|Troegs' tasting flight. Photo Courtesy of Melissa Tribur|
Every other year I make a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania to hang out with friends and attend a Hershey Bears hockey game, the minor league affiliate of the Washington Capitals. This year was especially nice; since it marked the first time I made the trip since Troegs Brewing Company moved their brewery from Harrisburg to Hershey.
I only knew of a few beers of note from Troegs before hand, most notably Mad Elf and Nugget Nectar. By happenstance, Nugget Nectar was released the previous week, so I was excited to try it on tap. The night before we went, I read about their Scratch Series, and was really intrigued to sample those too.
We had our designated driver set and drove 11 miles from Lebanon, PA to Hershey. We drove through the little town of Annville where we would end the night at a great bar (see below).
|The author, RH, with Troegs Taps|
When we pulled up to Troegs, the parking lot in front of their new expansive digs was just about full. I was already impressed. As we walked in, that lovely malty smell of a brewery hit my friends and I’s noses just right. I didn’t want to waste any time and finally made my way to the tasting room. Please note, this is no “room,” It is more of a tasting hall! It was huge. The bar was very long, the ceiling was incredibly high, and there was plenty of standing room and tables.
|Scratch #58 Photo by Melissa Tribur|
The bar was crowded, but I went to the far end of the bar and had no problem getting in my order. Luckily there ample amount of staff members to pour beer. My friend and I ordered two tasting flights, hers was one each of the five main staples, and mine were the three seasonal or scratch beers.
I don’t normally rate the beers, as I leave that to the BBA reviewers, but I have to say, the Scratch #58 was one of the best beers I have ever had. It was a Mango triple IPA coming in at 10% abv. The mango scent combined with extensive citrus hops was dizzying. I think the IBUs are something over 300! The highly acclaimed Nugget Nectar on tap was really good as well.
For food, pre-made sandwiches are available, and they are OK.
One great thing about the brewery is that you can take self guided tour of the working part of the brewery and even bring your beer with you. There is also a huge merchandise and beer store, called the Trading Post. I saw a lot of people walking out with growlers as well.
|we are gonna need more beer! Photo my Melissa Tribur|
Overall impressions, this is one of the best brewery visits I have ever done and I highly recommend a trip. This is what a great regional craft brewery should be.
We closed our night in Annville, PA at the Batdorf Restaurant. Our host went to high school (I think) with the owners. The Batdorf is a super cool bar. If it was in my hometown, it would be my go-to place. Half of it is kind of a tiki set-up, the other half a little more traditional pub layout.
|Batdorf tap handles.|
They had some beers on tap that I was very surprised to see in Central Pennsylvania, most notably Ballist Point Big Eye IPA. There was also a selection of Troegs, including Nugget Nectar. I sat down with co-owner Mike Rotunda and chatted about the importance of having craft beer in his bar. The only problem is that I had too many beers throughout the day, so I honestly can’t report details on our conversation, sorry! I will say this, that Mike was very nice and that he and brothers Dave and Lou have a great bar.
I had the Buffalo wings that night and I remember really liking them. My friends tell me the food at Batdorf is pretty solid overall. Again, I highly recommend this place.
The Hershey area is a great place to spend a weekend. In 24 hours, I did the Hershey Chocolate Factory tour, Troegs Brewery, and saw a great minor league hockey game.
|Hershey Bears game. Great Arena! Photo by Melissa Tribur|
A big thank you to Jon Bowman for letting us crash at his house!