4.5AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
It’s almost a cliché these days to talk about how intense and hoppy American craft beers are becoming. In fact, it’s reaching a point where hoppy beers are saturating the market and we might even see a backlash against it. I don’t see anything wrong, in principle, with this trend since I drink beers for their quality - not their popularity. Troegs Nugget Nectar is, as of this writing, one of the trendiest and hoppiest brews on the craft beer scene and for good reason - it’s delicious and highly drinkable. It’s a genuine bitter beer, not a gimmicky, arbitrary brew.
APPEARANCE AND AROMA
I rarely get caught up on a beer’s surface elements of appearance and aroma, but as soon as I poured Nugget Nectar I immediately had an intense craving for it. This beer is a beautiful, clear shade of reddish amber and forms a perfectly-proportioned layer of frothy, off-white head (which lasts until the last sip and leaves generous lacing on the glass).
The aroma is extremely inviting with an intense presence of tropical fruit or citrus (I’m thinking mango, tangerine and ruby red grapefruit). There also seems to be a bit of a sweet piney component to the nose indicating this is a real beer at heart.
My first sip of Troegs Nugget Nectar was akin to taking a huge gulp of tropical fruit juice after being parched for days - not only was it extremely refreshing, but the taste was wonderful. Immediately I get a tart, bitter taste of grapefruit, orange and passion fruit. As the beer finishes the malts take over to deliver a sweeter component of confectionary sugar. It’s a great one-two punch of satisfying flavor.
The hops linger for only a little while with this beer. There is a noticeable dry aftertaste, similar to East Coast-style IPAs with a sticky, dry, piney resin coating but not quite as intense. This is an amber ale after all, so the beer is a bit drier than an India pale ale. Still, the flavor combinations of citrus and sweetness really add up to form an impressive palate.
What’s interesting is this beer uses nugget, warrior and tomahawk hops for an IBU rating of "93ish" according to the bottle, yet it doesn’t taste quite that bitter. It’s also nice to drink a hoppy beer that utilizes these types of hops instead of the usual cascade variety.
Troegs labels this beer as an "imperial amber," which would seem to indicate an overtly intense, boozy quality, but I found Nugget Nectar to be surprisingly drinker-friendly. There is no alcohol present in the nose, the taste or aftertaste - the malts and hops do all the work here. Even at 7.5% ABV this is still only above-average in terms of potency and it definitely drinks as such (one glass only had me slightly tingling and two had me barely buzzed).
Despite the intense bitterness this is still not a challenging beer to drink. The mouthfeel is rather soft, although thick, but finishes smooth. It’s not the kind of beer you could slug down easily, but it isn’t the type only professional drinkers can get down. The great taste lends it to savoring and tastes just as good on the last drop as it did from the first sip.
I drank this beer with a friend who isn’t as big of a fan of intensely-hopped beers as I am but even he felt the great taste and drinkability made Troegs Nugget Nectar a very good beer. If you’re into beers with chutzpah you’ll probably find this beer to be a winner. Even if you’re not, you’ll likely appreciate the great taste and be surprised at just how enjoyable it really is.