If you’ve been reading my column on any kind of regular basis, then you’re probably aware that there are certain collaborations that speak to my soul.
The recent release of Trail Day, a pale ale by Troegs Independent Brewing and the Nature Conservancy, is just the kind of group effort that I adore.
My family spends a great deal of time outdoors; as part of our homeschooling studies, we are in an outdoor adventure club that meets at least once a week to work on Wild Explorers Club and Junior Ranger badges, along with hikes in the woods. The necessity of preserving our natural surroundings and leaving a place better than we found it by removing trash from the trails and carrying out everything we carried in is a concept my kids are already practicing.
It’s with that sense of responsibility and cognizance that I approached the partnership between Troegs and the Nature Conservancy, in which a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Trail Day will benefit the protection of the Kittatinny Ridge.
Part of the Appalachian range cuts up through the Mason-Dixon Line west of Gettysburg and stretches its way across the state before exiting north of Easton as it crosses the Delaware River and marches its way into New York. The Appalachian Trail follows Kittatinny Ridge for most of its own trek through the state, and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy estimates that two to three million hikers use some portion of the trail yearly.
Of even more importance than its value to tourism, though, is its boon to the animals and plants that live in this 360,000-acre corridor that stretches nearly 200 miles across the commonwealth. Think of the Kittatinny Ridge as a travel artery for wildlife, enabling them to avoid the encroaching fingers of humanity’s sprawl. It provides a safer haven with fewer roads, fewer people and a path from point A to point B for the many migratory animals that call the Appalachian system home.
The name Kittatinny comes from the Lenni-Lenape people and in translation it means endless mountain because they recognized the unbroken nature of this geological formation that is part of a range thought to be one of the oldest in the world.
In an effort to preserve this noteworthy feature in Pennsylvania’s landscape, the Nature Conservancy is working with interested parties to preserve an expansive 15,000 acres of the Ridge over the next several years.
While the proceeds of the Troegs Trail Day Fund will certainly benefit the cause, a collaboration like this is a way to make the public sensitive to the needs and increasing interest and involvement in the ongoing efforts.
Growing up in southern York County, I wasn’t even familiar with the Kittatinny Ridge. Through the Trail Day campaign, at least one more person (myself) has been informed about its significance.
The preservation of a thoroughfare for wildlife migrating through our state is a worthy cause and certainly one I’m happy to help support, even if it’s just through the purchase of Trail Day pale ale and sharing its story here.
If you’re interested in taking your personal involvement even one step further, you’ll find volunteer opportunities and an action center to advocate through political channels on the Nature Conservancy’s webpage.
Trail Day is a sessionable 5.5% alcohol by volume ale brewed with unmalted Pennsylvania wheat, oats, honey malt and Pilsen malt, and it’s hopped with Citra, El Dorado and Lotus.
It poured a cheerful, hazy amber-orange and was topped with a rocky white head piled on top like the frothy, churned waters at the edge of Appalachian rapids. The aroma offered pineapple, mango, orange, grapefruit and slight dank and floral qualities. In flavor, the unmalted wheat presented itself in graininess while the oats brought a soft, creamy mouthfeel. There were fruity characteristics like orange, grapefruit, pine, pineapple, a candylike sweetness and some green herbal notes at the end; the pithy bitterness that carried through the sips kept those fruity hops in check.
This was an absolutely delightful pale ale and I appreciated that the malt was a prominent character in the cast.
Head to Harrisburg to also see a mural by artist Emily Ding, sponsored by Troegs Independent Brewing and the Nature Conservancy. Between the beer and the mural, the hope is to raise mindfulness in our communities about the value of the Kittatinny Ridge.
Contact Amber DeGrace with comments and questions at firstname.lastname@example.org and find her on Twitter at @amberdegrace.