HARRISBURG, Penn. — Harrisburg Beer Week organizers have announced the group’s annual collaboration brew, 717 Collaboration Beer, a Helles Bock more than six months in the making that was brewed at Tröegs Independent Brewing Co.
Since their initial meeting in August, brewers from Zeroday Brewing Co., Appalachian Brewing Co., Boneshire Brew Works and Tröegs have worked with Harrisburg Beer Week organizers to come up with a beer unique to central Pennsylvania and its brewing DNA.
Tröegs served as host and production brewer for this year’s beer, and in the spirit of Harrisburg Beer Week’s mission of supporting the community, organizers invited Harrisburg Beer Week brewery participants and other breweries within the 717 area code to participate in today’s Brew Day.
“The collaborators felt strongly that coming together in person to work on this special beer was paramount,” said Sara Bozich, Harrisburg Beer Week co-founder and organizer. “And inviting the beer community at large to join us for its production we hope echoes the group’s sentiments on what Harrisburg Beer Week is about.”
What Is It?
This year’s 717 Collaboration Beer is a Helles Bock, a style of lager.
“When this got started last summer, we all went around and talked about styles, ingredients, and techniques we were interested in,” said Tröegs brewmaster John Trogner. “Classic styles of beer started to pop up in the conversation, and eventually we settled on a subtly complex lager.”
From there, the brewers got to work, each one brewing a test batch to try different approaches.
“Zeroday did a Dunkel with Augustiner yeast,” said Trogner. “ABC worked on a hop combination, and we brewed a Mexican Lager and a Golden Lager to dial in the malt bill.”
Each test batch was shared with the collaborators, who shared thoughts via text and in-person meetings. Little by little, a recipe was born.
“That’s the web, the collaborative nature,” said Trogner. “That’s why this beer could only come from local breweries here in the 717.”
Three 15-barrel batches are being brewed today at Tröegs. In seven days, a fourth batch will be brewed for krausening, a traditional German brewing technique that adds a last layer of flavor. Wort from the final batch will be mixed with fresh yeast and added to chilled tanks of the fermenting lager. Stressing fresh yeast captures carbon dioxide and subtle ester notes.
Helles Bock style lagers have German origins where they traditionally are served at beer festivals, making this seasonally and circumstantially appropriate for Harrisburg Beer Week. This version is subtly complex with semi-dry layers of toasted grains and fresh bread balanced with restrained herbal and wildflower notes from Hersbrucker and Huell Melon hops.
With each spring, a new 717 Collab emerges. This Helles Bock is built in layers culminating in a semi-dry, malt-forward, complex lager with subtle hop flavors and aroma.
In addition to inviting area brewers to participate in Brew Day, Trogner also released the recipe for brewers and homebrewers to use, if desired.
Harrisburg Beer Week prides itself not only for its commitment to the craft beer community, but it is the only not-for-profit event of its kind. A fully volunteer and independent operation, proceeds from the 10-day festival benefit its exclusive beneficiary, Harrisburg River Rescue & Emergency Services.
This year, $1 per draft sold at collaborators’ locations will be donated to Harrisburg Beer Week and ultimately, Harrisburg River Rescue.
717 Collaboration Beer will be released on Friday, April 26, the first day of Harrisburg Beer Week 2019 and will be available on draft at select locations, while it lasts. This year, Tröegs will be using its new sticker labeler to package 4-packs of 16 oz. cans. Just 300 cases will be distributed throughout the greater Harrisburg area.
Media will be invited to sample the 717 Collaboration Beer at our ‘First Sip’ preview event on Thursday, April 26.
Venues carrying this year’s 717 Collaboration Beer include:
- Tröegs Independent Brewing, Hershey
- Appalachian Brewing Co. Harrisburg
- Appalachian Brewing Co. Mechanicsburg
- Zeroday Brewing Co., Harrisburg
- Zeroday Øutpost at the Broad Street Market, Harrisburg
- Boneshire Brew Works, Harrisburg
- The Midtown Tavern, Harrisburg
- The Sturges Speakeasy, Harrisburg
- McGrath’s Pub, Harrisburg
- Brewhouse Grille, Camp Hill
- Market Cross Pub, Carlisle
- Big Bottom Brewery, Dillsburg
- Moo-Duck Brewery, Elizabethtown
- Check harrisburgbeerweek.com/717Collab for more
It also will be poured at the Harrisburg Beer Week VIP Kickoff Party at Strawberry Square on Friday, April 26 and PA Flavor at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex on Saturday, April 27.
Responsible imbibers are encouraged to use the hashtag #717collab, #BeerForGood, and #hbgbeerweek when they sample this year’s collaboration beer. Watch the 717 story as it progresses on Harrisburg Beer Week’s social media channels – @hbgbeerweek on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.