25 March 2013

Bumper amber nectar

Ever since I met Speakeasy Prohibition, American amber ale has been one of my favourite beer styles. And happily it's a fairly straightforward sort of beer to brew: a generous helping of dark crystal malt and lashings of lovely C-hops for a medium-strength beer that's big on flavour but well balanced too.

So it's always a welcome opportunity to try a new example of the style, as well as variations. Tröegs Nugget Nectar is one of the latter, being an "Imperial Amber": 7.5% ABV and hopped to 93 IBUs with a heady combination of Nugget, Warrior and Tomahawk.

I think I prefer my ambers a bit darker than this: it's a beautiful shade of polished copper but could pass as many an English bitter on the visuals. Surprisingly, and a wee bit disappointingly, it's rather a subtle beer: the aroma is fresh and soft, with elements of juicy peach and honeydew and perhaps a slightly more intense jasmine perfume undercurrent. Nothing striking jumps out on tasting -- the palate is served with several sensations at once: there's definitely an astringent, almost metallic, bitterness but it sits next to smooth creamy toffee and fruity mandarin zest. Written down it sounds more full-on than it is, but the flavours all work together creating an experience that isn't really suited to pulling apart into its constituent elements.

It's impossible to argue with the quality of Nugget Nectar, yet it leaves me hankering for something similar but more assertive in one direction or another. Balance isn't everything.

Glass tip to Richard for supplying the bottle.

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