Multiple Beer Reviews: Scratch 382 – Blackberry Lime Tart Ale, Scratch 383 – Hazy IPA (Citra, Galaxy & Simcoe), Dear Peter, and Naked Elf (Troegs Brewing Company)

Multiple Beer Reviews: Scratch 382 – Blackberry Lime Tart Ale, Scratch 383 – Hazy IPA (Citra, Galaxy & Simcoe), Dear Peter, and Naked Elf (Troegs Brewing Company)

Flight of beers I had when stopping by Troegs in my pursuit of procrastination.

So what do we got here? Oooh, a flight you say. Nope! What we have here is “procrastination”. (Its one of those big words that grownups use and do, but kids just call ‘being lazy’ and ‘having fun’.)

This is what I *WAS* doing while I *WAS* …. *SUPPOSED* to be mowing the yard inside my fence, finishing my errands, doing yard work, weeding, or doing my writing about this blog. Instead of all of those “fun” things…. I was sitting under the awning in the beer garden area of Troegs Brewing Company at Hershey on HersheyPark Drive (or Airport Road if you’re 55+) drinking this wonderful and delicious flight and reading about Fashion from Madeleine Albright (oops, I mean Fascism… crap this isn’t the book I was expecting it to be!).

Oh, and nerd out moment, I was also sending this Tweet: (which got re-Tweeted by Troegs: So there was that “nerd out” moment for me, and now I can finally say “research done, project completed” and be able to link this up to Twitter and complete some massive Twitter inception (Tweetception?) like I did when I re-tweeted the re-tweet of the original tweet. (Yea, I’m new to Twitter, and didn’t know that was a thing or that it could be done. I feel like this could be a vicious cycle that would never be completed until one of the two parties ceased to be….. if only we would just continue for all of eternity re-tweeting the same tweet back and forth amongst each other.)

Once again, I found myself at Troegs (was running errands in the area, and was actually supposed to stop at the Hershey Public Library — support your local libraries people — but managed to run out of time due to drinking and reading, so needless to say the mowing didn’t happen, the hop harvest didn’t happen, and the trip to the Hershey Public Library didn’t happen). But what I did find was that the flight system which was going through a revamping process last time I was here, has now completed its revamping. While in line, or at your table, or at the bar, you can grab a slip of paper and write down the 4 beers you want to make a flight of. You are then given those four beers on their little circles of paper. You pay per beer and based on what the beer is. (From my flight, Scratches 382 and 383 as well as Naked Elf were 2.50$ and Dear Peter was 3.75$.) The chalkboard says 8$-15$ for the flight. (All of the beers were listed at at least 2.50$ for 4oz pours, today anyway, so minimum flight would be 10$, plus the minimum 2$ tip you should be leaving, don’t be cheapskates people, so minimum the flight should run you 12$ and possibly maximum of 17-18$).

Not sure if I prefer this style of flight system as compared to their previous 3 for 6$, but time will tell. I did enjoy seeing Dear Peter and a few other (Blackberry Tizzy) cork and cage Splinter/Foeder series on the 4oz listings for flights, so thats nice.

My original intent for stopping in was to grab a 4pk of Naked Elf and a 4pk of Fuzzy Nudge. I was half denied and half accomplished – Naked Elf was plentiful, but Fuzzy Nudge was sold out in cans, but was on tap. (I have found someone getting me a 4pk, so no worries people, I will get to enjoy the Ffej peach beer, and I will give it a review.)

Naked Elf is one of my favorite beers that Troegs makes, and I look forward to it every year. (Moreso than Mad Elf, especially the older I get, and the more styles, and beers, and flavors, and experience I have, I find myself liking Mad Elf less, but loving Naked Elf more. I still find myself loving the crap out of Nimble Giant and Nugget Nectar, so my Troegs love has definitely not waned too much.)

Let’s dig into this flight.

Scratch 382 – Blackberry Lime Sour Tart Ale

A beautiful beer usually means it tastes (beautiful?) good! And that adage holds up here completely.

Beer: Scratch 382 – Blackberry Lime Tart Ale
Brewery: Troegs Brewing Company
Style: Sour – Fruited
ABV: 5%
Untappd Write-Up: For Scratch #382, we’re doubling down on a combination of blackberries and lime. The tartness of the limes and a first fermentation with lactobacillus is supported by a rich backbone of oats and honey malt. A strong second fermentation with Hornindal Kveik yeast adds subtle notes of pineapple and pushes the ABV to 5%.
We taste: earthy berries, lime zest, tart citrus.

Well the write-up is definitely spot on with the tastings of berry, lime zest, and tart citrus. For my notes I already had written down about how much the blackberry shines through, how the lime gives it a great zesty sting to the beer, and that there is a great tart to sour backbone with a fruity citrus to it — and this was all before I even looked it up on Untappd (shocking I figured out something like that on my own!).

Appearance is a beautiful pretty off-reddish coloring typical of fruited beers, specifically fruited sours. The carbonation is right, the glass is clean, and the appearance is just stunning.

Aroma is very heavy berry with some of the lime sneaking past the blackberries. A wonderful cocktail assaulting my nose hairs (they do need trimmed a bit).

From initial sip you get a powerful earthy blackberry taste that immediately gets punched through by zest-lime sting. As you sip and enjoy, you begin to pucker a little bit, feeling that tart kick in, with a fruity citrus flavor that does nothing but add to the beer. When Troegs really wants to work on a sour, they can do them wonderfully, and this scratch definitely showcases their abilities at sours. I would love to see them do a lot more in this vein.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.88 (as of 7.26.19)

Scratch 383 – Hazy IPA (Citra, Galaxy & Simcoe)

Three wonderful hops that work in a great TriForce of hop glory: Citra, Galaxy, and Simcoe. And no, I’m not breaking that nerd bit down into smaller bits, just enjoy that call-out for those who know and get the reference.

Beer: Scratch 383 – Hazy IPA (Citra, Galaxy & Simcoe)
Brewery: Troegs Brewing Company
Style: IPA – American
ABV: 7.4%
IBU: (blank)
Hops: Simcoe, Citra, Galaxy
Untappd Write-Up: This hazy take on an IPA is the first time we’ve explored this hop combination. Of course, we know Simcoe’s creamsicle notes from Nugget Nectar and Citra’s citrusy profile from Perpetual IPA. Galaxy, an Australian hop variety we haven’t used a lot, brings in notes of juicy fruit. Dry-hopping earlier in fermentation transforms the expected hop profile and leads us toward grapefruit and passionfruit, and oats in the malt bill add texture and body to support the hops.
We taste: grapefruit rind, passionfruit, bubblegum

I am surprised to see that this is Troeg’s first usage of Simcoe, Galaxy, and Citra together, just on the basis alone of the amount of IPAs they’ve produced, I almost have to think they’ve ran through every combination of hops by this point (obviously being facetious here). But this combination definitely works wonders, and hopefully we’ll see them explore it more and use it more.

The appearance looks a little less hazy than some true hazy IPAs I’ve had recently or had in general, but it still falls on the hazy spectrum as far as IPAs go and appearances. A nice orange-straw hazy concoction.

Aroma is very hoppy. A strong punch of the more floral and fruity hop notes with the dankness of the Simcoe hops. Grapefruit, sweet and sticky fruit, bit of mango, and that ‘dank’ for lack of better words hop smell all mix and combine here.

Taste is very much same vein as the aroma. I didn’t pick up any bubblegum like the Untappd notes suggest, but I did get a bit of sweetness behind the hops. Almost in a cloying way but not quite that strong at it. The mouthfeel is very nice and while on the more heavier side of IPAs its not too strong or lingering. The hops do deliver on notes of grapefruit, mango, floral hop, and the grassyness that can come from Simcoe.

My Untappd Rating: ****
Global Untappd Rating: 3.99 (as of 7.26.19)

Dear Peter, a Warning or a Difficult Art?

Dear Peter comes from the Splinter series that Troegs does (the old Flying Mouflan, Impending Descent, Master of Pumpkins), now represented with the cork and caged beers that come from those giant Foeders that you can see as you drive down HersheyPark Drive on your way to becoming “HersheyPark Happy” with three screaming girls after eight hours in 90+ degree summer heat with a real-feel index of 114 as you stand in line waiting for the SkyRush or Great Bear on asphalt…. Sorry for the digression…. But the new Foeder beers like Dear Peter, Farmette, Blackberry Tizzy, Freaky Peach, etc, have produced some wonderful beers (my favorite being the Blackberry Tizzy). Typically Troegs has done these as just the bottles (13$ a pop) and they didn’t appear in kegs to be on draft, or to be used for the flights. So it was certainly a nice surprise to see this one up on the chalkboard, so I jumped on it (I believe this is the last of the Foeder beers for me to try.)

Beer: Dear Peter
Brewery: Troegs Brewing Company
Style: American Wild Ale
ABV: 6%
IBU: 9
Untappd Write-Up: Dear Peters family… We heard about the nectarines that were bruised in a hailstorm. Well, what won’t work at a roadside stand will be aces for brewing. We’re picturing a bracing sour with a sweet over-ripe nose. Brett for funk, lacto for pucker, and a spell on oak to bring it all home. Those nectarines? We’ll take ’em all!

This was certainly sour, and in a completely wonderful way. Nectarines aren’t done a whole lot in beers, its mostly mangos, peaches, oranges, blood oranges, etc, seems the little step-child Nectarine gets forgotten about most times.

The appearance is a beautiful honey-brown coloring. You can tell it spent some time in wood and it looks wonderful for it all.

Aroma is heavy fruit, but you also get an immediate impression that there is something funky with it, like you can just smell the sour exuding from the beer.

This probably ranks up there with the first generation/batch of Wild Elf (yes, I’ll be “that guy” and say the generations/batches after the first weren’t as good) and Blackberry Tizzy.

This is a sour, but its more of the funky/tangy variety rather than the sour/tart normal sour beer. This is not a knock on the beer or a bad thing, just pointing out the differences. Funky/Tangy does not equate to bad, nor does sour/tart, just different. And I think with the fruit involved here (Nectarines) that it works perfectly. This is a wonderful drinking beer that I can see the 13$ cost being worth for a bottle of it. Thats not something you can say for every beer.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 3.95 (as of 7.26.19)

Naked Elf, 2019, definitely a Difficult Art

You know what Naked Elf and Fascism have in common? No matter what you try and do about either one, it keeps coming back, every year.

Ha! Nice transition right? I think I learned that in one of my “essays writing” classes I took, or … maybe I just got drunk and dreamed it. Either way, thats my transition and I’m keeping with it.

So what we got here is the naked version of Mad Elf. An even crazier version of a crazy Elf? Sort of.

I am not going to really do a full review on this. (Sorry to disappoint). But this is one of my favorites from Troegs, and since I picked up a 4pk (like I do every year, at minimum), I will do a full indepth review on just Naked Elf, straight from the can, into my glass. But I will give you the Untappd notes on the 2019 version of this, as well as the original version(s), and will give my ratings, and that will be all she wrote for this blog update.

Naked Elf (2019)
Brewery: Troegs Brewing Company
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 6.9%
IBU: 17
Untappd Write-Up: (blank)

My Untappd Rating: ****.5
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 7.26.19) (out of 45 ratings)

Naked Elf
Brewery: Troegs Brewing Company
Style: Belgian Strong Dark Ale
ABV: 8.5%
IBU: 17
Untappd Write-Up: Gone are the cherries, honey and chocolate malt that dress up our holiday favorite Mad Elf, leaving “him” stark-raving nude to reveal notes of cinnamon, allspice, clove and tangy fruity esters.

My Untappd Rating: ****.5
Global Untappd Rating: 3.87 (as of 7.26.19) (out of 11,119 ratings)

Find it kind of interesting how both Untappd versions have the same global rating, despite one being out of 45 reviews/ratings and the other being out of 11,119 ratings/reviews. Isn’t statistics fun?

Ok, and to complete the Tweetceptions, here’s the re-tweet of the re-tweet by Troegs of my Tweet:

And here’s my Tweet of this blog’s article post, just to make everything like the Ouroboros and make it an ad infinitum loop:

You are all now stuck in the loop, or the Matrix, or whatever. Enjoy!

-B. Kline

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