Hear Ye! Hear Ye!….Craft Beer is Deemed Essential…
We here in the First Frontier have known this to be unequivocally true for generations and if there is any doubt just scroll through our Facebook posts and for more proof click on some of the people who follow us and your will see for yourself. Even though we knew it, it was great to see the government justify our in-depth research when breweries were deemed “essential manufacturers” during this pandemic.
In these difficult days one thing that is beyond question is that we all deserve a cold beer and there is no group better than craft brewers to bring a little levity to our lives right now…and a delicious variety of beers and ciders! Since its inception in the late 1970s, the American craft brewing industry has persisted with its boundless imagination and willful collaboration…two things we can all use right now.
Our First Frontier forefathers (and foremothers) knew what truly hard times were while laying the foundation for our mountain town communities we enjoy today….and at the end of a hard day they enjoyed a beer (you can ask my great grandma about her great grandma if you don’t believe me). While we have been enjoying beer for centuries here, the first licensed brewery was not until 1850 when the C. Gretten Brewery opened in Tyrone.
There is not a lot of information on the oldest brewery in Blair County, but we do have details on the second oldest brewery, the George Enzbrenner Brewery founded in 1852. George Enzbrenner was born 1815 in the kingdom of Bavaria in the southern portion of Germany. He served as an apprentice at a brewery in Bavaria during his youth and in 1849 landed in New York City and settled in Hollidaysburg originally then moving to Altoona. George took his knowledge from Bavaria and opened his brewery that passed to his son who eventually changed the name to Empire Brewery.
During George Enzbrenner’s time of the late 1800’s Blair County was home to 14 licensed breweries and we know George would be proud that our current stock of 7 craft brewers are working hard to continuing to serve us right now. Below we have provided some information on how you can buy local and Support Your Local Brewery…like your forefathers (and foremothers) would have wanted you to.
- Marzoni’s Brewing Co. is Blair County’s oldest operating craft brewer opening in 2003. Marzoni’s offers a variety of signature year-round beers and a large variety of seasonal and “brewer’s choice” offerings along with a robust food menu. During the pandemic Marzoni’s food and beer sales were stopped, but starting soon they will be making both available for curbside pick-up. Beer will be in bottles and growler fills, to keep up to date visit their Facebook Page or Website
- Railroad City Brewing Co. founded in 2013 was the first brewery in the City of Altoona since the 1970’s and quickly became a go-to hangout on 11th Avenue embodying the feel of modern brewpubs and great beer. The beer is available in single and 4-pack cans for purchase at JJ Hadley’s (see below). For all things RRC visit their Facebook Page
- JJ Hadley & Co. Brewers opened in 2018 is a combination of wood fired pizza and craft beer. The food is from a master in Neapolitan pizza and made in a custom oven shipped from Naples where the owner learned the trade. The craft brewed beers, ciders and seltzers offer a variety of choices for every palate. Their pizza and craft beverages (available in cans) are available for curbside pickup and to order visit their Facebook Page and the link to order is at the top.
- Chimney Rocks Brewing Co. opened in 2019 inside of TK Subs and Six Packs in Historic Hollidaysburg. The brewery offers a steady supply of 4 rotating signature beers and is offering growler fills only during this time. To find out their current offerings visit their Facebook Page.
- Iron Pint Brewery opened for its first beer sales on April 24, 2020…during the pandemic and sold out of everything within hours. The brewery is ready to officially open once the current sanctions are lifted, but in the meantime you can join their Pub Club and they will be offering growler and bottle sales until they open. Find out all details on their Facebook Page.
- Spring Dam Brewing Co. is the first brewery that will open in the once “dry” borough of Roaring Spring in its entire history. Once open the space will include a coffee shop, brewery and speak-easy club for members only. Keep up to date on their opening information, any beer sales and to join their exclusive club on their Facebook Page
- Levity Brewing Company has been making amazing craft beer in Indiana, PA for years inside of an unique facility and now they are bringing all of that goodness to Altoona. Starting last week and for every week until the sanctions are lifted the guys at Levity and packing up the van on Thursdays making deliveries to their down-mountain supporters. To find out more about the beers and delivery orders visit their Facebook Page or Website
How are we going to get through this…the same way the friends at our local craft breweries throughout history always have…with creativity, ingenuity, hard work, fun, a focus on our neighbors in our community, great friends, great beer……and a lot of cleaning solution.