A pint with Tröegs Brewing

The Trogner brothers of Tröegs Brewing give us a look at their craft brewery, along with a peek at their highly-anticipated winter seasonals Mad Elf and Blizzard of Hops.
Where did name for Tröegs come from?
It’s a family nickname, derived from our surname, Trogner. We combined Trogner with Kroeg, the Flemish word for pub, and got Tröegs. 
How did you get your start in brewing?
Back in the early ’90s, John (the older brother) was in college and working as an intern in the Philadelphia real estate market.  During his time in Philly, he often found relief with a pint in hand at the Dock Street Brewpub. At the same time, Chris was drawn to Colorado for the great skiing and was attending college in Boulder. It was there that he found himself in the midst of a brewing renaissance as more than 100 small, independent breweries opened throughout the state. Chris eventually convinced John to join him in Colorado to explore the craft beer movement. Within a week of making the move, John landed a job at the Oasis Brewpub by literally walking in and asking how he could help. They put him to work immediately, but he wasn’t exactly provided with any training. It was trial-by-fire. He started out cleaning tanks, and because he continued to show up sober and on time, he was eventually promoted to a brewer. At the time, the owner of the brewpub wasn’t paying much attention to the day-to-day operations and didn’t really care what they were brewing, so John and the other brewers just winged it and learned as they went. 
What was the first beer you sold as a brewery?
Our first keg — Tröegs Pale Ale — was sold to a local restaurant in Harrisburg on July 18, 1997. 
Tröegs recently unveiled some beautiful new artwork for their beer labels. Could you give us a look into that process that brought it all together?
The hand-drawn artwork was a collaboration between us and Philadelphia-based designer Lindsey Tweed. We worked together closely to create the new look, which includes the reimagining some of our most iconic figures like the Tröegenator. The art shows our love of the process and – most importantly – our love of beer. The simple logos and hand-drawn fonts capture how we brew, and the artwork conveys what’s inside the bottle. Tweed’s initial project with us, which included bottle and packaging artwork for Hop Knife, Cultivator, and Blizzard of Hops, was so well received that we decided to explore the approach across all labels. The new designs are reminiscent of the artwork that Tröegs fans know and love but better reflect our independence and personality. 
Winter is almost here and its already brought us two releases from Tröegs- “Mad Elf” and “Blizzard of Hops”. Could you tell us a bit about both beers?
We like to call these The Most Wonderful Beers of the Year. Mad Elf is a cult classic and has been for over a decade. It started as an idea that we had while hand-packing cases in 2002. We wanted to brew a big Belgian-style ale with loads of honey and cherries for the holidays. It struck a nerve right away, and for many people — even those who normally don’t drink beer — the holidays wouldn’t be the same without Mad Elf. Blizzard of Hops is the last beer in our Hop Cycle Seasonals. We created this Winter IPA to toast hop growers around the world for another successful harvest. This storm of hoppy citrus and pine notes is a bright reminder the end of the Hop Cycle is only the beginning.
Where is the best place to have a craft beer from Tröegs?
Anywhere you can get Tröegs is a great place! :)
What can we look forward to seeing from Tröegs in the near future?
We have a few tricks up our sleeve for the annual Nugget Nectar release coming up in January. Keep an eye on our social channels for some special events!
The holidays are coming and there’s sure to be beer on the dinner table- what’s your favorite Tröegs food pairing?
Mad Elf, glazed ham and aged cheddar. 
What inspires Tröegs’ craft beers?
We’re not an English ale brewery or a German lager brewery. We take bits and pieces of each one of those traditions, put our own twist on them, and try to come up with what we think are very creative and great-tasting beers.
If you could have one beer from Tröegs year-round, which one would it be?
Sunshine Pils is a deceptively complex pilsner that delivers winter, spring, summer and fall.