Antifragile Brewing opened in April 2022 at 324 E Calder Way in downtown State College.
Co-owners John Schaffer and Lisa Harpster own Moody Culture Kombucha (which opened in the summer of 2017) and decided a brewery was the missing piece at the location.
We recently spoke with John and Lisa to talk about both kombucha and craft beer, and learn more about their operation in State College.
John: It’s based on a book we both read from Nassim Taleb called Antifragile. It changed a lot about how I think and make decisions.
Lisa: It’s about how you gain from disorder and volatility. Being a small brewery it plays into the Antifragile brewing concept, we have options we can pivot quickly. Covid woke us up and made us rethink how to build a brewery model. Our logo is the hydra from Greek Mythology, when one head is cut off, two grow in its place, so it ends up getting stronger with hardship.
John: I’ve always been a high craft beer enthusiast, and managed a bar in Avalon and bartended in college and grad school. It’s always something that I considered and now is the right time to do it. I went on a beer trip to Vermont and a lot of Kombucha was on tap too. We started exploring the idea of building a brewery back in 2018, then Covid hit, changing a lot of our plans.
Lisa: I used to waitress and bartend and have always enjoyed the experience of it. I love craft beer as well but equally was excited to create a space that was community-centered and driven. I love to do design and marketing. I did it for Moody Culture, and the thought of adding craft beer and designing and developing a culture around the space was exciting.
John & Lisa: It’s a broad list of what we will make. There will be some IPAs, stouts, porters, and lagers. We love Belgian and German-style beers so we plan to have a Dunkel, a Belgian table beer, and many others.
John & Lisa: We opened in a 1,700 sq/ft building that was the former location of Pablo’s Chicken and Barranquero Café. We both bartended in the past and we designed the space to be open which gives us a lot of space to accommodate guests. There are about 26 seats, and the cool thing with this space is that it provides the brewery and taproom, but also a great upstairs lounge area for extra seating. It gives a “living room-Esque” feel and adds about 12 more seats.
We brew on a 1BBL brewhouse and have 12 two-barrel tanks. At the bar, we have primarily beer on tap, with about 9 of the 12 taps pouring beer. The other few are a mix of hard kombucha and non-alcoholic kombucha. Kombucha is available in cans, and our beer will also be soon within the next month.
Our bar also carries PA-made spirits, and to be able to have cocktails for non-beer drinkers is important to us. We wanted to create a space where we wanted to hang out in. Quality beverages are important to us, no matter what type of alcohol they are, so we wanted to provide people an experience where they can grab a cocktail/beer anything and enjoy.
John & Lisa: We offer cans currently and may do some crowlers down the road. We have Gosling canners, one for kombucha and one for beer. The cans we offer for kombucha are 12oz, and the beer cans are 16oz.
John & Lisa: Currently we serve gourmet popcorn. We encourage outside food, and there are a lot of great restaurants nearby to order in or BYOF.
John & Lisa: We created a space that we want to hang out in and are creating beverages that we want to drink. The biggest thing we are focused on is quality. Our brewer Paulo has free reign on what he brews, and no limitation on cost or ingredients. If we brew a beer and it’s not up to par, we are not afraid to dump it!
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