Monday, February 11, 2008

Just Firkin In The Woods

It’s that time of year again. Nugget Nectar saw its release a few weeks ago and the Eastern Conference wins again. This beer is divine. Extremely cost effective for a seasonal beer of such delicious proportions…now here’s where it gets fun.

Last year i had a pint of it pulled from the hand pumps at Teresa’s Next Door and it was an otherworldly experience. I could smell the hops from about a foot and a half away and the fullness of flavor and smoothness of this beer was just spot on. So when i heard that Union Jacks – Manatawny was doing a Troegs promo with a firkin of Nugget Nectar, i knew it was an occasion not to miss.

Troegs has been on a tear the last few years. Their big seasonals (Nugget Nectar and the Mad/Naked Elves) have huge followings ‘round these parts. There is a cool divide between the two because on one hand you have a hop forward “Imperial Amber” that needs to be found and enjoyed as soon as you can get your hands on it. It’s delicate, all those hops aren’t getting any better the longer they sit so you need to be proactive. The Mad and Naked Elf offerings are vintage worthy. They are of Belgian leanings and with the Mad Elf’s depth of flavor from chocolate malt, local honey, and cherry layers you'll be thankful in a year or two when someone offers you a vertical flight after Christmas dinner.

Their Scratch Beer Series has been a great way to get the public involved in a ritual of anticipation and scramble as Troegs only bottles 200 cases of these single release beers and only sells them at the brewery. The series is a dedication to the Trogner brothers in their fertile pre-brewery state. They were learning the business while homebrewing and these beers come directly from the notes they took while bubbling wort as green little brewers on their way to big, big things.

The Scratch Beer Series by style has consisted of the following beers, great descriptions here:

Scratch #1: California Common
Scratch #2: Porter
Scratch #3: Tripel
Scratch #4: Barleywine
Scratch #5: Imperial Oatmeal Stout
Scratch #6: Unfiltered Export Lager
Scratch #7: Weizenbock
Scratch #8: Grand Cru (rumored, not yet released)

Ok, so enough background. If you know Troegs you know all that stuff. The firkin was amazing, it was delicious, but what came with it made for a very special evening indeed. Troegs sent their super-rep Nick in to tout the beer as well as one of their brewers Whitney Thompson. Also in tow was Larry Horowitz, brewer de royale` with Iron Hill.

You could see the excitement for Nugget Nectar and for Craft Beer oozing out of them. Talking to them you could tell that these people genuinely love what they do and are excited to share it with the rest of us. Commerce is a weird, weird thing and it is good to know that the community aspects of Craft Beer mirror a lot of the principles upon which the industry itself is based. Later in the evening (where it began to get a little foggy for me) Brian O’Reilly of the Sly Fox showed up as well. The camaraderie between these three brewers of far different outfits and business models was extremely inspiring.

This is why we support our local brewers so heavily: in addition to the amazing beer and events they provide for us, they really love what they’re doing, are proud of it, and can gather to celebrate each others’ successes. Cheers to them.

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