I have not been able to go on any of the brewery tours in the Harrisburg area (troges, application) My question is are they worth going on. Are they truly educational and are they any small breweries in the area I may not have heard of that would offer tours.
I've never been on the tour at Appalachian, but it's a nice brew pub for what it's worth. Troeg's on the other hand, I've been on their tour many times over the years of their expansion (and now relocation). It's a very good tour, one of my favorites (though Sam Adams is a lot of fun if you find yourself in Boston) overall. They are in the middle of relocating to a bigger location, so I can't guarantee how the tours are of late, but last I was in a few months ago it was still nice.
I actually just did the Yuengling tour this weekend, though it may be a little bit of a hike. I went to Troeg's directly after and believe it was about an hour drive. It was a fantastic tour, especially when comparing something like Yuengling, a brewery (as opposed to being a micro) and seeing how large their scale is, then seeing something like Troeg's, a microbrewery. It certainly gives a different understanding and appreciation for both ends of the spectrum, in my opinion. Plus, with Yuengling being such an old brewery, it is pretty neat to see the contrast in equipment and what things are similar, what is done differently, etc. Highly recommend both tours, as both have some neat stories and very different backgrounds.
I would definately suggest the Troegs tour. A good amount of the time, the tours are actually led by one of the Trogner brothers. It's pretty informative.
My suggestion is to start on Saturday by going there at 12:00 when they open. Get your name on the tour list if you haven't reserved a spot. Order one of their samplers. Sit down and try all the beers. By the time you are done, the first tours is getting ready to kick off. When you're done, just grab another of the beers you liked best, fill up a growler, and check out the gift shop.
Definitely try to get to Troegs before their old location in Harrisburg closes. It will be cool to see how things change when they open their new brewery in Hershey next year; supposedly they will be tripling their capacity.