I don’t there’s a better beer that I look forward to more than Troegs Nugget Nectar. Troegs lists it as an Imperial Amber, though styles have evolved since Nugget first came out. This is a hoppy beer, but one with plenty of malt character, specifically sweeter caramel notes. That balances the dry hops.
This beer is amazing. It’s as perfect a beer as I’ll ever taste, at least as far as my tastes go right now. It’s 7.5% which means it’s got some punch but it’s not gonna wreck your day to have a couple if that’s what the day calls for. It’s hoppy, and it’s that sticky resiny hop flavor that was in the first IPAs I really enjoyed. That stickiness really contributes to mouth feel and presents the other, piney and mango fruit flavors really well. There’s enough malt to balance the bitter and keep it from being too drying, and it all fits together in this perfect little burst of flavor with each sip.
It’s a brilliant bright orange color. It’s got a fluffy head. The logo art is terrific, that of a hand crushing giant hop cone, and to complement that the release events around the seasonal beer are called ‘First Squeeze’.
It comes out a few weeks after the holidays have ended, providing a perfect introduction to the new year. I worked through most of a 12-pack right away, with only one beer remaining that I both really want to drink and don’t want to be gone. This beer works in any situation, whether it’s with food or by itself. As the first beer or the 4th. With friends or when drinking alone.
It’s a little Nugget of perfection, and If someone really did make me choose a ‘desert island beer’ this would be on the short list.
Or, maybe, it’s a financial decision. These delicious craft beers and porters and stouts and imperials all cost more than a draft of American lager that I was happy to slug down all of those years. Maybe a break from drinking is just a way to replenish the bank account. I can respect that.
Or, maybe, you’ve got something cooking like I do.
Bird flu. SARS. Asian swine flu. Swamp fever. Dengue. (NOTE: I am not a medical professional).
Basically, life has sneezed AIDS into my mouth and now I’m hurting.
For the better part of the last six days I’ve felt more or less like the guy in “Jurassic Park” who gets eaten by the T-Rex when he’s sitting on the toilet. Wet, panicky, hiding, on the bowl, waiting to die. That’s my week.
Not really the recipe for finely crafted words about the merits of a certain sour cran concoction served up by the local watering hole, which has been calling me over an Instagram post since Friday.
Not really the recipe for a Flagship February post about Guinness, the beer that really put me on a road towards finding out what else there was to drink in the beer aisle that I was missing out on.
Not really the recipe for that “cross promotional” theme I had been cooking up in my head based on the recently enjoyed Harpoon Dunkin Porter – like, when do we get the Heinz Ketchup Red Ale? The Oscar Meyer Dirty Dog Water Light Lager? And so on…
Not really the recipe for my idea of tying quirky beers to odd folks in my neighborhood, like the whisper thin Asian teen at my local Wegmans who pushes carts back in to the store, and talks to himself loudly all day, or the lady at work who draws her eyebrows on asymmetrically and reminds me of Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson.
And, sure as sugar, not the recipe for drinking and appreciating beers!
So, in the interim, I shall sit here and suck on my ice water, and dream of better health and thirstier days, and the wherewithal to put it all down in new prose for this fine blog.
One of my favorite things about Spotify is their year-end “Spotify Wrapped”, a select summary of a user’s listening habits, the number of hours spent under the headphones and a breakdown of which styles and genres and buzzbands hooked us the deepest and hardest. So apparently I listened to Wilco in 2018 for the equivalent of 2 straight days. Your bet your ass, I did! We spend (read: waste) so much time online and give so much personal information away on the internet, that it’s truly gross and weird how much I love such a tidy review of an entire year of my detailed activity with one company’s product. I had no idea that Untappd used the data we freely allow them to mine to create a similar year-end summation until I read Ceetar’s My 2018 Beers in Review piece based on his Untapped “Year in Beer”. So inspired by that, I cribbed his idea and decided to whip up a post detailing my own beer drinking in 2k18 and here’s what I learned, everybody:
I should drink less beer!
Ceets had said he reliably checks in about 98% of his beers and I do not, friends. I check in only new beers and try to avoid repeats altogether, with a few exceptions. Special or rare treats I’m lucky enough to get more than once (Modern Times offerings, for example) get the re-run treatment. Same with Project Dank by La Cumbre, which is an ever-changing experimental IPA, but the name always remains the same. Beyond those special ones, if it’s a beer that’s clocked a previous check-in, this time it will be swallowed down in quiet anonymity. So while Ceetar reported 397 beers in 2018, this asshole over here counted 354 in new brews alone, with the memories of countless unreported repeat favorites relegated to history’s septic tank by way of the bottom of a stained and yellowed urinal. Beer-drinking is glamorous!
Now to the numbers for the advanced beer-alytics amongst us:
341 unique beers enjoyed over 85 distinct styles at 112 different breweries. If you adjust for park factor (a technical calculation based on how many of these beers were enjoyed under a tree in a park), my Value Over Replacement Drunkard (VORD) is a career best for me, and challenges some of the best beer-drinking seasons on record. And if I continue at this pace, I could be a first-ballot (if insurance approves) liver replacement recipient!
Now back to the minutiae. The repeat beer I checked in the most (all of 4 check-ins) was the Sucker Punch Double IPA, brewed by local heavyweights Boxing Bear Brewing Co., an outfit that collects medals like Michael Phelps.
While I drank American IPAs more than any other varietal (86 check-ins), the style I rated the most highly was the Imperial Stout – the average overall rating for this type of dark and boozy dream was rewarded with a handsome 4.17 rating by yours truly.
Gun to my head, I think I would pick La Cumbre Brewing Company as my favorite beer maker in my home state of New Mexico, but the brewery I frequented the most was Bosque Brewing Company (37 check-ins!). It’s our neighborhood watering hole and the clear favorite establishment of my girlfriend, who is basically like a made guy there. Back in the day, we’d walk in and be carded like all the other Janes and Joes, but now they shake our hands and greet us with reverence like we’re mobsters who invested in their joint to clean all our dirty money. It’s awesome.
Back to the thing. Maybe the coolest part of the Untappd Year in Beer, though, is the map:
A cross-country motorsickle trip last fall afforded me the opportunity to taste beers in a few locations in the south and southeast that I wouldn’t otherwise buy. I’m talking to you, Lonestar.
I found a few decent offerings up in Colorado, and Washington state was solid, but now I’m just getting super excited to drop pins all over my 2k19 map.
I’m hoping for another stop at SoCal suds mecca San Diego, but at the very top of the list is a summer vacation to France and Spain, and while we’re that close, we’re gonna shoot very had to jump the straight and visit Morocco. The idea of setting foot on African soil is this huge, bucketlist-y goal fueled by curiosity, adventure and a desire to meet other people and experience their culture.
BUT ALSO to buy a beer I’ve never heard of somewhere in Tangier, post a picture of it to brag that I’m at a cool place that you’re not, and then check-in that beer on another stupid app to share with a bunch of far-away strangers on my goddamn cell phone. A sadly authentic human experience in 2019!
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