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Pennsylvania's Dirty Little Secret: Beer

Mention northern California businesses to a traveler and invariably thoughts of the area's wine regions come to mind. Ask that same person about Pennsylvania businesses and thoughts of steel and railroads might enter the conversation. But, there's more to Pennsylvania's business sector than factories and steel.

Beer has long played a part in Pennsylvania's history. In a time when micro-breweries are popping up all over the country, Pennsylvania's Yuengling Brewery holds the distinction of being the oldest brewery in America. Straub Brewery is the smallest pre-prohibition brewery in the nation. Nearly every large town—and even some smaller towns—has a brewery within its limits. And, except for Latrobe's Rolling Rock, none of the state's breweries mass-produce their beer. The breweries cater to a loyal Pennsylvania following.

There are more than 50 brewing establishments in the state, more than in any state in the country, and many of those are in the brewpub category. Unlike their big brothers, brewpubs cater to the restaurant crowd as well as to lovers of suds. Their locations range from the traditional roadside restaurant to pubs in a small commercial airport, a converted church, factory buildings, and old movie theaters.

So while in northern California you can sip some of the world's greatest wines, in Pennsylvania you can enjoy some suds with history and tour facilities that have been around since before the turn of the 20th century.

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