During our time on the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Across America — from California to Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Pennsylvania and, finally, North Carolina — we tasted beers, talked to locals, and tried to get a sense of the state of craft beer across the country. We learned a lot on our trip: That hot air balloon rides can cure hangovers, Pliny for breakfast will rob you of your ambitions, and that you can, indeed, brew beer on the back of a moving bus.
RELATED: Checking in From Every Stop of Beer Camp
More importantly, we found that there were dozens of great beers that you can only get by being a local — whether in Asheville, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Portland, Maine, or San Diego. From walking the grounds of the regional festivals and tasting some 30 beers at each of the seven Beer Camp festivals (this wasn't entirely fun; not all the beers were good), we found 70 beers that, if you live more than a few hundred miles away from the brewery, you probably haven't had the chance to try. We suggest you follow our example and make a road trip out of it. A beer tour across the country doesn't sound like too bad an idea now, does it?
Tröegs Scratch #142
The Brewery: Tröegs, the Hershey, Pennsylvania-based brewery is probably best known for its seasonal imperial Amber ale, Nugget Nectar, which is distributed throughout the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern United States. Like the Nectar, most of Tröegs' beers are intensely floral (but not necessarily bitter) thanks to ample dry hopping.
The Beer: Scratch #142
Tasting Notes: Tröegs' Scratch series are the company's excuse to experiment — available only at the brewery, the company has made some 150 so far with somewhat mixed results (but mostly praise from their fans). Scratch #142, a low-alcohol IPA, is a distinctly Tröegs brew, complete with a powerful nose that gives off a fresh-mowed scent mixed with lots of lemon and grapefruit. The beer makes us want a Tröegs Hopback or Sunshine Pils, two of their most popular (and our favorite) beers.