Behind the Business
Charlie Schnable, Beer Maker
(a.k.a.) co-owner and head brewer
It’s rumored that Charlie has hundreds of beer recipes (probably hidden in a locked drawer of a mammoth wood desk in some dim-lit and dusty office). All are handwritten and intentionally named. Hellcat for instance, isn’t just a catchy name. It’s a dedication to Otto’s Little Hellcats, all baby girls born to Otto’s staff within months of each other, back in 2004-ish. Red Mo and Black Mo are named after the local Moshannon streams. The Jolly Roger? Take a wild guess… Charlie’s not afraid to experiment with new flavors or search tirelessly for the perfect hops.
Before Otto’s Brewery there was the Bullfrog Brewery and before that, homebrewing. The Bullfrog, located in nearby Williamsport, was a natural extension of Charlie’s passion and talent for homebrewing. After graduating from Penn State and realizing the potential for microbrews in the area, Charlie decided to open a brewery in State College. Otto’s Pub and Brewery opened in 2002 and since then, Charlie’s been refining his recipes and expanding his collection.
Roger Garthwaite, Beer Taster
Roger loves Otto’s. Sure, a little bit of that is because he’s part-owner. Spend five minutes with him though and you’ll find out his affection runs deep: for the kitchen, brewery and serving staff; for Otto’s customers; and for the local community. And it’s plain to see in the way he talks about the creativity and dedication in the kitchen and brewery, and Otto’s commitment to local farmers, organizations, charities, and yes, even the microbrewery community (ask him about the signs hanging from the ceiling).
What Roger loves best is the transformation Otto’s undergoes through the course of a day. The dramatic change from a silent and empty building at 8:00 a.m. to opening for lunch, the lively dinner crowd, and the late-night group. Otto’s isn’t just about going to get something to eat, he says. It’s about going out and having fun with family and friends. For Roger, that’s exactly what Otto’s is about. It’s “sharing your house with folks.”
In the Kitchen
Chris Mohr, Head Chef
As a small child growing up in Slatington PA, Chef Chris Mohr knew what he wanted to do with his life from an early age. Weather it was in his kitchen at home with his mom, grilling with his dad, camping in the Poconos earning his Eagle Scout award, or eventually in a professional kitchen, Chris always took opportunities to learn and become a better cook. He started his professional culinary journey at the age of 15 working in a small fine dining restaurant in the south side of Bethlehem. Since then he has graduated from Penn State as well as the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York and traveled throughout the country honing his craft in Phoenix, Orlando, New York, and now State College. This collection of experiences has molded him into the chef he is today. “There is something to learn every single day. The kitchen is like a new puzzle to figure out each time you walk in the door-there are always new and different pieces that need to fit to complete the picture.” Chris is particularly excited about the great local products associated with the food culture in Central PA and is looking forward to creating new and interesting items for the menu and weekly specials. When not at work, Chris spends time with his wife and daughter hiking, biking, and cooking at home.
In the Brewery
Chris Brugger, Brewer
Chris has been working with Otto’s since early 2010 and prior to that he brewed for almost 10 years at Troegs Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA. Chris was raised in Mechanicsburg, PA but spent his summers visiting his grandparents down the road in Unionville, PA. After high school he joined the Army and headed abroad. This was an eye opening experience for Chris in many ways including enlightening him to the vast world of beer.
When he’s not busy brewing, he spends most of his time outdoors with his chocolate lab Buddy.