Charlie Schnable had a passion for beer since his college days, when he brewed his own concoctions in his closet. He was inspired by the brewpubs he saw in Seattle and decided to open his own in his hometown of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. He called it The Bullfrog Brewery, and it was a success. But Charlie had bigger dreams. He wanted to bring his beer to State College, where he had graduated from Penn State. He initially planned to open a brewery downtown, but he faced some legal obstacles due to the proximity of churches. He didn’t want to fight that battle, so he found a spot on North Atherton instead, and started working on what would become Otto’s Pub and Brewery. He opened it in 2002, and it was an instant hit. People loved the food, the beer, and the atmosphere. They could see the brewing area from their seats, and sometimes they would meet Otto, Charlie’s cat and the brewery’s namesake. Charlie was grateful for their support, and he wanted to give them more. He moved to a new and bigger location in 2010, with more parking, more seating, and new services. He celebrated his fifteenth anniversary in 2017, and he’s looking forward to his twentieth in 2022. He’s proud of his brewing history, and he’s happy to share it with his fantastic and faithful fans. Otto’s is more than just a pub and brewery. It’s a family.
Charlie has always been creative and adventurous with his beer recipes. He has hundreds of them, all handwritten and intentionally named. He named them after things that mattered to him, like his daughters, the local streams, and his favorite pirate. He also named one after Otto’s Little Hellcats, a group of baby girls born to Otto’s staff within months of each other in 2004-ish. He learned to love different beer styles at Zeno’s, a local bar where he spent a lot of his college years. He has kept up with the changing tastes of beer lovers, from light lagers to hoppy IPAs. He enjoys the satisfaction of taking raw ingredients and turning them into great products. He likens the brewing process to cooking, and he loves to create things.
Charlie has also expanded his craft beverage business over the years. In 2015, he and his co-owner Roger Garthwaite opened Barrel 21 Distillery and Dining, a sister location to Otto’s that offers spirits and cocktails, as well as food and beer. Charlie values other local businesses and sources as much as he can locally, whether it’s hamburgers or bourbon. He’s always looking for ways to improve his products and services, and to make his customers happy. He’s not just a brewer, he’s a visionary.