Marzoni’s Brick Oven and Brewing Company

I departed Pittsburgh Saturday morning for the town of Duncansville (close to Altoona). My sole objective was to visit Marzoni’s Brick Oven and Brewing Company. The Pa. Turnpike was two hours quicker back to home but no microbreweries were along the way.

Note the brick oven.

My, my, Route 22 out of Pittsburgh to Duncansville was a slow ride…three hours of construction, stop lights, and hordes of bikers. I am not sure I have ever seen so many motorcyclists on one road. I have not studied the sociology of bikers…I wonder how it is decided who gets to lead the pack…the Alpha male. Was there some type of bashing of the heads competition to see who came out on top? Does bike size/engine cc. matter? Is age a consideration? The abilities of self-defense? (and offense?). Can a college degree further one’s chances for advancement or is it perceived as a detriment?

Does having your woman on the back of your bike add points? Does your woman’s characteristics factor into the male’s status? Like the tautness of her biceps or quality of boots…feminine, but tough as nails? How does it make the female-less males bikers feel that there is no one gripping them tight? Does it make them feel freer and is it about keeping their options open in case they meet a woman at a fine dining and drinking establishment along the way? Or, do they ride in shame, like an all night girl-less and dance-less boy at the middle school dance?

Questions, questions…I need to work on some names for biker microbrews, Hog-Hopping, Butt-Kicking Bleach Blonde (Ale),  Loud Muffler Lager…

Enough of my motorcycle musings. Not really…I finally pulled into Marzoni’s and was ready for some lunch and a flight of brews.  Sometimes microbreweries can be seen as elitist. A place for example, where the bands of Harley-Davidson bikers, would not pull into for some replenishment and refreshment. Instead, the biker crowd gravitates to the blue collar biker bar, where the cycles are parked like cowboys’ horses outside of a saloon. Beer is cheap, the food is greasier than his shaft drive gear, and the music is hard rock.  Sweet Home Alabama, or Pennsylbama…

In fact, I did not see any bikers at Marzoni’s. Instead, it was a mix of young and old, all quietly eating their meals and some drinking the beers. For microbreweries to really catch on, they are going to have to find a way to appeal to the biker crowd, Joe Six-Pack, and other demographics outside of the white urban male professional, who fancies himself above the hoi polloi. I call him the “pricey watch” dude…where the watch is not primarily about telling time but telling others where he stands in the status food chain. Lord help me if I ever buy anything costlier than a Timex. May He smite me down. Or, if I do buy an expensive watch, that it is actually  finer in a watch-sense for telling time. I had better hedge my pronouncement…this 40/40 deal could lead to fame and fortune…and fancy watches.

Since I was hankering for some grub at Marzoni’s, I ordered the daily special: Buffalo Chicken and Mac and Cheese.

Good golly, this was a meal that could even make a biker weep like a baby it was so delish.

Generally, to keep expenses down, I often bring a sandwich or two on my 40/40 travels and skip the food at microbreweries. Visiting 40 establishments can  add up. About one-third of the time, I will buy something to eat. The Buffalo Chicken was good, the Mac and Cheese was great. I am not sure what Marzoni’s included in its cheese combo for the Mac and Cheese…it surely was not that spooky cheese moondust that Kraft uses. It was probably the best Mac and Cheese I had ever eaten.

Ironically, the shape of the Flight Server was a wheel…

Not sure I would admit this to a band of inquisitive and menacing bikers, but I liked the following the best:

HIGHWAY 22 WHEAT
Our Light-Bodied, Pleasantly Tart, American-Style Wheat ABV 4.7%

Highway 22 Wheat
Light bodied? Sounds like someone who would ride a moped. Pleasantly-tart?…what is this, beer for old lady Key Lime Pie lovers? Yikes. Yet, I had to find a way to make my remembrance of Route 22 more positive. I was hot and the meal was not exactly a good fit for a humid and sultry day…it felt like a bathtub outside. So, the lightness of the beer was compensatory.
Talking about baths and beer, saw this on the way out of the establishment:
Wasn’t sure how I was going to tie together the bath pic and the beer with my story…I found a way. Way to go Marzoni’s…you show that it is possible for smaller establishments to make their own beer and do it well. Now, if you could just put a “Biker’s Welcome” sign up front!

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