A lot of people complain about what’s going on in Harrisburg these days – but I’m not one of them. In town for other purposes, I decided to swing by the Tröegs Brewery on Paxton Street – to hopefully score an unusual case for the holidays and some artful beer-swag (they host a competition for creating art from their bottle caps!). I wondered if I could divert as well to the fine Appalachian Brewery Brew Pub on Cameron St, but will have to circle back there another time.
Hadn’t been to Tröegs for a while, and they have expanded to a full tasting room with growler fillers and a nice gift shop where you can buy cases of the harder to get brands – Java Head, Scratch Series and Flying Mouflan, to name a few.
The place was jumping at 3:30pm on a Wednesday (Happy “Holidaze” I am guessing), so while I sipped my Mad Elf draft, I checked out the gift shop. You know Mad Elf – strong ale (11% ABV) , honey, cherries, chocolate malts…leering short-guy in Xmas hat on the label… My friend Joe Sixpack called it the best Christmas Beer ever in his great Christmas Beer Book.
Warmed by the Elf, I tried the new “Scratch Series 38 ” which is a nice Imperial IPA, bitter as you and I like it (hop heads unite), but balanced and not too astringent. It’s what the marketing types call “drinkable” but hits a 7.7 ABV and 55 IBU. The scratch series is hard to get, but worth it.
And while we talk about hard to get, how about Tröegs “Splinter Black”? Corked in 25 oz bottles, (only one per customer thank you very much) Splinter Black is aged 4 months in oak, dosed with cocoa nibs, turbinado sugar and vanilla beans to make on bomb of a Imperial Stout. I complained to the nice lady at the gift shop, but only one per customer per day she insisted. Made me consider making the 2 hour drive back the next day. But, for now I’ll have to Elf MySelf and be happy that Pennsylvania is home to great local independent breweries like Tröegs.
Cheers for Great Beers! Happy Holidays and PLEASE be careful out there, we need all of you!