Enjoy the libations along the Central Pa. Tasting Trail

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Pennsylvania. Wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries are springing up all over the state, and the State College region is no exception. It turns out that spring is the perfect time to visit them in the Central Pennsylvania area.

During the month of April, 13 businesses on the Central Pennsylvania Tasting Trail will be offering samples and special treats to visitors having Tasting Trail tickets. These tickets can be purchased for $20 at any of the participating venues.

Betsey Howell, who promotes the area, said that all central pa tastingarticipants on the trail are in close proximity, which makes it convenient for guests to spend a day, or more if they choose, learning about boutique beverages. And for those who lack a designated driver, Fullington Transportation Services is available to dispatch a limo upon request.

Visitors traversing the self-guided tasting trail will learn that the offerings are not just limited to wine. “We have cider, craft beer, and spirits ranging from vodkas to whiskies to gin,” said Howell.

Along the way, guests are likely to meet Kevin Lloyd, co-owner of Big Spring Spirits, a boutique distillery housed in a restored match factory. Lloyd’s background in chemistry is well suited to the craft of distilling. Visitors can choose from a variety of potables such as white rum, spiced rum, coconut rum, vodka, gin, and white whiskey.

“We offer signature drinks, spirits by the bottle, and a light menu, like desserts and a charcuterie plate which includes local meats, cheeses, and bread,” said Lloyd, who also features fondue on the “Throwback Thursday” menu.

Cider and beer, too

Those who enjoy hard cider should visit Good Intent Cider located on Potter Street in Bellefonte. “We usually have four varieties of cider on tap at any given time. We also make a beverage called Perry, made from fermented pears, which is popular as well,” said owner Adam Redding. Guests showing “tasting tickets” will receive half off a growler.

Beer aficionados will enjoy the selection offered at Robin Hood Brewery as they sample from among 15 different beers crafted to appeal to a variety of tastes. “For the trail we are giving away a free sample of our beer shampoo and we are offering a $10 gift card for the restaurant if they join the Bow & Arrow Brew Club,” said the brewery’s Kelly Fisher.

Plotting your trip is easy with the maps that are available for downloading online at visitpennstate.org.

Samples and special offers aren’t the only reasons to purchase a tasting trail ticket. Ticket holders can also win prizes for visiting every participating business along the trail. By turning in a fully stamped card, guests gain entry in a raffle for prizes such as concert tickets, bed-and-breakfast stays, and gift baskets. Cards can be submitted at the last business visited.

So, grab some friends, plot your plan of attack, and prepare to raise a toast to spring, in a valley that just got a little happier.

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