Craft Beer Spotlight: Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub

The hamburger and pint of beer combo are an institution that has stood the test of time. We all have our favorite local pubs and restaurants that we flock to when the urge to crush a delicious burger and beer strike us. Some of these joints incorporate burger challenges and are known only to locals, fewer yet to regional visitors, and even less have the distinction of actually claiming to be World Famous. Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub would be one of those spots.

Located roughly an hour outside of State College just off of Interstate 80 in Clearfield, PA, Denny’s has been cranking out burgers of all sizes since it’s inception in September of 1977. Owner Denny Liegey started the business with the goal of making massive hamburgers to attract attention to their impressive menu and to create a fun atmosphere that would make patrons from across the country want to return.

It all started out so much smaller than what it has grown to be today. The initial restaurant was a mere 600 sq feet and had just 3 taps for beer. About those burger challenges… there’s a good chance that you’ve never encountered anything quite like them! The first challenge was a 2lb burger with homemade buns that were literally baked in a coffee can. As the pub grew over the years, so did the challenges. As of right now, the restaurant goes through roughly 1,500lbs of beef per week.

Some of the burgers are actual challenges that if completed in the allotted time, get you prizes, t-shirts, they’ll buy your meal, and potentially be put in the pub’s Hall of Fame. A few of them are so big that they require a notice of anywhere from 24 to 72 hours to prepare! A few examples are:

  • The Pub Challenger: the original two-pound burger challenge.
  • THE Ye Olde 96er: The six-pound challenger! Three-hour time limit to complete
  • Beer Barrel Belly Buster: FIFTEEN POUNDS! Single or two-person challenge.
  • Lastly, the Beer Barrel Belly Bruiser and the Beer Barrel Main Event Burger, 50+ pounds, and 100+ pounds each!!!

Doing burgers this crazy for this long is going to get you a loyal patronage, and eventually national attention. Denny’s has been featured on these national TV shows: The Late Show with David Letterman, Rachel Ray, The Food Network, The Travel Channel, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and countless others.

More so than their national attention for their burgers, Denny’s should be commended for what they do within the local community. They work doing charitable events, and giving donations to the local Clearfield Food Bank, and the PA Chapter of Wounded Warriors.

Not to be lost in all of the attention given to burgers and their menu in general, is what Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub has done for craft beer in the area. Never one to shy away from a new beer, or craft in general, Denny Sr. has been a supporter of craft beer since becoming available in Central Pennsylvania decades ago. In 41 years the beer selection has gone from 3 offerings to 40. Very much a family-run business, Denny Jr. has taken over the reigns for most of the beer buying these days. There has always been a strong focus on local and Pennsylvania breweries from the beginning, and you see that still today through Denny Jr’s guiding hand. You can almost always find a Neshaminy Creek offering to go with the burger of your choosing.

Whether you make it a point to take a special trip to Clearfield for one of the burger challenges, or you find yourself traveling on I-80 across the state with a need to refuel and unwind, hit up this long-standing pub. Ever the conversationalist, make sure you chat with Denny Sr while in town! Travelers, beer lovers, and foodies alike are all welcomed with open arms.

NCBC is proud to be one of eight PA breweries participating in a TAP TAKEOVER at Denny’s THIS FRIDAY, AUGUST 10th! We hope to see you there!

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