Ahoy hoy, fair readers. Upon deciding to jump into the tasting note game, I found myself unsure of which beer should have the honour of being the first to undergo the Skullsplitter treatment. Because I plan to travel to Pittsburgh next week for a visit with Mr. Six-Pack, I decided to track down one of the Keystone State’s finer offerings. After some consultation with the beer menu at my local craft beer growler distributor, I had narrowed the selection down to a few different beers. The bar offered me a generous sampling of each, and I happily walked away with 64 oz. of Tröegs Nugget Nectar Imperial Amber Ale.*
*I won’t lie, the umlaut really was the deciding factor.
Tröegs Brewing Company is based in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The brewery makes some fine year-round brews, along with some excellent seasonal beers. The Nugget Nectar, considered by many Aleheads to be Tröegs’ finest quaff, is a spring seasonal red ale. Spring has come earlier than usual to the greater New York region, so I felt that this fine ale would be just the ticket for a beautiful spring day.
I found the Nectar on tap at my local craft beer bar, The Pony Bar, on the west side of Manhattan. The bar has a frequently rotating selection of American craft beers, and I highly recommend it to all of our NYC readers. Since I planned to write a tasting note on the beer, I bought a reasonably priced (for Manhattan, anyway) growler of beer to bring back to the Skullsplitter croft. Once home, I cracked open the growler and poured the first beer into a pint glass, as recommended on the Tröegs website.
The beer poured a nice amber color. It maintained its off-white head for a reasonable period of time, and as the head disappeared it left behind some very nice lacing on the glass. The smell was very citrusy, and hoppier than I had expected from a red ale. The smell reminded me almost of an IPA, rather than an amber. However, the taste showed the true nature of this beer. The Nectar was very nicely balanced with a big hoppy presence upfront, quickly mollified by a smooth, malty finish. I didn’t find the beer to leave a particularly bitter aftertaste, which was rather impressive considering the huge hop profile at first taste. Finally, although the beer was 7.5% abv, the alcohol flavor stayed very much in the background and was not conspicuous in the taste.
Most of all, I found this beer to be extremely drinkable. Although its alcohol content is probably too high to be considered a classic session beer, it is very enjoyable. I could definitely envision myself throwing back a few of these and watching a baseball game on a warm April evening. I give this beer 3.5 hops, and I highly recommend it to people looking for big hop profiles without the bitter aftertaste that some IPAs can leave.