I could easily bite through!) and a smoked cheddar. The burger was one of the rare ones that was actually juicy and cooked through with no pink squishiness in the center. I will happily eat steak tartar and carapaccio, but when I want a burger I want it with some good browning on the outside. We cook our burgers at home out of 73/27 burger which has enough fat in it to keep it juicy and have it well grilled. I got the hand cut fries with it.
Husband got the beef on wick, a riff on the western NY “beef on weck”, ultra thinly sliced smoked beef brisket on a bun topped with caraway and coarse salt, horseradish sauce, and a bit of au jus on the side. Always curious on how one is supposed to wedge a fat bun into a little ramekin, but after taking a bite, you can get a corner in. He got the sweet potato fries, one of the best versions of those I’ve seen, cut in the rippled shape so there are lots of crispy edges. They did resemble caterpillars though, very scrumptious caterpillars. 🙂 Husband also got a second beer, their Spruce Creek Lager, which has a very nice hoppy floral hit but little bitterness.
I would have liked to have tried more of their beers but here’s to my husband getting hired and me having all the time I want to sample.