On Sunday morning at 7:45AM while most folks were sleeping in, or attending the church of their choice, Josh and Christian of Liquid Hero, Ken (remember how badass he is?) and I were driving up I83 to Troegs new 90,000 square ft. brewery in Hershey PA - T2. We were lucky enough to be invited to a private tour of the facility with brewery manager Ed Yashinsky.
Ed showed us every square inch of the new brewery. Even though it's not a functional brewery yet, this was by far the best brewery tour I've ever been on. Once opened, the brewery will offer a truely unique experience. Guests enter the brewery up a set of cement steps in front of the large outside beer garden, and into the main tasting room - with the 100bbl brewhouse right behind the bar. Step up to the bar in the very large tasting area with 30ft ceilings for a fresh pint, and the mash tun, lauter tun, and brew kettle are literally 5ft from you...you can almost reach out and touch it. Most important part: no glass. It's completely open, nothing seperates the brewhouse from the tasting room.
Got your beer? How about a tour? It doesn't matter what time it is, or if there is enough room on the tour, that's because there is now a fully self guided tour that you can take anytime the tasting room is open - and you can take your beer!
"Brewery goers will be able to observe the brewing process first-hand and even take a self-guided tour along a window-lined hallway for an up-close view of the brewery. Tröegs will also continue to provide guided tours of the brewhouse on designated days."After seeing the grain storage area - with the three 30 ton storage bags - we headed up onto the brewing platform. The guys from the German company Brau Kon are busy at work, ten hour shifts six days a week - to finish up the brew house. The brew house designed in Germany, and all the parts, pipes, fittings, everything, were shipped over in crates to the US for assembly. We saw the parts laid out orderly, but everywhere in their work area. How these guys open crates of parts and assemble a brew system from the floor up is beyond me. These guys are true professionals at their craft.
The other stand out of the tour was the DreamWeaver open fermentation tanks. Two 120bbl fermenters are given their own special climate controlled room, with two 10bbl yeast collection tanks. Guests will be able to see the entire process of top cropping on the self guided tour.
"This old school fermentation technique will allow us to harvest yeast at high krausen – otherwise known as “top cropping”. As the yeast ferments and raises it will spill over the tops of fermenters sliding down into the yeast collection tanks. We’ll harvest from the collection tanks and continually use the 1st generation yeast for every batch of DreamWeaver."
After our hour+ long tour Ed and the four of us talked for awhile. With the expansion into T2, it seems that seems that Troegs is doing very well. Mad Elf comes out soon, and with it's release they will make the switch to the new brewery as fast and efficiently as possible. The plan is to be up and running in October of this year.
Thanks for the tour Ed, it was awesome, just another great example of the great folks at Troegs. Good luck to you, Chris, John, and the entire Troegs family - it's great to see how you've grown over the years.
For more info on Troegs, and T2 visit their blog.
*I didn't have my camera on me, and that is why all of the photos and rederings used in this post were found here and are the property of their owner.