It’s hard to imagine Tröegs’ beloved flagship brews like the powerhouse doublebock Troegenator and the refreshing and complex Sunshine Pils as just a dream. The founders of Tröegs Independent Brewing – brothers Chris and John Trogner – built their dream brewery in Hershey to facilitate production of a signature line of beers but also to have the capacity and wherewithal to create imaginative brews. If they can dream it, they can brew it! When you give two creative brewmasters the resources to invent and innovate, you get adventurous beers that win over beer lovers in droves.
Tröegs plays homage to the hop growing cycle with four inspired, hoppy ales that take center stage each season: First Cut Mango IPA, Field Study IPA, Hop Knife IPA, and Blizzard of Hops Winter IPA. Each is a perfectly balanced brew that uses the best qualities of the hops at various times of the year. Similarly, Tröegs has a line of elusive brews that are harder to find because they come out but once a year, and sometimes for just one month. Their famous holiday-inspired ale, Mad Elf, put Tröegs Brewery on the map, capturing all the flavors of the season - cherries, honey, and cocoa with notes of cocoa, cinnamon, clove, and allspice – into an 11% ABV ruby red cup of Christmas cheer. The first batch of the brewing season is Nugget Nectar, an Imperial Amber Ale that squeezes out the mango and creamsicle notes of super-fresh Simcoe hops and clocks in at an impressive 93 IBUs. It's only a matter of time before you become a Tröegs superfan and you're planning your picnics around which of their beers you can pack into the cooler.
John Troegner has said his favorite part of brewing is overhearing someone ordering their beer at a bar. Thanks to the support of their fans and the success of their year-round and perennial ales, the Tröegs brothers can let their imaginations run wild with pet projects and experiments. Tröegs uses the Scratch Beer Series to test out new flavors, ingredients, equipment, and brewing techniques, and have created more than 450 varieties to date. Many of Tröegs’ signature brews started in the scratch tanks, and due to rave reviews of brewery visitors and employees, graduated to wider release. If you ask Tröegs’ die-hard brew fans, they’ll be able to recall a numbered Scratch Beer that they still dream about long after the keg runs dry. When you're visiting the brewery, sample a few limited availability scratch recipes - you might be tasting the first rendition of their next flagship brew.
Once you see where Tröegs beer is born, you’ll develop a newfound appreciation for Tröegs' story. Just down the road from the roller coasters of Hershey, their dream plant on Hersheypark Drive welcomes half a million visitors a year for tastings, tours and beer adoration. Like all good origin tales, Tröegs started out with a small brewing operation where they grew a loyal following and found success. Learn more about their beginnings from Chris and John Trogner:
If you follow Tröegs on social media, you know that the brewers make pilgrimages to hop farms and local fruit orchards to taste and see the ingredients firsthand. They love to use regional and seasonal fruits and products in their beer that not only enrich their beers with fresh flavor but deepen the brewery’s community roots. In the fall, Tröegs trucks in 3,000 lbs. of pumpkins from Strites Orchard in Harrisburg for the rich Master of Pumpkins. As you can imagine, it takes patience to plant, raise, pick, slice, clean, and roast the pumpkins. This cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg spiced beer is described by Troegs as a labor of love, worth the once-a-year wait. Another community fruit infusion story - The Tröegs brothers once bought a batch of hailstorm-bruised nectarines from a Pennsylvania orchard to ferment their Dear Peter wild fruit ale, noting "what won't work at a roadside stand will be aces for brewing."
Hailed as one of the top 5 brewery tours in the nation by USA Today, Tröegs’ Guided Production Tour takes visitors behind the scenes of the plant. It starts with the hops, up to the brewhouse deck that overlooks the tasting room, down to the fermentation cellar, and over to the packaging lines. Peek inside the tanks, hold whole-flower hops in your hand, and take a swig of fermented and finished Tröegs favorites. It costs $12 to take the tour, and your hour-long brew journey includes a welcome beer and a souvenir glass only available to tour takers! Tours are offered on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
All Tröegs visitors are encouraged to grab a glass of beer and take the Self-Guided Tour through the center of their brewery. Peek inside the quality lab (hey, beer is art and science!), check out the barrel-aging room, and watch bottles of your favorite brews being filled, capped, and packaged! It's mesmerizing!
The sign above their craft kitchen says SNACK BAR, a deceiving moniker when you read their spectacular artisan offerings. Aligned with the brewery's commitment to local beer ingredients, the Snack Bar’s menu items are made from scratch and inspired by seasonal produce. Choose a share-ables like rosemary Popcorn, an Oktoberfest Pretzel, or Charcuterie Plate, or enjoy small spall plates and entrees. Keep an eye out for chef’s specials! There's something about a craft beer and munchies that complement its flavors that enhance the entire brewery experience! Troegs delivers with pop-up specials and creative pairing events for exciting tastes and experiences to go along with their epic craft brews.
Some people get their best ideas while they’re enjoying a cold brew, and sometimes the beer brand itself can be a source of inspiration. Tröegs invited their fans to use their beer as a muse to create art – drawings, sculptures, bottle-cap art – for the Art of Tröegs contest. See some of these works in their brewery while you’re waiting for the guided tour to begin. Beer is beautiful!
Tröegs can get pretty busy in the evenings and on most weekends, packed with visitors and locals alike. For a leisurely visit, try a weekday or early in the day on Saturdays and Sundays. Be sure to book your guided brewery tour in advance, and if you’re bringing a group, try to carpool because parking is limited. Save some souvenir cash for their General Store, filled with Tröegs swag like shirts, hats, glassware, bar equipment, artisanal beer soaps, cases to-go, and recycled factory shirts. Troegs is also one of our region's most Instagrammed locations! Snap a shot of your beer or take a family selfie and tag us: #visithersheyharrisburg!
Chris and John Trogner combined their last name with kroeg, the Flemish word for pub to form their moniker Tröegs. And if that raised more questions than it answered, Flemish is a Dutch language dialect spoken in Belgium. And Belgium-style beer is tasty. It all makes sense!