If you go
Tröegs Brewery is located at 200 E. Hershey Park Dr. in Hershey, PA. Free, self-guided tours are available Sunday through Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. However, I highly recommend taking the guided tasting tour. For only $5, you'll go behind the scenes to learn more about how beer is made at Troegs Brewery. You'll sample several beers, and receive a souvenir glass at the end of the tour. Tasting Tour guests must reserve a space online and must be 21. For more information, visit troegs.com .
Breweries around South Central Pennsylvania are rolling out beers for the fall season. Tröegs Brewery in Hershey is no exception. Just beyond the roller coasters and zoo animals, Tröegs' vats are hard at work, processing malt, hops and yeast -— the three main ingredients in beer.
In 1997, brothers Chris and John Trogner produced and sold their first keg of beer. At that time, Tröegs Brewery — which takes its name from combination of the family name and "kroeg," the Flemish word for pub — was located in Harrisburg. In 2011, when the demand for their beers outgrew the size of their brewery, the brothers moved their operation to Hershey. Tröegs Brewery in Hershey also has its own snack bar and general store.
I recently visited Tröegs Brewery, and its spacious Tasting Room, to get a close-up look at their operation, and to sample three of their current beers on tap.
Hop Knife Harvest Ale
A fall favorite, Hop Knife Harvest Ale (6.2 percent alcohol by volume) has a full-bodied flavor that's just a touch more bitter than Tröegs Perpetual IPA. The finish isn't as fruity as Perpetual IPA, but has a deeper flavor, that's appropriate for the fall season. Hope Knife Harvest Ale's taste is the result of a mix of six different kinds of hops. The Hop Knife Harvest Ale has a hazy, orange color that also evokes autumn.
Pair With: The bold flavor of Hop Knife Harvest Ale is best paired with equally strong flavors, especially garlic. The brisket sandwich from Tröegs Tasting Room is a great choice to go with Hope Knife Harvest Ale. The Ale and beef flavors make for a hearty combination. Spicy dishes that use curry or ginger would also work well.
Casual beer drinkers sometimes shy away from stout beers. However, Tröegs' JavaHead Stout (7.5 percent ABV) only has a bitter unit of 60, putting it well below most IPAs. The dark, rich beer is very smooth. JavaHead Stout is made with a roasted chocolate malt that gives it just a hint of coffee. The heady flavor is rounded out by a blend of coffee beans and a bit of oats.
Pair With: JavaHead Stout is the perfect companion to a plate of earthy, nutty cheeses, like Camembert and Brie. JavaHead Stout can also be paired with a smoked meat or fish. Desserts, especially chocolate, would also bring out the hint of chocolate in the beer.
The Grapefruit IPA is part of Tröegs Scratch Series, which is only available in their Tasting Room at the brewery. The Scratch Series are beers that Tröegs uses to experiment with brewing techniques and unusual ingredients. Sometimes these small-batch beers are available in six-packs at their General Store.
Tröegs Grapefruit IPA (6.2 percent ABV) is a clear, bright yellow, as opposed to a traditional IPA, which has an orange color. The Grapefruit IPA has a very bright, crisp taste, thanks to the Pilsner malt, American hops and house ale yeast . The flavor from the Rio Red Grapefruit juice isn't overpowering, adding only a top note of citrus. It's very refreshing and would be the perfect offering at an outdoor party.
Pair With: Mild foods work well with the Grapefruit IPA, or foods cooked with a citrus fruit. Pair the Grapefruit IPA with a seafood that doesn't have a heavy sauce, or chicken that's been roasted with lemon. Pineapple shrimp or a fruity barbecue chicken would also be delicious paired with the Grapefruit IPA.