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Dented Keg started as a few friends brewing in a basement

Bartender Beverly Bongiorno, of Seven Fields, at the Dented Keg
Bartender Beverly Bongiorno, of Seven Fields, at the Dented Keg at the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township pours one of their brewed in-house craft beers. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle

What started with a few friends brewing in a basement has grown into a small local gastropub chain with the goal of sharing good food, good drinks and a good time.

The Dented Keg at 700 Adams Shoppes in Adams Township is owned by two friends, Matt McCullough and Corey Gibbons. They started small with two other friends before growing the business on their own.

“They started brewing in my brother’s basement sometime in 2016, just doing the small home brewing,” said Travis McCullough, Dented Keg’s head of marketing and Matt’s brother. “The four of them did that for about a year or two and then Matt and Corey decided to kind of branch out.”

The Dented Keg
The Dented Keg in the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle

According to Travis McCullough, his brother and Gibbons have other careers and take care of the back end of the brewing business.

“We have management from the top down, so a general manager, kitchen manager, operations manager, all the way down,” Travis McCullough said. “We all kind of run the day-to-day within our respective roles.”

The Adams Township location opened in 2019 and a second location in Clearfield County opened last October.

When deciding where in Butler County to open their first location, they chose southwestern Butler County because of their desire to fill a hole in the area.

“We noticed that the competition was kind of spread out in Butler County, and so that’s where we landed to try and capture Seven Fields, Mars (and) some of Cranberry,” Travis McCullough said.

While the Clearfield location is almost two-and-a-half hours from Adams Township, McCullough and Gibbons couldn’t miss the opportunity of opening a second location near their hometown of St. Marys.

The Dented Keg
The Dented Keg in the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle

According to Travis McCullough, the Butler County location offers between 18 and 20 hand-crafted beers and ciders while the Clearfield location offers 12. The selection rotates throughout the year with seasonal drinks that temporarily replace a few staples.

“There are multiple ways to brew with many different steps,” Travis McCullough said. “Our beer can take anywhere from 14 to 21 days to be complete from start to finish.”

Some of their current autumn drinks include caramel apple cider, Oktoberfest, pumpkin ale and Adams Family stout. Some of their seasonal cocktails include a pumpkin margarita and a cider hot toddy with whiskey and cider.

According to Travis McCullough, the beers and ciders are sold by the glass, and to-go options in 16 oz cans are available.

Some popular drinks at the Dented Keg include Hazy IPA and Strawberry Rhubarb Cider.

In addition to its beers and ciders, the Dented Keg also offers hard seltzers, wine and cocktails on its drink menu.

The Dented Keg food shines just as bright as the cocktails, with the Cluckin Hot fried chicken sandwich and the Keg Classic Burger as the most popular menu items.

The brewing side is about 40% of the business and the food side is about 60%, according to Travis McCullough.

“We are more restaurant than a brewery, but we identify as a gastropub, so we’re kind of all in one,” he said. “We have a full kitchen so we are able to provide a pretty decent-sized food menu for our customers. A lot of small microbreweries don’t opt to have a kitchen operation so they are typically pulling in food trucks for their food options, so the thing that sets us apart (is that) we’re able to offer the food side of things.”

The Dented Keg has brunch on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with the regular menu starting at 2 p.m. The brunch menu includes a Belgian waffle, spicy chicken and waffles, a French toast sandwich and other customizable breakfast meals.

Brunch cocktails include a mimosa flight with four 5-ounce glasses of Bella Terra Bubbly with orange, pomegranate, cranberry and pineapple juices, a Bloody Mary, a coffeetail with gourmet coffee, bourbon cream, spiced rum, simple syrup and whipped cream that can be enjoyed hot or cold, and more.

The lunch and dinner menu has multiple appetizers, flatbread pizzas, burgers and sandwiches, tacos, salads, desserts and a children’s menu.

Currently, the Dented Keg has food deals for NFL Sundays from 2 to 7 p.m. and drink deals on pale ales, blonde ales and hazy IPAs from 1 to 8 p.m.

In the coming year, the business wants to get back into hosting live music.

“We’ve been kinda cutting back on that because we’re not built out for that, but we are planning to do a few big outdoor parties in the summer where we can utilize our outdoor seating and our parking lot to be able to expand into a larger summer party and bring in live music,” Travis McCullough said. “We’ve been talking about doing maybe two or three of those in 2024.”

Travis McCullough, Gareth Poe, Bailey Campbell, and Derek McCullough,, gather at the Dented Keg
From left, Travis McCullough, marketing manager; Gareth Poe, business operations manager; Bailey Campbell, general manager; and Derek McCullough, brew master, gather at the Dented Keg in the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle
The Dented Keg
The Dented Keg in the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle
Kegs at The Dented Keg
The Dented Keg in the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle
Christmad decorations at The Dented Keg
The Dented Keg in the Adams Shoppes in Adams Township. Chris Leisie/Special to the Eagle

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