Two Beer Review: Fresh Fest and Trail Day Pale Ale (Troegs Brewing)

Two Beer Review: Fresh Fest and Trail Day Pale Ale (Troegs Brewing)

Whats better than good music, good tacos, and great beer? Getting to spend it with your daughter!

Every so often I manage to get a game-plan to work out. And this was one of those rare occasions! The game-plan going in was to pick up my oldest daughter from her volleyball practice, quickly get to Troegs Brewery and surprise her with getting to see her favorite (local) band, Vinegar Creek Constituency.

We were here for a previous Second Friday at the beer garden at Troegs, I believe it was when they released the cans of Golden Thing and another beer, perhaps Lollihop or one of the other scratches turned main roster, and they had their food truck going and the band playing, and my oldest daughter just fell in love with the band(‘s music).

So, I got her at 6:30 from her volleyball practice, quickly got to Troegs, drove around their entire lot a good 3-4 times and found not a single spot, so I parked in the back corner by the warehouse and the gazebo, in a “not exactly a parking spot – parking spot”. (Which later on, a SUV would totally block off a whole section of the parking lot by parking at a spot where it was a parking spot for him, but he didn’t back into his spot fully, and it basically made a pincer area out of two parked cars so an entire row of parking spaces couldn’t get out…plus my “illegal/legal” spot.)

This was a special Second Friday though at Troegs, not only was it a Second Friday, not only was it a full moon, and not only was it “Friday the 13th”, it was also a can release! (Oh yea, the importance of those might be in the wrong order, I don’t know). They released cans of “Trail Day Pale Ale”, a recent scratch that they perfected. Also, to my shock, when I saw the menu, they had Fresh Fest on the taplist (inside) – which wasn’t there Sunday when I was last there.

After parking, and getting into the beer garden, which amazingly isn’t packed, we found a table three away from the band, with a couple sitting at it but with room for us, I plop the kiddo down and her gatorade from practice, order us two chicken tacos, and head inside for my beers (since they didn’t have Trail Day outside, which I was a bit surprised by since it was the release of the day). The inside was jam packed. Upstairs, downstairs, packed, tour going on as well that looked full. Every booth was full, even the patio tables were full, the bar was full, and without going upstairs but looking up at the loft, it looked full too. Wait in line at the bar, and see that they have Fresh Fest. I decide on just a taster for that (8.50$ for a half pint or 3.50$ for a 4oz, plus I was getting a full pint of Trail Day, and with the kid and driving, figured it’d be the safer route). Take the beers back to our table right as the band finishes their set-up and starts up at just a bit before 7 and the tacos are done and its time to dive in.

In the taster – Fresh Fest, in the pint – Trail Day, and an amazing Chicken Taco.

Craft breweries do some amazing tacos. They are “high end” tacos, like the ones at Newfangled, and at other food truck type things, or even the specialty day tacos at certain breweries, but they are always fantastic. Not exactly the most filling usually, and obviously you’re dropping a few more dollar bills on this than the 5-pack at Taco Bell, but for taste, its so worth it.

I was surprised to see Fresh Fest on the menu and having not had it, I figured why not, and grabbed myself a taster of that. (Was originally just planning on drinking a few Trail Days while listening and hanging out with the kid, but its always nice to get to try a couple new beers, so of course I’m gonna jump on that chance.)

Beer: Fresh Fest
Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing Company
Collaboration: Apis Meadery
Style: Honey Beer
ABV: 6%
Untappd Write-Up: We believe that good beer brings out the good in people. To celebrate the return of Fresh Fest -the nation’s first black beer festival- The drinking Partners, Apis Meadery and Troegs Independent Brewing gathered around a brew kettle to combine two quintessential summer flavors: peach cobbler and a bright refreshing honey ale. Pilsner, Vienna and honey malt stand in for the flaky crust, Pennsylvania honey and kveik yeast provide a sweet glaze, and peaches, apricots and a late dose of El Dorado and Lemondrop hops fill in the middle with balance of slight tartness and sweet fruit. Ready for seconds yet?

This is kind of a mix between a mead, and a tart/sour beer. Its a wonderful and interesting combination and does make me wish I got a full pint of it. Though, this is definitely no pounder, and not one you will be drinking more of one in a sitting most likely, not due to ABV or anything like that, but its just a heavy, full beer, that will sit on you for a bit. (Not a bad thing.)

Appearance is a bright orange glow. A meadish bright orange hue that (perhaps my picture doesn’t do justice to it) is clear, translucent, and has a shine to it. Honey colored through and through.

Aroma is very heavy peach. Kind of a funky peach, kind of ripe peach, but a tart, funky peach. A nice smell that tickled the nose and was just overall appealing.

Flavor is very heavy peach as well. The honey makes it smooth and provides that heavyness. It finishes with the tartness, but before that you get the heavy peach, the heavy sweet honey, and some breadyness, almost like a sweet peach pie (if I ate those kind of things) before it transitions into a tart peach pie (again, if I ate those kind of things). Its not overly dry but the tartness gives a bit of a sensation of that at the end, but this isn’t anything unpleasant and compliments the sweetness at the beginning of the beer very nicely.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.63 (as of 9.13.19)

The Fresh Fest went perfect with the taco, complimenting it very nicely. Debated even getting a second taco, or maybe trying one of the other two styles they had available (Corinitas or Black Bean), but opted out of that idea. (Not sure what corinitas is, but their website listed a “savory pork” taco, so perhaps thats that? I don’t know.) But we did see a few soft pretzels and my daughter decided we needed one… …and she was right, we did. So at the break in the band’s set, I braved myself up, and ventured back inside for the pretzel and a drink for her.

Oktoberfest Soft Pretzel with Cheese sauce and mustard sauce. 11$

After about a 15-20 minute wait in line, and another 2-3 minutes for it to get done, got back outside as the band was starting up their second act. So at least timing worked out perfectly on that one.

The soft pretzel was absolutely phenomenal (and for 11$ for a soft pretzel, it better damn well be). Passed on getting my regular hop fries, hoping the pretzel would be filling, and it was. We were also (at this point anyway) planning on picking up a smores kit to do by the firepit later on (we ended up not doing it, I guess smores aren’t as cool when you’re 12 years old, I dunno).

Trail Day Pale Ale

Time to drink down this delicious looking pint of Troegs new Trail Day Pale Ale. It was a great beer to wash down the Oktoberfest soft pretzel and to continue our night listening to her favorite band.

Beer: Trail Day
Brewery: Troegs Independent Brewing Company
Style: Pale Ale – American
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: None Listed
Untappd Write-Up: This is the beer you want in hand when your compass lands you at trail’s end. The scene is set with a malt bill full of soft oats. Unmalted wheat from Pennsylvania adds haze and props up the oils of a bright hop combination. Citra dominates with notes of passionfruit and lychee, Lotus adds hints of orange rind and vanilla, and El Dorado works with a fruit-forward yeast to pull in flavors of candied peach. and beneath all that is a foundation of good. When you buy a Trail Day, you’re helping protect the Kittatinny Ridge, a 185-mile Appalahchian superhighway that provides clean water, rich forests, recreational trails and safe passage for migratory wildlife. We taste: peach, passionfruit, lychee.

I really enjoyed this beer as it was a nice typical Troegs beer, which means it had the characteristic Troegs taste for a pale ale/IPA/etc. I legit think I could be given five or six different pale ales/IPAs/wheats/hefeweizens and other similar style beers, blind-folded, and only one of the five or six being a Troegs beer, and I’d be able to pick it out. Its probably the yeast strains they do, or their technique brewing, but they just have a characteristic taste, (perhaps the water?), or maybe I’m over thinking it, or maybe its just because I’ve had over 200+ different, unique beers from them, so I’ve built up a bit of an ‘idea’ on them. I don’t know, but this beer fit that mold, and it tasted great.

Troegs is very big into conservation and helping with wildlife protection, environmentalism, and other great things like this. Like donating and paying for the mural in Harrisburg with proceeds going to the conservancy, just like this beer does. Some money from each pint/can sold (not sure on percentages, you might have to check with Troegs directly for that information), goes to help Kittatinny Ridge conservancy.

As per Wikipedia:
Kittatinny Mountain (Lenape: Kitahtëne[1]) is a long ridge traversing across northwestern New Jersey running in a northeast-southwest axis, a continuation across the Delaware Water Gap of Pennsylvania’s Blue Mountain Ridge (also known as Kittatinny Ridge). It is the first major ridge in the far northeastern extension of the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian Mountains, and reaches its highest elevation (the state’s highest), 1,803 feet, at High Point in Montague Township. Kittatinny Mountain forms the eastern side of Wallpack Valley; the western side comprises the Wallpack Ridge (highest elevation: 928 feet (283 m) above sea level.”( Source:

So its always great to see this, and great that Troegs is helping them out, just makes buying that pint or can of this that extra bit special and nice, and gives you warm glowy butterfly feelings in your tummy.

This is a very hazy pale ale. Its pretty much just one step up from Scratch 380 – Trail Day Dry Hopped Pale Ale. Might even be the same recipe but just given a full name as a regular/seasonal rotation, I don’t know, but its listed as a Pale Ale – New England on the scratch, and a Pale Ale – American on the new fully named version. (I gave the scratch version a **** on Untappd). Either way, this new version of it could easily be labeled a New England Pale Ale as well, as it is very hazy, especially so for a Troegs beer, that typically shies away from the haze.

Appearance is orange, unfiltered, hazy. Its not fully unfiltered but it definitely looks somewhat unfiltered and there is a bit of sediment and floaters (but nothing appalling or unappealing about it). The haze makes it not exactly un-see-through-but-not-super-dense either. (Thats the best way I could explain it.)

Aroma is soft, pale ale qualities, but with a good dose of hops. You can deeply smell the hops and the dry hopping. You get some fruity qualities, mostly stone fruit, like apricot and such, but you get the dry hopping mostly.

Taste is soft as well, pillowy, like the little bit of head that came with the beer. Soft, mellow, but also bursting with taste. Not mellow bland, but mellow soft. There is no hop bitterness from this, and it tastes like a typical NE-IPA or NE-PA. There is a smoothness t it from vanilla that helps with that New England vibe and taste to it. I also pick up notes of orange, passionfruit, and peach, kind of like candied peaches. Almost reminiscent of those peach ring gummies (like the ones Tattered Flag used in a few of their beers, which I reviewed one of). There is a definitely malty backbone to this that isn’t super typical for New England Pale Ales but its pretty subdued, just there, and you know its there. The Citra hops gives it a nice citrus punch that combines with the peach and passionfruit flavors very nicely. And it has a great finish that leaves a very nice and pleasant aftertaste on your tongue.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 9.13.19)

Vinegar Creek Constituency playing for the last Second Friday of the year at Troegs’ Beer Garden.

The beer garden is a wonderful experience and venue at Troegs whenever they do music here, its always a nice, relaxing atmosphere, with good, low-key vibe music playing. You could hear the band up on the patio, but with the beer garden’s setup you would not have been able to see them. Back beyond the band, they have a firepit that was open all night and lots of families were roasting s’mores on it. My daughter I suppose was “too cool” or “too old” (or just too tired after the band got done) and didn’t want to do it. So once the band packed up, I tried to get her to talk to them or at least get a picture with them, but she got too shy, and refused, so we made our way back to the car. Where… I had to wait and struggle to get out our area due to the SUV.

Afterwards, I dropped my daughter off with her mother, and being in the area I couldn’t help but stop in at Mount Gretna Brewery. So look for a review of the flight I had there probably after work tomorrow (Saturday, the 14th).

Vinegar Creek Constituency during their set, at the end of the night.

All in all, it was one of those rare nights when the game-plan went according to plan, and it was the rare daddy-daughter date night that actually worked out and everyone was happy. So I’m marking it down as a win. She got to see her favorite band that she’s been crushing on, I got to eat tacos and soft pretzels and hang out with my daughter, and she got to eat tacos and soft pretzels and hang out with her old man, and I got to try two new Troegs beers that were delicious. All in all a total win.

Look for my review of the flight from Mount Gretna sometime after 8PM or so when I get home from work, until then, keep “doing what you do”.

-B. Kline

Delicious tacos, delicious beers, fantastic music, and getting to spend time with my daughter, a total win.

recent posts

Go to Top