A Drive Across the Country to Learn Beers by the Region
As a writer and journalist, we all go through that time when you just don’t have work. For me, that time came in early 2012. When you reach that point, it’s all about what you are going to do about it. You can sob, pout, complain, search for work, what have you.
As for me, it was a no brainer. I decided to go on a cross-country road trip to blow the money I don’t have in search for tastes of the regions throughout this massive country.
Over the course of 11 blogs here on DME’s Daily Drink, I’ll break down my thoughts of the six packs of beer I got from five different regions (Northwest, Midwest, East Coast, South and Southwest) amassing 11 states. In our last stop, we took a trip down my own personal memory lane with a visit to Harpoon Brewery in Massachusetts. In this entry, we’ll continue on our voyage down the East Coast with a stop in Hershey, Pennsylvania. No, it’s not about chocolate. This week’s blog will focus on Troegs Brewing Company and its Hop Back Amber Ale.
As a home brewer, the bevy of experimentation at one point got me and my co-brewer into conjuring up a fusion of an amber and India pale ale. Aptly named India Amber Ale, it was an interesting combo of sweet, with a nice hop bittering finish. It still remains one of the more popular beers for us to brew. Even with our level of enjoyment at a high, the Hop Back Amber Ale, which has many similarities as the home-brewed India Amber Ale, definitely tops ours.
Troegs Hop Back Amber is a year-round brew that has a great balance of Munich and pilsner malts with Cascade, Willamette and Nugget hops, with an addition of whole leaf Nugget and Mt. Hood used as “Hop Back” hops. In addition to the base malts, there are specialty malts used to lend a nice caramel note to go with the florally finish. At six percent alcohol by volume and 55 IBUs, the Troegs flagship beer is most definitely a session beer.
It’s no wonder that Hop Back Amber Ale was the winner of the American Red Ale silver medal in the 2010 Great American Beer Festival. That, and it took Best of Philly in 2006 according to Philadelphia Magazine. No doubt it is a big time beer. And that’s why Troegs suggest having big time foods like cheddar cheese and red meat with its Hop Back Amber Ale.
Surely, even though I only had the pleasure of trying the Hop Back Amber Ale, the rest of Troegs’ beer selections have to provide a few blockbusters. With five year-round selections and 10 seasonals (15 total if you’re counting at home), there’s a good chance I’m right. There’s only one way to find out. Head to the Hersey, Penn., area and pick up a six pack, or stop by the brewery on East Hersey Park Drive and have a few pints.
With Pennsylvania in the rearview mirror, our Northeast venture continues, moving just a wee bit south to make the final stop before going down to the deep south. Next up on the cross-country joyride to beer heaven is the first state: Delaware.
Like it? Hate it? Love it? Let me know. I’m sure you’ll be pleased though.