Photo: DROOO, Flickr
Now, Harrisburg, Pa.'s Tröegs puts out numerous knockouts. The coffee-infused Java Head Stout combines a.m. and p.m. pleasures, while the DreamWeaver Wheat is tangy and banana-tinged. Then there's the Hopback Amber Ale, so-called because the beer circulates through a hop-packed vessel. It's a heady and aromatic home run. But Hopback's bigger brother, the Nugget Nectar, is a grand slam.
"We wanted to take some of the traits inherent to Hopback Amber Ale -- mainly the sweet finish of the caramel malt -- and interpret that into something different," explains brewery manager Ed Yashinsky.
To create this amped-up imperial amber, the Tröegs team increased Nectar's malt and hop load, resulting in a 7.5-percent ABV and 93 IBUs. Naturally, the aroma recalls fresh-cut hops -- earthy and piney, like the best IPAs. Nonetheless, Nugget's no mouth-puckerer: It drinks slick and luscious, with the citrus flavors complemented by the caramel base.
Nugget's so good, I've started looking forward to February.
Care for amped-up amber ales? Hate 'em? Spill it in the comments.
Joshua M. Bernstein has written about brews, bars and booze for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, ForbesTraveler.com and the New York Times.