Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks

Not Rated.
Elk Creek Cafe + AleworksElk Creek Cafe + Aleworks
BEER AVG
3.98/5
Based on:
23 Beers
88 Reviews
Place Score: 91
Reviews: 23
Visits: 33
rAvg: 4.1
pDev: n/a
Taps: 8
Bottles: --
Cask: Y
Beer-to-Go: Y
[ Brewery, Bar, Eatery ]

100 W. Main St.
Millheim, Pennsylvania, 16854
United States
phone: (814) 349-8850

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
Place added by: BeerAdvocate on 12-26-2007

No notes at this time.
Place: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 23 | Visits: 33
Reviews by woodychandler:
Photo of woodychandler
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Transcribed from notes dated Su, 28 Nov 2010.

Located right on the northwest corner of W Main and Penn Streets, the east wall had a mural detailing the borough. The front, running along Main Street, had two recessed doorways, but the east doorway was the one that opened onto the long, "L"-shaped blonde and brown wood bar to the immediate right. I really liked the intermingling of blonde and light-brown wood, especially pertaining to the back bar which incorporated shelves for glassware and wine as well as mirrors. The interior west wall was adorned with Nancy Cleaver artwork, all themed around the concept of "Peace". Amen, sister. A raised table for six was just inside the door, overlooking the corner. I'd bring Lew Bryson, Mark Haynie and three other heavily-bearded guys to really wow the looky-loos. Or better yet, bring our wives/girlfriends to offset the testosterone. My Old Lady would dig it.

The space was obviously two separate buildings whose wall was partially removed at one point to allow for a sea of blonde wood tables and dark wood chairs interspersed with high tables and chairs. I was seated in one of the sturdy wrought-iron and wood Captain's chairs at the bar. I would be utterly remiss if I did not mention the blackboards throughout, all written on with colored chalk. Note to self: upgrade to sidewalk chalk as well as Prismacolor Nupastels. I also want to point out the (relatively) small, slightly rasied stage against the center/west wall for live music on weekends. The soft shades of yellow throughout the interior make this a good place to hang out on a warm, sunny day. They also had a separate dining facility for private functions.

Food: I was in for their Sunday brunch and I opted for the salmon, caper and Fontina cheese frittata. When McDonald's begins to serve anything involving salmon, I will begin to entertain them as a breakfast option.

Beer: Winkleblink Ale; Great Blue Heron PA; Elk Creek Copper; Brookie Brown; Poe Paddy Porter; Double Rainbow IPA and Willy's Wee Heavy (a 90-shilling Scotch Ale on N2). Hoo hoo!
There was one cask engine, but nothing was going during my visit as they had just kicked an East India Pale ale, made with locally grown fresh hops. My loss. The bar used six different wooden tap handles for each of their flagship beers. They also sold growlers for those that have to have some for takeaway. (2,383 characters)

More User Reviews:
Photo of Uniobrew31
4.31/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Photo of ryanpgh
2.13/5  rDev -48%
vibe: 1 | quality: 3.5 | service: 1 | selection: 2.5 | food: 1

This past weekend, one of my best friends (Chad) and I embarked on a great fly fishing/craft beer tour of central PA. I'm from the Pittsburgh area and although Chad also grew up around Pittsburgh, he now works for the Navy in Arlington, VA as well as does part-time work with a local VA micro-brewery. We fished some of the best limestone streams PA has to offer. and enjoyed some great beers from Otto's and Happy Valley Brewing. On our last day, we fished what is regarded as the crown jewel of PA, Penns Creek. Since its just a stone's throw from Millheim, we made it a point to fish until dark, but made sure to save enough time to cap our trip off at Millheim's own Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks. We had a blast at Penns Creek, catching trout on dry flies on some of the best water he and I had ever fished in our lives. However we had made it a point, to get out of the water with enough time to stop at the cafe to end our journey with some brews from Elk Creek. We arrived at the cafe at 10:20pm, knowing the place closed at 11pm. This would give us time to sample a few beers and take in the small-town atmosphere for the better part of an hour. As we approached the door, we were met by a man who told us they were closing up. He said the taps were "turned off" (as a man with a home draft system, i'm not sure how you turn off a tap system) and that we couldn't enter the bar. As he blocked us from entry we pointed to the sign on the door which clearly showed the bar was to be open until 11pm. When Chad asked, "Why does the sign say 11?" the man could only simply say, "well not tonight, we're closing up." I can't tell you how disappointed the two of us were by this poorly managed decision. While I was upset, it didn't come close to the disappointment Chad felt. As a bartender at a micro-brewery himself, he knows that if you're going to run an establishment the way it should be, you stay open until you're supposed to be. It wasn't 10:55pm, it was 10:20pm. That's a big difference, and on a Saturday night to boot. It really put a damper on what was an otherwise amazing fishing/craft beer weekend. I'm not sure if the man who turned us away was the owner, manager, or otherwise, but I hope he understands what a poor business decision he made and I encourage anyone who may be in the area looking to make a stop to realize the hours are far from what they appear to be on paper. I didn't give this review 1 star because we did manage to go to another establishment a few doors down which did have several Elk Creek beers on tap. Reluctantly, I gave in and tried the Brown Ale and enjoyed it, however Chad wouldn't give it the time of day because of our experience at the actual brewery, and as reflect on it, I wish I hadn't either. In the growing world of craft brewing, small places like this should appreciate all of our business, as we'd rather give it to them than the domestic corporate America. I like to support local brewing and local business and as a Penn State Alum, I was saddened by being un-thoughtfully turned away at the door. In hind sight, we wish we had just fished in our head-lamps for that 40 minutes as other die-hard Penns Creek anglers do. But instead we wanted to cap our weekend with local beer at a local business making local brews. We won't make that decision next time. You blew it Elk Creek. Bad business. (3,384 characters)

Photo of crowsnest
4.14/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Photo of slasich
3.85/5  rDev -6.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.75

Photo of whojim
4.5/5  rDev +9.8%

Photo of Gravesnyper
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of Anyportinastorm
5/5  rDev +22%

Photo of JKWBMH
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of b_packer
4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4

A great brewpub in the mountains of central pa. Brews are primarily english style ales. Six main beers always on tap with two rotating handles they use for seasonal/speciality brews. Best offering would have to be the Poe Valley Porter or Double Rainbow . When in season spring/summer elk creek takes advantage of their location and uses local ingredients from nearby farms and purveyors in their beer and food. What I enjoy the most about Elk Creek is that they keep things simple. There is no extreme or outlandish beers, just easy drinking ales that they do well. Only drawback about this place is no TV so don't plan on having a beer and watching the game. Its prolly a good thing they don't have a tv because you would never leave. If you want to experience a local friendly place with a sociable atmosphere then this the place. Well done Elk Creek. (854 characters)

Photo of JMB71
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%

Photo of Pothagerous
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of jdaddy
4/5  rDev -2.4%

Photo of orangesol
4.18/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 5

Stopped in here yesterday for brunch after leaving Campground Brewdown. My first time visiting but I have always heard great things.

The space is very nice, lots of tables and a decent sized bar. It was packed with lots of happy people eating and drinking the entire time we where there. Quality seemed to be high. My food was top notch, as were the beers. Our service left a lot to be desired. Our server was great...when she was around. We had to flag her down multiple times and she forgot a few beers had been ordered, twice.

Selection was pretty good. They had eight of their regular beers on with three extra ones, including the ESB on cask. I got a DIPA and it was decent. Food was definitely the star of the show. We where there for brunch so I went with the blue cornmeal blueberry pancakes and they were great. I checked the rest of the menu and I saw quite a few things I would love to try.

Overall a great little place that I will definitely return to when I am in the area. (989 characters)

Photo of tgbljb
4.63/5  rDev +12.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Arrived for lunch a little after noon on a rainy Saturday. We were promptly seated, and our waitress soon arrived to take our drink order. I selected the beer on cask and was very pleased with my selection. My wife and I selected a sandwich from the menu which was served in a timely fashion. The food was delicious and the portions were adequate without being overly filling. I wanted to purchase a growler and our waitress gave me several samples before I made my selection. An excellent place to stop if you are in the area. Good people, good beer, good food. The perfect combination. (587 characters)

Photo of OneDropSoup
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Decided to trek up here for Father's Day. It was a beautiful day, & the drive up through Central PA was a great prelude for the visit.

On finding the place, I was charmed by the quaint, small isolated town vibe of Millheim. Also impressed that the place had enough of a reputation to support itself in a fairly removed environment, though I guess Lewisburg & State College are close enough to send some of its citizens. The place was fairly busy on this pretty Sunday afternoon, but we were seated right away on the stage.

The front room is nice, open, & naturally lit by the two big front windows, with a nice long at the opposite side of the stage. I can see it making a cool music venue in the evening, & there were plenty of posters for upcoming acts hanging around.

It took a little bit for a server to come check us out, but that gave us a chance to pore over the menu & beer list. Some good-looking menu items - this was brunch, so I went with a salmon, caper, & cream cheese frittata that looked great. Too bad for my dad that they were out of the walleye, so he opted for a burger.

I wasn't really blown away by the selection: pretty typical brewpub offerings - copper/amber, brown, porter, pale, IPA - & at first was a little disappointed that they didn't seem to have any real adventurous brews on tap. Nonetheless, I got a sample of each, & after discovering how good they were, realized that they don't need any "big" beers. The pilsner & copper ale were great! And who gets excited about a copper ale? The pale ale was also very good. The dark beers seemed to be a little off, maybe slightly oxidized, but still not bad. For "little" beers, they definitely satisfied.

After a bit, the owner came by, introducing himself by commenting on my Sharp Edge T-shirt ("That's a dangerous place."). We chatted about beer & Pittsburgh for a few minutes, really friendly guy. I love seeing a proprietor that really engages the customer like that. Our server was also happy to talk about the beer - she was also a fan of the pils.

The food was great, too, & I was happy to see some veggie options on the menu. Pretty decent price for everything.

I'd read up on Elk Creek in a few books before checking it out (Pennsylvania Breweries, Going Local), & they all mentioned the sustainability & quality of the food & the outgoing, warm nature of Tim, the owner, as well as being struck that a small town could support such a quality place. It was a great feeling having those expectations met. Great place, great experience, I'd love to make it back. (2,554 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Visited this small town on a Saturday afternoon in late August. A very open, friendly-looking place with lots of open space, wood-based furniture, and bright sunlight streaming through the windows. Everything looked very new, except for the floor, I believe. There were ~8 beers on tap. Between me and my boyfriend, we tried the IPA, IIPA, Pale ale, Porter, and Pilsener, and all were quite good. The food menu has lots of vegan and local/organic options and whatever I tried (I think it was a turkey sandwich, can't quite remember) was very good. While we were there a band was setting up to play although we left before they actually played. Overall, it was a great chill place to relax and enjoy a brew and I wish I'd stayed longer. It looks like their tap list has a bit of rotation, so I'm sure I'll be back. (813 characters)

Photo of PhilfromPA
3.75/5  rDev -8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3 | selection: 4 | food: 4

A small group of us stopped in mid afternoon on a weekend, apparently they were setting up for an acoustic band to play and as we entered we were told we had 45 minutes before we had to vacate our table. We promptly ordered our food and chose among a nice selection of beers. I got the Poe Paddy porter, and an IPA, both I enjoyed very much. The food was also good and overall the prices were reasonable. The service was the only thing that I wasn't impressed with but maybe it was an off day for our waitress. (510 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

If you are looking for directions to this place-the website reads "On PA 45 at THE traffic light in Millhiem"- That should give you an idea of where this place is. Its situated in a small town the middle of the Appalachian ridges in PA and really isn't far from State College PA-plus the drive is magnificant. Geographically- not far from I-80 and between State College and 2 of the most note-worthy brewpubs in PA (Bullfrog and Selinsgrove). This is also a must stop.

Its a small brewpub with a dining area an bar as well as an area for live bands to play. We were there around lunch time-so it was prettty quiet. The menu is small-but the food is excellent.

The beer is also VERY good and noteworthy. They have a regular selection plus 1-2 special beers. I had the Poe Paddy porter-fantastic and always available and on of their IPAs-which was also excellent. We were very happy we stopped here and it will be worth your time if you do too! (945 characters)

Photo of blackie
4/5  rDev -2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

The drive from State College to Millheim runs about 30 minutes through rolling valley farmland. The town itself is reason for a visit, a one-stoplight deal with a creek running around the periphery and one of the coolest Victorian houses I've seen.

Elk Creek has an open and airy vibe - big storefront windows look out onto the intersection, and golden yellow walls create a sunny feeling even at night. Equally vibrant paintings and a couple chalkboards with current beers and specials hang from the walls.

Plenty here to choose from - two seasonals, a bitter and an oatmeal stout on nitro, and I believe six regulars - mostly standard styles and nothing higher than 7.5 percent. The Poe Paddy Porter was very good. The Double Rainbow IPA has a name that may mislead some - far from a dipa, it's more a stronger, balanced English version - and actually named after a meteorological phenomenon spotted on the brew day of this beer.

The menu has some pretty enticing selections, and it appears they make use of local meats where possible. Unfortunately the rotating vegan entree was very disappointing - a handful of soba noodles atop a pretty bland lettuce blend, a few slices of radish, and soy dressing; that's not an entree - that's a salad. Kinda expected a better attempt at a vegan/veg option from a place that puts out such an earthy vibe, but this is rural PA. I'll definitely return once this dietary phase of mine is over - the burger and fries looked awesome.

No real problems with service - the bartender a little slow to recognize me at the bar, but was pretty timely afterward. Not particularly warm or friendly, but they got the job done, and it was an atypical night so they deserve some slack.

Not the best night to visit - a literal busload of people (the "Magic Schoolbus"), presumably from State College, poured in just after me. Got a bit loud and it was somewhat annoying dealing with a flow of orders over my shoulder, but nothing to get upset about. The featured bands weren't anything special - pretty benign at least. (2,051 characters)

Photo of slander
4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

2 hours late out of Maryland put me in the rain for hours up I-99 and rush hour in State College, but then it dropped off to quiet quickly out the other side, fields of way out nowhere and then I started seeing these yellow signs depicting a little horse & buggy. Figured it's an Amish alert but then thought, perhaps it warns of the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Here we are children, come and get your lollipops, treacle tarts, ice-cream... all freee today!) And then a single traffic light, Millheim; a pin drop quiet rainy lovely Autumn smelling town...

And they are open, which doesn't sound like much to you but I hoofed it out here once before on a Sunday, and, well anyway, they're open. It's a cool cool cool little place in 2 store fronts attached, brick with large glass front windows and blue trim. Inside, an "L" shaped wood bar; light paneled, dark trim base & laminate top with a lip and seating 13 off to the right. The barback counter space holds some stacked glassware to both sides of a stainless steel tower of 8, and matching cupboards below. A mirror with a framed b/w drawing of a pint glass on center of the unit, bottles of wine to each side, and framed box racks of glassware on the ends. Expanding out some, a tiered staircase piece with glassware & growlers to one side, and a wall rack to the other, split with more shelved glassware on one side, and vertical shorty shelves with rows & rows of wine on its side. A horizontal blackboard above lists tap selections in chalk colored. T shirts for sales up there and some slight artwork. A larger blackboard forward the bar listing the food specials, with Crick Fest tankards lining the top.

Settled in off the corner of the bar and took in a sampler, which gets you everything; 6 regular offerings (Winkleblink Ale, malted barley flavor, strangely unexplainable; Great Blue Heron Pale Ale, good hoppiness, blonde in color, nicely balanced; Brookie Brown Ale, chocolatey enough and quaffable, yes; Double Rainbow IPA, 7.5%, Fuggles, assertively hopped; Elk Creek Copper Ale, a deep rust color, caramel flavors & a good hoppiness; Poe Daddy Porter, just chocolatey licorice love), and a pair of seasonals (Crick Fest Beer, pleasant Marzen maltiness, nice copper color; Penn Valley Pils, good clean pils, nice malt flavors). Great Blue Heron Pale Ale, Brookie Brown Ale, Poe Paddy Porter & Crick Fest Beer were the bestest. And very modestly priced, no less; shortys for $2.25, pints for $3.50, samplers for $8 and pitchers for $12. A single handpump sits sunken off the corner, nothing up just now as it's only live in the Winter months and it ain't then now.

Bowls of soy nuts on the bar for all to enjoy. Do you see the spoons accompanying? Try using them, you filthy animal. And yes, I too was wondering what the Salmon feature is; sadly it's some sort of salad, so I opted for the shrimp & pork gumbo, which was excellent and would be perfect with the porter in January.

The sampler holding my space barside, I am free to take a beer or two from and stray to take in the room some. It's a spacious place, this old hardware store gone brewpub reborn; wide open save a single brick pillar on the center between the rooms. Yellow painted walls with wood trim all around, done up with a big logo piece on the back wall, and some absolutely great artwork throughout otherwise, many of them of the twin mask variety. That one there looking amazingly Piccasoesque, some single verticals with doves of peace, fish with a single eye, the sun, a cross, I'm sure it's for sale and probably pretty pricey. Old vintage slat wood floorings, drop cylinder lamps over the bar, sunken spots behind over the tap board, Chinese paper lanterns up front in the big windows blinded, and track spots throughout.

A good amount of seating, the tables nicely candlelit. In this room, 3 hightop roundies adjacent to the bar bunched and nearly a half dozen 2 seaters beyond. Up front, a single table in a raised space in the windows to one side of the door and a leather on wood slat bench with a coffeetable combo in the other. In the next room, 15 tables, mostly small little ones but a few longer play to both sides of the vestibule door in the big big windows, and a few on a slight raised stage area on the far wall; easily removed when the bands come blues. To the rear, a small room done burgundy walls with some paintings, and a ½ dozen+ tables scattered about.

They play good market ways; from sustainable and local farms & pastures, right down to the recycs & overall waste output. Food was good and well, now I know where Tim's been holding up, we like his beers. Comfortable artsy house, warm & inviting. Lots of work done by the Amish; iron chairs and other local made stuff. Super nice regulars, I'm hanging with the community teacher folks. Good tunes, great vibe, Earthy excellence. I very much so do like this place. At the crossroads of Millheim so absurdly out of the way. I will revisit. (4,979 characters)

Photo of sholland119
4.28/5  rDev +4.4%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

The last new stop on our tour, Elk Creek is located on the main drag in Millheim. There is a moderate-sized bar straight ahead as you walk in and a big open dining room on the left. The dining room was comfortable despite the size.

Nine beers were on tap for our visit. The brews had a decidedly English style except for the "Dunkelbock" offering. Too many miles ahead of us to do a sampler but I enjoyed the Double Rainbow IPA and the Poe Paddy Porter. Other selections included the Winkleblink Ale, Elk Creek Copper Ale and Brookie Brown Ale. As with Otto's, the beer naming motto seems to be, "Better knowledge of PA geography through drinking", which I can certainly get behind.

Food was, as is common in this part of PA, fresh and local and delicious. My burger and garlic fries were excellent. Service was very nice all around. We enjoyed this stop and would stop in more often if not for the 150 mile distance.

HV (923 characters)

Photo of bosco7
4.22/5  rDev +2.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Decided to check this place out after getting some good reviews from my friends.

The ambiance is spartan yet pleasant. The building looks very old and full of character. My date and I were by far the youngest (25 and 23) people there. There was a blues band playing that was entertaining.

The quality of beer was well made and there were plenty to choose from. I think I counted 12 or so on tap. I started with the Double Rainbow IPA, a very nice beer, but I found the name a little misleading (though they had detail descriptions of all the beer). It was a big, floral and highly quaffable English IPA. I think my next beer, the Blue Heron Pale Ale, was my favorite. Very balanced and beautiful hop character. The Duckwalk Dunklebock was very good as well. Very good beer, just don't expect anything to hit you over the head with outrageous amounts of flavor. Their beers are all about balance and subtlety.

I had a burger and I had no complaints, it was perfectly seasoned and cooked. My date had the portabella sandwich and was a little underwhelmed (but I can't recall ever being blown away by a portabella sandwich). Our meal and drinks were quite reasonable, but they did have some classier fare and the prices reflected.

We enjoyed ourselves and were impressed with the beers and food. I imagine we will return soon and will recommend this place to anyone wanting a good and honest ale. (1,401 characters)

Photo of grtboozup
4.38/5  rDev +6.8%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped in for lunch the day after the State College Brew expo as well. As others have said the town is quaint and very small, and the interior of the pub well appointed. The quality of the beer is very good, the copper and kolsch were some of the best out there. Though portions were on the small side, the food was delicious, and included local fare. The owner, Tim, was extremely friendly and accommodating. The only problem was we forgot our growler. I would--and have--recommend this place to anyone. It makes for a lovely day trip. (537 characters)

Photo of beerguzzlerxyz
4.45/5  rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Stopped at Elk Creek on the way home from the SC Brew Expo based on the strong referrals from Mike over at Bavarian Barbarian and some fellow festival-goers.

As the other reviewer put it, it literally is a one stop-light town. The town "center" is made up of very old buildings and storefronts and provides a very comfortable environment. Elk Creek is literally on the NW corner of the main intersection in town, is very easy to find and parking is plentiful.

Inside, it is furnished using a minimalist approach but it is done tastefully with an emphasis on quality.

I visited EC with my wife and we started by sharing a sampler. The sampler contained 8 brews, all of which were really good at a minimum. I was quite surprised by the Winkleblink Ale which is an extremely light toned brew but packs terrific flavor and is quite refreshing. When it came time to order a pint, I had a hard time deciding on which one. I finally settled on the Double Rainbow IPA with the Elk Creek Copper Ale being a close second.

The food menu is short and sweet but everything looked tempting. I finally settled on a breakfast offering of bacon & eggs while my wife selected the Apple salad. One strong suggestion to anyone who visits, if you have the opportunity to order a dish that comes with the potato crumbles, get it. This is the best thing I've ever tasted made with a potato.

I found this a very comfortable place to hang out and kick back. While we were sitting, we had a great view of the intersection which provided us views of the Amish driving by in their buggies as well as the many motorcyclists that were cruising the countryside.

EC makes a special effort of supporting local businesses such as farms for providing required ingredients. This is evident in the quality of the beer and the food.

-Cheers (1,809 characters)

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Elk Creek Cafe + Aleworks in Millheim, PA
91 out of 100 based on 23 ratings.