This past weekend I trekked up to Rhode Island with my friend Dan for his cousin’s wedding. Being the beer lovers that we are, we knew the trip wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t work in a few breweries. Our first stop: Tröegs Brewery.
I’m sure all you devoted beer drinkers are already familiar with Tröegs; it’s one of the most popular breweries in the US right now. For those of you who are less familiar, Tröegs is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and is famous for brews such as the Nugget Nectar, Sunshine Pils, and Troegenator.
Dan and I were greeted by an extremely helpful worker who explained not only the ins and outs of visiting Tröegs, but also the specialty beers they had on tap and the specials served at the snack bar that day.
Once we finished talking to him, we did the logical thing: hop in line for beers, duh!
We both decided to do a flight of three of their “scratch” beers, or pilot beers, as Dan and I decided to call them. We both chose the #140 and #142 IPAs, but we differed in our last selection. Dan chose a rye ale and I chose a belgian strong pale ale called the Naked Elf.
We both thought the IPAs left something to be desired. #140 drank more like a hoppy pale ale, which at 53 IBUs isn’t that surprising. The second IPA, #142, was a wild card. This brew tasted nothing like an IPA. It was silky and slightly sweet (I thought of vanilla), with no hop character to speak of. The #142 left me scratching my head.
Dan and I both had sips from our last flight choice and immediately decided to switch. The Naked Elf was too sweet for my buds; it had so much cherry flavor that one sip was more than enough. Dan really enjoyed it though, thinking it tasted like a pastry. His rye ale turned out to be more up my alley. With 48 IBUs, this brew is just hoppy enough to balance the malt and keep a nice bready finish.
Hungry, Dan headed to the snack bar to order us some grub, while I grabbed two more beers. I went with their “scratch” white ale, and Dano got a Sunshine Pils. We were both blown away by the white ale, but the food topped it all. I mean, I would go there just to eat. Check it:
Beef Brisket with hop oil fries
Shaved asparagus, salt pork, poached egg, and potato chip crumbs.
Bellies full, we took the self-guided tour and found out some eye-opening facts about how large scale Tröegs really is. On any given bottling day they package between 2,500 and 3,000 CASES of beer, or roughly 60,000 bottles. WHAT? THAT IS RIDICULOUS. Let’s put it in perspective. When we bottle at Parkway, we do about 600 cases, and that takes roughly 6 hours. I would have loved to actually see their machine in use. I bet it’s freaking incredible!
Until next time, Tröegs!