When we think of great winter seasonal beers, we often go straight to the darker spiced styles known as winter warmers or rich roasty Belgian Style Ales. But how about a powerfully hoppy ale? That's what's on tap for the winter at Tröegs Brewing Company in Hershey, PA: Nugget Nectar, an imperial strength version of the brewer's flagship Hopback Amber Ale, is the most refreshing brew you'll drink all winter.
The reason to turn to an ultra-hoppy ale for the blustery winter months? Freshness. "We brew and release Nugget Nectar to coincide with our annual hop deliveries," says Tröegs' co-owner Chris Trogner. "We try to ship it out of the brewery within days of it being packaged to maintain that huge hop taste. This year, we packaged all bottles within six weeks and completed shipping the beer within four." The rush to market means that the beer is still bursting with intense flavors of pine and mango, a resiny, almost sticky sweetness to match an intense bitterness.
Troegs typically introduces the beer in late January and tries to sell it through April, but the demand for the beer runs so high that it has never been able to make it last past March. While Tröegs has promised that it's brewing more this year, it can't guarantee if it'll be available into April. Even if Tröegs can keep it on the shelves until that time, and you manage to buy a few bottles, it's best not to hold on to any of them for the rest of the year. "Hop flavors die off first and this beer is about massive amounts of hops with a slightly sweet finish," warns Trogner. [troegs.com]