2015 BEER DISCOVERY TOUR: Tröegs Brewing Company, Hershey, PA (July 1st, Brewery Stop #17) The 17th brewery we stopped at on our cross-country beer discovery tour (click to read about the whole trip) was Tröegs Independent Brewing Company in Hershey, PA. After saying goodbye to our friends Sara and Rusty, we made our way out of Pittsburgh and headded east towards Hershey. The drive was pretty quick and painless, lots of toll roads and turnpikes to get you around the congested areas. The scenery on the drive was pretty spectacular, lots of foot-hills, mountains, trees and beautiful farm-country. Once we got close to Hershey, we discovered that the Tröegs brewing complex is just down the road from the Hershey’s Chocolate amusement park. And yes, it’s like Disneyland for chocolate lovers. We didn’t stop there, but I can imagine that it’s not somewhere a diabetic would want to go.
As shown in the pictures, the tap-room/restaurant is located inside their main production facility. Lots of parking out front, a big entry area with multiple rooms including a swag store, tour room, meeting room, and main tap-room and restaurant area. We did poke around a bit and spent a little time in the store, looking at all the cool stuff they have available for purchase. We did get a couple of things including a hat, to add to the collection. When we made our way to the tap-room, we didn’t realize that the restaurant was like a cafeteria, which I suppose work for what they are doing. Part of the production is visible from this main room, so make sure you look up and around when getting there.
After ordering a full flight of their beers, Devin and I ordered some food, expecting it to be standard bar-fare, but were pleasantly surprised at the quality of what was prepared for us. The menu is a bit of a mix of local and east coast specialties like poutine and burgers. We went with the poutine as one of our choices as we enjoy cheese curds and gravy. When our food was ready, we quickly realized that it was like eating at a fancy restaurant with the quality of food. While you had to go pick it up yourself on a plastic tray and walk around picking up your own silverware, etc., the taste and quality made it worth it.
We started with the first six standard year-round beers and then got the 2nd set of seasonal and special one-offs. The tasters were good size, great quality and represent a strong knowledge of what each beer style attempted should be. The only issue was how good the food was, in distracting us from concentrating on sampling the beers. We all agreed that the Pils and Kölsh they had available were some of the best we’d had up to that point in the road trip.
Overall, I’d highly recommend taking the time to seek out Tröegs beer if you can find it in bottle. I know it’s challenging to find it outside of that region, but it’s well worth it. If you’re ever in the area or passing through, stop by and check out the facility and try their food. You will not be disappointed. As far as the beer goes, best in show went to the Scratch Beer 194 – 2015 (Sour Wheat Ale – Gose) + Strawberry/Rhubarb Syrup.
Tröegs Brewing Co. • German Hefeweizen • IBU: 15 • ABV: 4.8% • 4 SRM
Malt: Malted Wheat (55%), Pilsner, Vienna
Hops: German Northern Brewer
Yeast: German Wheat
Hazy golden hue, solid white head that dropped quickly. Nose has hits of yeast and spices (clove). The front is a bit sharp with the standard hefeweizen style of thin acidic citrus, chewy yeast, pepper and cloves. The mid to back has more of a chalky to cloudy mouth-feel with the bananas and clove expressed more than not.
|Tröegs Pale Ale
Tröegs Brewing Co. • American Pale Ale • IBU: 45 • ABV: 5.4% • 15 SRM
Clear copper color, frothy white head that had some retention on the rim leaving a little bit of spidery lacing. The nose was sweet, somewhat floral and citrus. The front mouth is a sharper hop hit of orange pith, grapefruit, and hints of pine resin. The mid to back has a sweet bread-malt grain presence with is a little dry, hop floral to citrus profile that dances on the tongue. The mouth-feel is mid-bodied has a linger acidic pine character.
|HopBack Amber Ale
Tröegs Brewing Co. • American Amber / Red Ale • IBU: 55 • ABV: 6% • 18 SRM
Malt: Crystal, Munich, Pilsner
Hops: Cascade, Nugget, Willamette
HopBack Hops: Crystal, Nugget
Beautiful clear ruby/amber draft, slight off-white large bubbly foam head that had decent retention. The nose is sweet and malty with slight notes of pine needles. The front mouth is stronger acidic hop notes of citrus and pine. The mid to back body is supported with a generous malt build that has a toasted bread-crust like range. The carbonation is mild and overall one of the best amber’s I’ve had in a long time.
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Doppelbock • IBU: 25 • ABV: 8.2% • 25 SRM
Malt: Chocolate, Munich, Pilsner
Hops: German Northern Brewer, Magnum
Darker amber hue, clear draft with a slight tan-colored foamy head that dropped after a minute. The front nose is sweet breads, roasted grains, some subtle spices. The front mouth has a bit of a chewy mouth-feel with tons of grains and sweet caramel sugars present. The mid to back has a slight spice note to it that covers what hops there are. Overall a great German style Dopplebock.
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Oatmeal Stout • IBU: 60 • ABV: 7.5% • 40+ SRM
Malt: Chocolate, Crystal, Oats, Pilsner, Roast
Hops: Cascade, Chinook, Cluster
Solid opaic black/brown hue draft with a tan solid head. The nose is bitter coffee and notes of cacao. The front mouth is a shot of burned espresso with a little bit of sweet and dry bitters from the coffee profile. Solid bodied on the mid to back with slight dry/burned backend.
Tröegs Brewing Co. • American Double / Imperial IPA • IBU: 80 • ABV: 7.5% • 8 SRM
Malts: Crystal, Munich, Pilsner
Hops: Bravo, Chinook, Mt. Hood
HopBack Hops: Mt. Hood, Nugget
Dry Hops: Cascade, Citra
Hazy straw yellow hue, slight white head that dropped to a sheen quickly. The armoa is that of citrus peel and pine needles. The front to mid mouth is a lot of strong hop-oil bitters, crisp and dry towards the mid-back. The malts are thin-crackery like with a lingering dry grapefruit pith like back.
|Scratch Beer 187 – 2015 (Kölsch)
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Kölsch • IBU: 27 • ABV: 4.7% • 3 SRM
Malt: German Pilsner, Vienna, White Wheat
Hops: German Northern Brewer, Hersbrucker
Bright yellow, slightly cloudy draft with a small head that dropped completely to a sheen. The nose is grassy and citrus based. The front mouth has a ton of dried fruit ranging from grapes, apple, to lemon oils with some dry yeast is expressed on the mid to back. There is a slight acidic note from the citrus hop profile and the cracker-like malts are really secondary.
|Scratch Beer 188 – 2015 (Belgian Style Saison)
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Saison / Farmhouse Ale • IBU: 25 • ABV: 7.2% • 10 SRM
Malt: Honey Malt, Oats, Pilsner, Red Wheat
Hops: German Northern Brewer, Saaz, Saphir
Yeast: French Saison
Slight orange/yellow hue, clear draft with a non-existent head. The nose is yeasty farm-house funk with hints of citrus. The front mouth is solid saison with citrus oils, spices (peppery), and a milder yeast that doesn’t follow the stronger nose. The mid to back mouth-feel is smooth with a nice long-citrus (lemon and orange florals) expressed and a slight dry backing.
|Scratch Beer 194 – 2015 (Sour Wheat Ale – Gose) + Strawberry/Rhubarb Syrup
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Gose • IBU: 10 • ABV: 4% • 6 SRM
Malt: Munich, Pilsner, Wheat
Juju: Coriander, Salt
Cloudy draft with pillowy white head that did linger on the rim some. The nose is sweet, lemony, hints of corriander. The front mouth is surprisingly refreshing with the dry-tartness of the citrus and slight spice being balanced with the sweet fruit syrup that was added. The salt and traditional Gose mouth-feel is there, solid, and juicy on the back.
Tröegs Brewing Co. • German Pilsener • IBU: 45 • ABV: 4.5% • 2 SRM
Hops: Hersbrucker, Saaz
Bright yellow, super clear and clean looking, slight large bubbly lacing but no real head present. The nose is clean and sharp with citrus-floral hops and yeast. The front mouth is really hop forward with fresh cut grass, dried lemon peel, and some slight yeast notes. The mid to back is thin, watery, with a lot of lemon zest.
|Scratch Beer 197 – 2015 (Belgian-style Brown Ale)
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Flanders Oud Bruin • IBU: 10 • ABV: 7.5% • 18 SRM
Malt: Abbey, Chocolate, Pilsner, Special B
Hops: Crystal, Magnum
Yeast: Abbey Ale
Juju: Blackberries, Dark Belgian Candi Sugar, Demerara Sugar
Mid-dark amber hue, clear draft with a small head that dropped immediately, leaving just a little bit of retention on the rim. The nose is sweet and funky from the Belgian style yeast with hints of dried spices. The front mouth is like drinking sweet tart candies, it’s super acidic bitters on the tongue with sweet fruit notes. The yeast is expressed on the mid to back as a chalky like sheen on the tongue. This is a strange fruit-sour beer that left an odd bitterness in the back.
|Scratch Beer 196 – 2015 (White Ale)
Tröegs Brewing Co. • Witbier • IBU: 23 • ABV: 5.2% • 4 SRM
Malt: Oats, Pilsner, Red Wheat
Hops: German Northern Brewer, Magnum
Juju: Coriander, Lemon Peel, Sweet Orange Peel, Pink Peppercorns, Tellicherry Peppercorns
Cloudy mild yellow hue draft, solid two finger head that lingered well to the last drop. The nose is pretty subtle with yeast and lemon peel, hints of peppercorns. The front mouth is pretty soft, it’s got a bit of citrus/lemon oil, slight yeast funk, and spices (peppercorns) traditionally found in witbiers. The mid to back are solid and full-bodied, leaving a dry peppery and citrus coating on the tongue.
|Troegs / Appalachian / Pizza Boy (717) Collaboration
Tröegs Brewing Co. • American IPA • IBU: 71.7 • ABV: 7.17% • 12 SRM
Clear orange/red hued amber draft with a solid two finger head that had great retention. The nose is clean, yeasty funk, slight citrus tart. The front mouth is solid, backed with lots of toasted grains and malts, slight sweet, earthy and lemon zest notes and slight hop florals. The mid to back is a medium bodied IPA with hits of tart and hops that linger well into the back.