This week I managed to get a bottle of Trӧegs Nugget Nectar Ale. I’ve heard about this beer from friends and family for years, but I’ve never managed to get a bottle as it’s a limited release in February of each year. This beer promises to be interesting, utilizing five types of hops during the boil, additional hops in a HopBack, plus dry hopping after fermentation, coupled with Vienna malt for color and Munich malt for a shot of sweetness on a base of enough Pilsner malt to give this beer a significant alcohol content.
Trӧegs Independent Craft Brewery was established by Chris and John Trogner in 1996 in Harrisburg, Pa., and they began selling in 1997. The brothers discovered the joy of good beer half a country apart — Chris while attending college in Colorado and John while working in the real estate market in Philadelphia. After realizing that they both wanted to open a brewery, they worked out a business plan and set to the task. John moved to Boulder, Colo., to work for Oasis Brewpub, during which time he took classes at University of California at Davis and the Seibel Institute of Technology in Chicago, two of the best brewing technology programs in the United States. John, on the other hand, worked to learn the marketing and management skills that they would need to successfully run a brewery, after which he took a brewing class at University of Sunderland in England.
The timing of the brewery’s opening in 1997, one year behind Victory Brewing Company in 1996, placed Trӧegs as one of the first microbreweries in Pennsylvania. Since then, demand for Trӧegs’ beer has grown steadily, enabling them to construct a new, custom built brewery in Hershey, Pa. that is set to open later this year.
The beer poured a beautiful honey-orange golden hue without a hint of sediment. The head formed as only a thin layer of coarse white foam even after a vigorous pour, which dissipated quickly. After two minutes only a very thin skim remained in the center and around the edge, although that small amount of head left a surprising amount of lacing. The aroma was a surprising combination of sweet, fruity scents of apple and, surprisingly, honeysuckle which contrasted with a very significant hop aroma.
The hops initially had a very grapefruit citrus nature, but they quickly developed a more piney character. The body was moderate and the carbonation was low, giving a very smooth mouthfeel that did not linger. The taste was quite sweet up front, which had a very, light fruity sweetness to it, like a combination of apples and nectarines. This sweetness actually rose above a very significant hop character, which was only moderately bitter. The hop character mostly consisted of strong grapefruit and pine notes, with the pine dominating later on.
This beer was very enjoyable, but the taste profile is somewhat eclectic. Many people who enjoy sweet beers hate the taste of hops, and most of the hopheads out there prefer very dry beers. Regardless of how it compares to other beers on the market, if you want to try something interesting, this beer is definitely worth it.