Quick Take: Nugget Nectar has always been a solid beer over the years and one that I’ve enjoyed whether from frequent growler fills or bottles. A great drinker that is a highlight of the Amber style, but not a hugely complex beer for featuring hops. Nugget Nectar is the beer to bridge the gap between a malty Amber ale and a citrusy IPA, making it an option for the IPA curious to start their journey to full hop head. Balanced and highly drinkable.
Brew Facts: While typically thought of as an IPA, this is technically an imperial Amber that is built on the blueprint of another Troegs beer, HopBack Amber. Nugget Nectar amplifies the malt and hops, dosing it with Nugget, Tomahawk, and Warrior. This is also the first year for Nugget Nectar to come in cans. Sexy!
Appearance: Pours a glowing amber/orange mixed with gold, capping the glass with a thick, fluffy, finger-sized head of bubbly foam. A flat out gorgeous beer. I could gaze on this for hours as some sort of beer water feature out on the front lawn or Andy Warhol type art on the wall. The crystalline clarity radiates with the color of liquid grain. Beautiful stuff and I hope this year’s batch excites my tongue as much as my eyes.
Aroma: A hand cover and sniff yields some soapy hops, sweet honey/caramel grain and malt. Fruity esters weave their way out, featuring deep peach and mango, and a faint undercurrent of grapefruit and pine. As it’s not really an IPA, the emphasis is on the sweet side, reminding one more of something like the honey forward Hopslam or fruit basket aspect of Chillwave than the resin and hops of Dirt Wolf.
Taste/Mouth Feel: I break through the lush head and take a long sip. Creamy soft, but full mouthfeel that could be a turn off if you like your hopped beers crisp. For me, I love the weight and the somewhat silky feel even as it coats the mouth and lips. On further reflection, it has the mouth slickness of an IPL (India Pale Lager).
The taste features a touch of honey, grapefruit/pine on the front and a bready malt mid with a bitter hit that resurfaces on the finish. The citrus comes with some resin, tang and a hint of pine sol on the back of the tongue as the nectar heads down the throat. The sweeter qualities of the aroma blend well to keep that malt as a feature rather than a star player. The controlled sweet really works here and makes for a balanced beer.
The finish is lite, toasted grain bitterness that lingers in the mouth and on the tongue. As I continue to drink, the bitterness increases to a dry, yet oddly foamy bitter hit. A small amount of heat in the throat and tummy follows afterward, which is surprising given the modest ABV.
Final Thoughts: I came to 2015 Nugget Nectar having already had a small taste on draft. I found the tap features more hoppy fruit flavors that were absent from the bottle, making this a beer you want to try at least twice. That said, Nugget Nectar has always been a solid beer over the years and one that I’ve enjoyed whether from frequent growler fills or bottles. A great drinker that is a highlight of the Amber style, but not a hugely complex beer for featuring hops. However, it doesn’t need to be.
Nugget Nectar is the beer to bridge the gap between a malty Amber ale and a citrusy IPA, making it an option for the IPA curious to start their journey to full hop head. The great looks and creamy, full mouth feel, even if it’s a bit slick, are a real highlight of this year’s batch and one of my favorite local brews for when I want to do some drinking, not thinking. It’s only a matter of time before my fridge is 24 cans heavier with nuggety goodness. Balanced and highly drinkable.
Recommendation: Great for social gatherings and day-to-day drinking. Get it.