Style: Imperial/Double Amber/Red Ale or India Red Ale
Color (SRM): Straw / Orange
Malts: Pilsner, Vienna, Munich
Hops: Nugget, Warrior, Tomahawk, Simcoe, Palisade
HopBack Hops: Nugget
Brewer’s Note: “Squeeze those hops for all they’re worth and prepare to pucker up! Nugget Nectar Ale will take hopheads to nirvana with a heady collection of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk hops. Starting with the same base ingredients of our flagship HopBack Amber Ale, Nugget Nectar intensifies the malt and hop flavors to create an explosive hop experience.”
This beer’s label is bad ass. It’s a fist hoisting a clutched hop cone into the air… It screams revolution, and badassery! I love the color scheme with the redish orange, white, yellow, and that big green highlight in the middle. I love the cartooning style for the fist and hop cone, too, as the lines are sharp and the detailing is more complex that one color per item. This bottle is worthy of your shelf and definitely worthy of scrapbooking.
The beer pours a super clean candied light amber, even bordering on orange a little. The head sits at a nice fingers’ width with creamy tight bubbles, which help to make this beer appear quite beautiful in the glass. The beer’s body is practically lager clean, letting almost all of the light through the beer and showing a nice lazy stream of bubbles streaming up the beer. The beer’s lacing is thin and slippery, leaving very little to look at, and really not helping the beer’s appearance. On the nose, this beer smells sweet and resiny. Pine dipped in light caramel bursts onto the nose, reminiscent of big IPA’s smells. The malts do get a little too sweet at times, but overall this smell is enticing. On the tongue the beer tastes crisply bitter and sweet. The beer begins with sweet caramel, melding into sweet piney grapefruit, which blossoms over the tongue, briefly hinting at medicinal flavors before pulling it solidly into resiny pine hops. The finish rings with bready sweet caramel malts, which levels out the beer and brings some balance to the palate, allowing this beer to give a nice big bitter hop bite while still kissing the sweet malts of a traditional amber/red ale. On the mouth, this beer feels thin to medium in body, but clean and crisp, almost like a lager. The mouth is left dry and resiny with a little bit of sweet lingering with saliva in the cheeks of the mouth. Overall, this is a tremendous India Red Ale or whatever you feel fit to call it. I feel like a new style in amber/red ales is coming soon, and this is a beautiful early example of the style. Hoppy like an IPA, yet still sweet and bready on the finish, this beer does some lovely balancing. The bitters do unfortunately hit a place where medicinal aspirin flavors hit the palate, but that fades quickly and doesn’t really downsize the drinkability of this beer. In terms of other India Red Ales, I would note Nugget Nectar as being highly drinkable, and oddly sessionable for its 7.5% ABV. Try this beer.