As you may have read on one of our past posts, fellow writer Samuel Madison has correctly suggested that the reader base limit drinking of poor quality, mass-produced cheap beers, instead switching them out with better tasting and higher ABV beer. Granted, a case of Traveler Brewing Company beer is going to be more expensive than a case of Coors Light, but you will be rewarded with a much higher quality product on every single level. Because this happened to be a topic upon which we agree, during an off work stretch of four days of mine, Mr. Madison, Ms. Johnson and myself all ascended upon the Troegs Brewing Company plant in Hershey, Pennsylvania for an afternoon tour. Below are our findings.
At Troegs, you have several different options. If you just want to drink, they have all their beers on tap at a large bar where you can go and try what they have to offer, at pretty reasonable prices. We went in the off-peak season, as Hershey is a huge tourist trap in the summer, and similarly I would expect the Troegs bar to be full of people on vacation, especially on the weekends. I got a very large 7.5% JavaHead for around $5, which is about what you can expect for a high ABV quality craft brew. There is also a grille area for those interested in food offerings, although I cannot say what it offered in particular. You can also take the self guided tour, which highlights some interesting parts of the brewery with useful and historic information included. There is also the General Store, where you can buy all sorts of Troegs merchandise, such as glasses, mugs, t-shirts, and the highlight of their goods, beer. They have every beer that they are currently brewing for sale, with most available on cases and all available in six packs, which you have the ability to mix and max for a tad higher price. Pricing isn’t bad either, as what they charge at the General Store is about the same price you would pay for a Troegs product at a distributor. After our guided tour, Samuel and I both bought a case (he bought the Hopback, I the JavaHead, details are at the bottom),and exchanged half so that we would end up with a little bit more variety.
The final point of interest is the guided tour, which you are supposed to make reservations for (although on a slow day walk-ins would probably be accepted). We made our appropriate reservation, and showed up at the assigned time with the designated dress code (15 minutes early, $5 a person with closed toed shoes with no heels, and safety glasses as well). We had a total party of seven, which seemed to me to be rather large for an early Tuesday afternoon in October. Parties can range in size up to 10, as long as reservations are made beforehand. Although the tour cost $5, it was more than worth it. The tour guide was friendly and informative, basically your typical outgoing bubbly guide who knew more than enough to answer the questions that the older couple in our group couldn’t resist asking. We went all through the brewery from where the brewing begins to where it finishes, all the while being educated as to what was going on during the process and staying out of the way of the employees who were getting their work done around us. Along the way we received different types of beer at different stages in the brewing process, including at one point playing with a jar of hops and having a container of wheat kernels that we were able to consume to ascertain the differences in what was being used for which beer. The tour contained all aspects of the process, starting from the inception of the beer and how/where it is made, to the bottling and shipping of it.
At the conclusion of our tour, we were all invited to try what amounted to about half of four different types of beer that Troegs offers, including their popular “Mad Elf” seasonal variety that is 11.0% ABV. All of us were also given a free “Troegs Official Taste Tester” pint glass at the finale of the guided tour.
All in all, this entire visit was a great idea. For $5, their guided tour is a terrific plan, which probably primarily serves as marketing for the company, because there is no way they could be making money off a 45 minute tour in which they give away about 2 beers per person, and a free pint glass to boot. If you are ever in the Hershey area and are even simply a casual beer fan, stop by Troegs brewery and you will not regret it.
Troegs generally carries the following types of beer, along with a rotating serving of experimental Scratch beers:
|Dead Reckoning||Porter||August – September||5.8%||53||30||Pilsner, Caramel, Roast, Black||Vanguard, Chinook||Ale||—|
|DreamWeaver||Wheat Ale||Year Round||4.8%||15||4||Pilsner, Vienna||German Northern Brewer||German Wheat||55% Wheat|
|Flying Mouflan||Barleywine||April||9.3%||100||24||Euro Pils, Vienna, Munich, Dark Crystal||Warrior, Chinook, Simcoe, Whole leaf Nugget||Ale||Includes cane sugar. Introduced as Scratch #4 in 2007.|
|HopBack||Amber Ale||Year Round||6.0%||55||15||Pilsner, Munich, Crystal||Cascade, Williamette, Nugget, Crystal||Ale||A hopback is a vessel through which beer passes en route from the brew kettle on the hot side of the brewery to the fermenter on the cold side|
|JavaHead||Stout||Year Round||7.5%||60||40||Pilsner, Crystal, Chocolate, Roast||Cluster, Chinook, Cascade||Ale||contains oats and a blend of roasted espresso and Kenyan coffee beans|
|Mad Elf||Ale||October – December||11.0%||15||14||Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate||Saaz, Hallertau||Spicy Belgian||contains honey, sweet and sour cherries|
|Nugget Nectar||Ale||February-March||7.5%||93||9||Pilsner, Vienna, Munich||Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe, Palisade||Ale||—|
|Pale Ale||Pale Ale||Year Round||5.4%||45||9||Pilsner, Munich, Crystal||Amarillo, Cascade||Ale||—|
|Perpetual||IPA||Year Round||7.5%||85||6||Pilsner, Crystal, Munich||Bravo, Chinook, Mt. Hood, Nugget,Citra, Cascade||Ale||—|
|Rugged Trail||English-style Brown Ale||Tap House only||5.9%||20||Toasted amber, chocolate||—||—||Production of this beer resumed mid-2013; only available at brewery tap house and produced sporadically. |
|Sunshine Pils||Pils||April – August||4.5%||45||2||Pilsner, Crystal||Saaz, Hallertau Mitt.||Lager||—|
|Troegenator||Double Bock||Year Round||8.2%||25||18||Pilsner, Munich, Chocolate||Magnum,
German Northern Brewer