For beer nerds in the Northeast, there are few things that signal that Spring is arriving more than Nugget Nectar. It is brewed in Pennsylvania by Troegs, a family brewery that puts out a good variety of well made beer. To give you an idea of how much people love this beer, I will tell a short anecdote. My local beer store received 30 cases of Nugget Nectar one Thursday afternoon and posted on their facebook around 1pm that they had it. I went at 4:30 and snagged the last available 6 pack. Since I had never had this before, I had to try it, so I was very happy to get my hands on some.
To give a little bit of info, Nugget Nectar is an Imperial Amber style. It is also 7.5% ABV, so it packs a little bit of a punch, but is by no means too boozy. To be perfectly honest, regardless of how it is labeled, Nugget Nectar is an IPA to me. It is a good IPA, but still an IPA. Generally I think of Ambers as having a maltier flavor than their IPA cousins. Nugget Nectar, as the name implies, has no shortage of hops. None at all. The hops are present in the beer from your first whiff to the last drop that remains on your tongue.
Don't get me wrong, I like the beer. I just think it may be mislabeled. I had been reading all sorts of reviews in my preparation for first tasting and I happen to disagree with a lot of them. First of all, the mostly widely proclaimed thing about this is how the malt is striking. Maybe I am just not used to the style, or maybe I am just more accustomed to the big malts of Belgian beers, but I found the maltiness to be light and pleasant. The beer is extremely drinkable, albeit hoppy.
I came to the IPA conclusion after my second Nugget Nectar of the night one Thursday. If someone had told me that it is an IPA, I wouldn't bat an eyelash. I also happen to think that it is an extremely well made IPA. It isn't overly hoppy for an IPA and the malt does provide a good balance with that in mind.
Please don't get on my case for having this issue with the style. I am very clear about the fact that I am not a hop head. I am very familiar with a lot of different beer style, however, and this tastes like the best American IPA I have had to date.
I really did enjoy Nugget Nectar. It is a delicious beer. However, among the beer snob community in the Northeast, my simple mention of the style issue would be enough to get me berated by a hop head (it has happened before). Everybody needs to cool it when someone doesn't like a beer that they do. Everybody has their own palate and that should be respected. It actually speaks to how good of a beer Nugget Nectar is. It is a style that I don't particularly care for, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. That's my two cents. You can take it or leave it.
Glassware: Pint glass, mug
Synonym Beer: Ithaca Cascazilla
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