Centre's largest brewery slated for September opening

BELLEFONTE A new brewery is working on licensing applications, rezoning requests and renovations in order to open their new location in the old Cerro Metal Plant.

Axemann Brewery is owned by Rodney Stahl of Boalsburg and will occupy over 20,000-square-feet of the former plant. Currently called Titan Park and owned by Navitus LLC, a corporate partnership between Shaner Capital and G.M. McCrossin, Inc., plans for the property call for a zoning change from heavy industrial to highway mixed use. The new designation would allow manufacturing, but will also "allow things like a microbrewery, and potentially things like coffee roasters, restaurants and office space," said site manager Joe Leahey.

This was all just an idea until the right opportunity came along, said Stahl. Initial plans called for a production brewery, but with a new Pennsylvania law that allows breweries to serve open pints, it made a lot of sense to have a taproom too, he said.

Now Stahl is in the process of becoming a commercial brewer and is working with Hoffman Leakey Architects to design the new brewery, expected to be the largest in the Centre region.

The conversion from factory to brewery will take a lot of work, but Stahl feels it will be worth the effort.

"You could not build something like this today," he said, referring to the high-quality stream located at the base of the building's foundation. It provides a mix of industrial feel and a pure environmental setting, he said.

Plans for the brewery include indoor seating along with outdoor seating overlooking the stream, and room for outdoor games like cornhole and shuffleboard. A second story will be used for private events and will include an outdoor deck. The taproom itself will be themed around the history of the building and the significance of water in Bellefonte.

Although separate from the brewery, Stahl expects to have a food vendor on-property, available to brewery-goers and the general public.

As far as beer goes, the flagship will be Stahl's own Blue Stripe brand, described as "an easy-drinking pilsner, German Kolsch-style beer." Cans and kegs will be available for take-out, along with Pennsylvania-produced wines and spirits. He's also considering becoming a contract brewer for brands that need more production space than their own facilities provide.

The project has seen support from not only local officials like State Rep. Kerry Benninghoff and Sen. Jake Corman, but from Spring Township itself, said Leahey.

The brewery could be open as early as September 1.

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