Sunday, February 10, 2013

Troegs Brewing Company

Photography by Fitz
While not a brew pub per se, the Troegs brewery in Hershey does now serve food. It's quite an amazing complex. Upon entering the brewery, you can shop at the general store, grab a beer at the Tasting Room bar, and purchase food at the snack bar. They have a large open area of tables where you can seat yourself. And afterwards, you can take yourself on a self guided tour of the brewery.

When you think "snack bar", gourmet food usually doesn't come to mind. But the food at Troegs is most definitely gourmet - and quite good! So even though there's no table service, you do get a brew pub type experience. The menu is constantly changing, and they offer specials that are indeed quite special. On our most recent visit, we started with the giant pretzel with barley and sea salt, hand cut fries with hop oil, and grilled pork belly. We didn't necessarily care for the hop oil on the fries (it was a little heavy handed, and it drenched the fries). But the pretzel was out of this world, and the pork belly was fatty and delicious. Can you ever go wrong with a big old soft pretzel?! I ordered from the special board and got a pork belly Reuben that was insanely good. Tami ordered chicken pot pie in a pan, which she liked very much. My parents joined us on this occasion, with my mom getting grilled cheese and tomato soup and my dad getting pork soft tacos. I don't think they were disappointed - although my dad wasn't particularly hungry since he'd just eaten breakfast an hour-and-a-half prior. We should have given him another 20 minutes.

Looking at the latest Troegs snack bar menu, I see lots of items that are new. They're currently serving such items as a maple glazed pork belly with poached egg and brioche crumbles, duck confit with dry rub lentils and orange marmalade, braised lamb shepherd's pie with peas and duck fat mashed potatoes, Mad Elf fondue, meatloaf on brioche, and an oyster po'boy. No, this is not the place to go for burgers, wings, or nachos. It's not traditional pub fare, and by no means is it cheap. I think Tami and I spent $42 on our share of the meal - not including beer. But to be honest, we'd pay just as much or more at almost any brew pub. The food is worth the price, and Troegs' beer is up there with Victory Brewing as the very best craft beer in the state. I had a pint of Troegenator - one of my favorite beers - for just $5. Sometimes they offer experimental "scratch" beers - which cannot be bought in stores. They're usually really good. And I always look forward to their seasonals. We'll need to go back this spring so I can have a Sunshine Pils on draught!

Let's go to the FABS scale:

Food - We deducted points for the soggy, heavily oiled fries. But still, quite good! 20/25

Atmosphere- Befitting an establishment so close to Hersheypark, the tasting room/snack bar is casual and family friendly. There's lots of room, a friendly vibe, and adequate parking outside. 22/25

Beer- Come on: it's Troegs! 25/25

Service- Bartenders are very attentive and know how to work a crowded bar. We didn't have to wait long for our food after ordering at the snack bar.  If you don't mind the lack of table service, it's a really neat experience. 21/25

Total: 88 (out of 100)