A ‘passion project’ a year in the making is now open. What to expect at Voodoo Brewery

A look inside Voodoo Brewery’s State College location

Voodoo Brewery is opening a location in State College with 11 beers on tap and cans and bottles available.
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Voodoo Brewery is opening a location in State College with 11 beers on tap and cans and bottles available.

Voodoo Brewery, set to open its State College location Saturday, isn’t looking to blow customers away with the latest high-definition TVs. Instead, general manager Eric Nartatez said it’s hoping to bring back one-on-one, face-to-face conversations.

The location — 201 Elmwood St. — is the organization’s seventh full-time tavern in Pennsylvania, CEO Matteo Rachocki said. It will operate in the basement of the building that is also occupied by Maine Bay & Berry.

The State College location, which Rachocki described as a “passion project” because of his familial ties to Centre County, was about a year in the making.

“It’s always been on our radar for a spot,” Rachocki said. “It’s a great way to transition to having a brick and mortar operations because we have this kind of mercantile support and assistance in the concept, which I think is going to be very unique and cool for the area.”

Nartatez said the tavern has a “vibey, fun” culture, which features brick floors and a wooden tables. There are about 40 seats inside, with additional seating and a pet-friendly courtyard outside.

“Once we got down here and looked at the whole bottom floor here, it was perfect,” Nartatez said. “We thought it fit the culture of Voodoo Brewery.”

Eric Nartatez sits in the new Voodoo Brewery location in Lemont on Friday. The location will offer all Voodoo beers with 11 taps, bottles and cans. Abby Drey

Bottled and canned beer is expected to be available for takeout, while 11 beers are on tap. Customers can also order Burnt Timbers wine, Nartatez said.

Prospector’s Mount Nittany Rib Company barbecue is expected to be available Saturday because of a one-day partnership between the two companies, Nartatez said.

“I didn’t really know much about Voodoo until my aunt’s friend really brought it up to me and I had tried a few beers. As soon as I had a sip of one of the beers, I was just hooked,” Nartatez said. “At first, I was never an IPA or craft beer kind of person. ... Once I had a few of their beers, I just caught on and I’ve grown to love ‘em.”

The tavern will add to Pennsylvania’s craft beer market, which had the sixth most craft breweries in the nation as of 2017, according to the Brewers Association. That total has increased every year since 2011.

Regular hours are scheduled to be noon to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays through Sundays. The tavern plans to be closed Mondays.

“Every time we do a pub opening it’s very exciting because sometimes we are bringing exclusive pub offerings to a new area that rarely had access to those products before,” Rachocki said. “We love just meeting people and finding out their stories (and) getting involved in community initiatives and projects.”

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Bret Pallotto primarily reports on courts and crime for the Centre Daily Times. He grew up in Lewistown and graduated from Lock Haven University.