Home Brewed

Axemann Brewery has tapped numerous alumni to create a burgeoning beer brand.

closeup of a glass Axemann beer stein being filled under a tap, courtesy


Rod Stahl started home brewing beer in the 1990s, but it wasn’t until he and his wife, Dorothea, moved a few years ago into a house in Boalsburg that had a barn in the backyard—where he and co-workers at his engineering firm began to brew larger batches—that he began to consider the possibility of doing more with the hobby.

When a former Penn State professor put Stahl ’90 Eng in touch with the new owners of Titan Energy Park, the site of a former metal factory in Bellefonte, Axemann Brewery was born. Stahl and partner Stephen Hirlinger ’13 Eng began producing beer and distributing it to local stores in February 2020, and by the end of that summer, they had opened the brewery.

Within its first year, Axemann had 14 styles of beer available, including Blue Stripe, an easy-drinking German Kölsch popular at tailgates. “One of the frequent comments we get is that our beer styles are true to the origin of those styles,” Stahl says. The brewery, which has distribution partners in all but a handful of counties in Pennsylvania, started making hard cider last year, and it plans to reprise a bourbon barrel-aged beer that was well received two years ago. Stahl is optimistic that a taproom location in Selinsgrove will open this spring as well.

The majority of Axemann’s staff, which includes about a half-dozen full-time employees and twice that many part-timers, are Penn State alums or university employees, including head brewer Joe Jaglowski ’15 Lib. “I think we are about as Penn State as you can get,” Stahl says.