Beer Review: Double Nugget Nectar (Troegs Independent Craft Brewing)

Beer Review: Double Nugget Nectar (Troegs Independent Craft Brewing)

Side by side of Double Nugget Nectar and Nugget Nectar (regular / original) by Troegs Independent Craft Brewing

The above is from last night, after a day was had, in which most things – none of the things – played out as intended, by any means, plans, expectations, and happenstance. This is a beer review, and more, and its almost more of a commentary. This is a beer review and talk of how things can be handled, how things could be handled better, and more. This will be an interesting beer review, because I might actually spend more of the review discussing things like hype, market, promoting your brand, etc; than I do on the beer itself. This will not be a rage long into the night or a damnation or a fight. It also won’t be a fan boy esque crushing on a brewery or much more. I think this will be a reasonable review – at least I hope so. But I think it will also be a realistic review.


Also, before we get into it – kudos to my man Ming with the photobomb.

How to alienate, annoy, anger, and upset your fans and followers in three easy steps….

That should probably be the main title for this. By now, 11AM Friday the 22nd (2021), we all know the story. Anyone whose reading this has access to the internet, and most likely has seen the large amounts of complaints on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. lobbed at Troegs Brewing. From various Facebook groups – like Beer Gods, Beer Nerds, Breweries in PA, Central PA Whalerz, etc, there was much angst, anger, and bitterness at Troegs.

So what went wrong? What led to all of this bitter hostility and anger?

Well, this will probably get long winded. This might also get dogged down into debates and discussion on business practices. I want to be upfront here and say I do not work for Troegs Brewing, I do not receive free stuff from them, and I haven’t received this beer in lieu of review. I normally don’t mention this when doing my reviews, because practically always I buy the beer myself that I review. I say “Hey, I wanna try that beer” and I go and buy it or try it in some fashion and then say “Hey, I wanna review that beer” and I go and write a review of it. Simple as that. I am mentioning this here, because I think its relevant for the discussion that this beer review – blog post – will have. And some of that discussion centers around brand, hype, and marketing. I know some local bloggers Billy Five Caps (Bearcat on Beer), and others might have a very positive spin on things; especially Bearcat as he’s a big time Troegs fanboy (and as his Twitter stated, he was first in line yesterday). (His blog often mentions how he received things from Troegs directly, their Mad Elf cheese, or a beer, etc.)

This will be a tempered discussion. And it will be what I think is realistic, but also my thoughts and opinion. There will be some “so and so said” or grapevine comments, but the main parts and points will be my opinion on what I think was done and why it was done.

So firstly, lets start by breaking this down and starting from the very beginning…

A new dawn is cracked and the day begins

I was at my friend’s house late Wednesday into Thursday. We were doing a stream for his Knights of Nostalgia page. where we played Mega Man V (5). We started the stream around 9:45PM, and ended around 3AM or so, we went pretty late. I then sat around and chatted and bullshitted with him til about 5, got gas, and went home. I woke up at 8, and kind of snoozed / vegged in the bed before fully getting ready and starting my day.

Around 930 AM I was starting to see things pop up on the various Facebook groups that people were already lining up at Troegs. I wasn’t really sure if people were joking around or not. (As it turns out – no, they weren’t joking around.) Struggling to get up from the late night drinking session and streaming, I finally get my shower at 10AM. Get to my car at 1015 and head to Troegs. Living in Hummelstown, its about a five-ten minute drive depending on the traffic on Hershey Park Drive. Coming up on the Troegs Brewery, I can already see the parking lot is completely packed, I can see a car parked on the side of the road, and right before getting into the entrance I have a car cut me off and enter the brewery’s lot.

As I pull into the lot, I can see the line stretches from the door, through the patio garden area, past the parking lot on the walkway sidewalk they have (asphalt) and stretches all the way back to nearly the train tracks. Two guys quickly run through the parking lot and get ahead of me, I get in line, and soon after another three enter the line behind me. The last of those three is the first to be on the grass where the asphalt sidewalk ends.

The time is 10:35.

I stand there reading – “How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read” by Pierre Bayard. Guys around me in the line are chit chatting. Up ahead I can see a woman with a stroller and a small child (probably around nine years old) playing in the grass.

Already I knew I was in for a long day, and knew my expectations and how I thought this day was gonna play out were not gonna happen. My original plan was to pop into the general store, pick up two four packs (one for me, one for my buddy), and then go into the restaurant, have the hop fries and order a flight with Double Nugget Nectar and regular Nugget Nectar, to be able to do a side-by-side tasting; specifically for this blog.

Welp…. that ain’t gonna happen.

Its 10:50AM do you know where your Double Nugget Nectar is?

At 10:50AM a woman for Troegs starts working her way up the line stopping at spots to make an announcement. She explains the situation. There is 40 cases for online only sales, 80 cases for in-person sales. There is no limits. First come first serve. Starting with the line. There is 10 kegs for in-house. This means behind the bar in the restaurant and in the store for crowlers and growler fills. When its gone its gone. The online sale would start at 11:00 and the line would begin moving and letting people inside at 11:00.

Immediately everyone gets out their phones and look to try and order online. First pick up would only be 1PM though, but people don’t seem to care. At 11 they can start shopping. By 11:01AM the online sales are complete and sold out. Many people, in line – in person, as well as online in the various Facebook groups and Troegs Brewing page, said that their carts would be full but they weren’t able to check out in time due to how quickly it sold out online.

The line begins moving, first steady as the first wave went in, then in spurts as people would leave they would let others in. By about 11:30 I’m up to the arbor – wooden arch – that leads to the pergola and outdoor seating area. About five minutes later I’m off the road and into the little walkway area around the picnic tables. The people in the line are beginning to be pretty disgruntled.

Specifically the guy behind me who says he came from Wilmington Delaware. The guy in front of me says he came from near him and was supposed to be at work. They both said it was a two hour drive. At this point we can now see the people leaving the store with their goodies. One guy walking out with three cases. This was when the real bitching, moaning, and complaining set in with people in the line.

The guy behind me everytime some one exits with a case, “Oh c’mon, save some! I’ll buy a can off of you right now for 10$. You’re not drinking all of that!”

There is now a line to get into the restaurant. Running halfway down the ramp. And its now 11:45 and the announcement comes out, as I’m standing about three feet past (towards Troegs) the food truck: “No more cans! No more cans!” A collective groan goes up over the establishment.

The employee comes out and gives an update: “The cans have sold out. We do have the kegs in both the store and in the restaurant, you can buy crowlers and growlers in the store.”

Note here on pricing: the four packs were 17.99$ for a four pack (4 16oz cans – total oz of 64oz). The crowler fill is 14.50$ (32 oz), and a growler fill was 22$ (64oz).

I finally get to the steps, and soon after get inside. At this point its 12:10. The inside of the store is a zoo. Employees all running overtop of each other. You get your crowlers or growlers paid at the register, and then wait in a line til they have them canned up (or growlers filled) and then you get yours. I order two crowlers, and pick up a six pack of the 12oz Nugget Nectar cans.

The line is too long for the restaurant and with the limited seating, who knows when they’ll let people in.

The line to get the crowlers is about eight people, and we wait til they fill each person’s allotment of cans that they ordered. In the line with me, a woman gets 10, another woman gets 6, the guy in front of me gets 4, and the guy behind me gets 8. I get my two crowlers, and leave. Running into a shift manager for swing shift that I work with, and my one friend in the line. I explain the situation inside to them. And said if I had thought of it, I could have just saved them the time and ordered their crowlers for them and just handed it to them when I came out.

My little “haul” from Troegs

By this point its 12:40PM, and I had been there since 10:30AM. I was hungry, and to be honest, it was just all so hectic, that I felt a bit frazzled. I can only imagine how the poor employees working felt. And most likely they got few and sparing tips since everything was store purchases rather than drinks at the bar.

How My Thursday Unfolded

The original gameplan for Thursday was to meet up with Drew at his place and do another stream at night. He was waiting for a special HDMI cable to come in so he could play GameCube and Wii games for his streaming page. As it turns out, the piece never arrived.

I ate lunch at Rubber Soul in Hummelstown. And what a world of difference that was. No lines. No angry, angst ridden people, no complainers, etc. I even picked up a four pack of their newest beer – Fiddler’s Elbow – a Belgian Dubbel. The four pack was 15$. I had the Italian Wedding Soup that I love there, and the Soul Patch Pilsner.

I then needed some hiking time. So I did a quick Google Search for hikes and places I never been to within an hour drive. And I came up with this one called Reed’s Run Preserve. The original place was Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve, 1 hour and six minutes from Rubber Soul. I picked it because the pictures showed some beautiful waterfalls.

So off I went in search of trying to get some peace and serenity.

House Rock

The big feature of the place was House Rock. I couldn’t get to Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve because all of the parking lots were closed up due to it being winter, so I hiked the Reed Run Preserve and House Rock Preserve. A 3.16 mile hike. Just me all alone in the woods, and with a gorgeous view ontop of House Rock.

Had me my normal hiking beer (Nugget Nectar), had some meditation time on House Rock drinking it and taking in the view. The hike took about 2 hours and was 3.16 miles. Afterwards, I did my normal “whats nearby” search for breweries and found a few I haven’t been to before. Raney Cellars, Pig Iron Brewing, Columbia Kettle Works (in Columbia), Our Town Brewery in Lancaster.

I decided on Raney Cellars which is in Millersville. While there, I got the message from Drew saying we wouldn’t do the stream tonight, and that he was going to do an online poker tournament. So I messaged Ming and told him I was basically in his backyard. Him and Don and their friend Justin were going to play cards, so they invited me out.

So I quickly hit Columbia Kettle Works on my way to their house (it was on the way… sort of…) I had been to the Columbia Kettle Works 2nd Gear location in Lancaster with my friend Rory a few years back when we saw Dropkick Murphy’s there. But this was my first time at both of these locations (Raney Cellars and Columbia Kettle Works in Columbia). Both were great and the beers were great. I’ll be doing a post about them in the upcoming days, so stay tuned for that if you’re interested.

Got to Ming and Don’s around 7:20-7:30PM for dinner (Shepherd’s Pie) and then some games of Rummy. Also cracked open the crowler of Double Nugget Nectar, had the remainder of the six pack of Nugget Nectar, and had the Fiddler’s Elbow I picked up at Rubber Soul. (Even cracked a Miller Lite at the end of the night – 3AMish, when we were out of everything else.)

Ok… so enough of all of the day’s events, lets finally get to that beer review, probably the only real reason you are here anyway!

Beer Review: Double Nugget Nectar – Troegs Brewing

Double Nugget Nectar (left) and Nugget Nectar (right) by Troegs Independent Craft Brewing

Beer: Double Nugget Nectar
Brewery: Troegs Independent Craft Brewing
Style: Red Ale – Imperial / Double
ABV: 9.5%
IBU: None Listed
Untappd Description: Let’s take Nugget and double it. Well, it wasn’t quite that easy, but it sure was a fun balancing act. To start, we boosted the Simcoe, and this complex hop’s notes of apricot, peach rings and bright citrus are the star of the show. Azacca enters the picture to add hints of juicy orchard fruit, and Munich malt brings a bready sweetness. To strike a balancing note, Columbus joins Nugget hops, grounding this limited release with a layer of dank pine.

Appearance looks similar to the regular Nugget Nectar. It looks hazier, a bit more cloudy than the original, but also looks lighter in overall color. Still has that same reddish to amber to orange sunset look to it, a harvest moon type coloring. Coming from the crowler and canned only about 8 hours earlier, it still had great carbonation and a nice thin head. Left great lacing on the glass.

Aroma is super hoppy. You can tell this is an amped up Nugget Nectar. Its got the malt aroma, its got the hop aroma, and you can smell a sweetness to it. The hop nose on this is extremely strong and powerful and is the best feature of the beer. It just smells like an amazing beer.

Ok, lets get into the beer itself. First thing’s first: is it worth the hype? ….Yes and No. It is… but to a degree. Nugget Nectar is a universally beloved Troegs offering. So doing a double version of it immediately hypes it in and of itself. This deserves that level of hype. It does NOT deserve the hype of people waiting in line at 9AM to get into a brewery at 11AM. Its not “I better get 3 cases” of it hype. (Outside of the turn around sales.) This is a really well done beer though. Its extremely tasty. And I could easily drink three cases worth…. (not in one night of course!) but overall in months. I would go for this over regular / original Nugget Nectar. That being said, I’ve had many better beers, and many many worse beers. This is a wonderfully tasty beer though. Thankfully, luckily, its not a malt bomb. It is malty, and it is sweet, but not moreso than Nugget Nectar (original) is. In fact, I think Nugget Nectar is sweeter than this. With the hopped up nature of this one, its a bit more bitter, a bit more hoppy than the original. Probably more than a ‘bit’ – a lot more hoppy, but only a bit more bitter. There is some bready taste to it with the malt, as well as peach, citrus, and pine from the hops. It all strikes a nice balance. The 9.5% makes it a bit stronger than the original which was 7.5%. So its on par with a lot of DIPAs (Double IPAs) as far as strength. But the ABV is pretty well hidden, and doesn’t really kick you in the butt, even in a 32oz crowler. I do like this beer and think its an improvement over whats already one of the better Red Ales / Amber Ales in the area. I will be interested to see if they decide to try and make this a regular seasonal in the future, of if they shelve this.

My Untappd Rating: ****.25
Global Untappd Rating: 4.49 (as of 1.22.21)

(For reference sake – my Nugget Nectar Untappd rating was originally 4.5 when I first had it checked in, so so so so many years ago, and have in the past few years adjusted it to 4 caps.)

My Final Thoughts and Opinions

So, circling this back to the beginning of the post, and my subheading there: “How to annoy, anger and alienate your fans in three easy steps…”

This is what Troegs did in a big way. Will it make an impact in the long run? Probably not. I think a bigger question here is – was it intentional or poor planning? Either answer is not a great look for Troegs. And is kind of a shame really. Troegs is not known for their line life, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever waited in a line, outside of five-ten minutes due to COVID over this past summer just to get in. This isn’t Tree House, or Trillium, or Imprint, or back in the day Tired Hands, where you had to wait to get the new release.

So… did Troegs just not expect the turn out? Or did they do it on purpose?

If they did it on purpose, their “plan succeeded”. It made and built hype for this beer, it makes them look like a hype brewery, and it gets them talked about over and over and over again in online circles. Publicity cheap. Advertisement done by others. As the old saying goes: “Even bad publicity is still publicity.” “Negative attention is still attention.” The over hype on this will create a second market, and the beers will sell higher now. My own co-worker offered me 25$ for the crowler I got and paid for at 14.50$. More than likely, that guy who walked out with the three cases was either there for a lot of friends, or was going to sell online in various FT/ISO and mule groups. Will he upcharge? Who knows; but more than likely.

The comments section on Troegs page is a bit interesting right now. A lot of entitlement, and a lot of anger. People saying Troegs is forgetting the locals, the people who helped build them up to where they are. A lot of people who never lost out on limited release beers before, and it shows to a pretty high degree in the comments section.

So, maybe it was just handled poorly? This is believable. Maybe Troegs didn’t believe their own hype? Maybe they didn’t think it would really sell out the way it did. I don’t know. I do know how it was ran, was pretty poor. They bungled the pre-sale on Monday by posting it up on Sunday despite initially telling everyone it would be Monday. Then they didn’t put limits on the beer. And they tried to mitigate things COVID wise, but in reality, not really. If I had to take a guess at how many people were in the line when I got there at 10:30, I would say 250-300. And once inside, the store would hold 24 people at a time, and people went about touching everything, being close to each other, etc.

The beer completely sold out by 1:30PM. That counts the 10 kegs they had for on-site and growler / crowler fills, as well as the 80 cases for in-person and the 40 cases for online. That means in 2 and a half hours they sold 10 kegs and 120 cases of their beer. Impressive.

Going forward, what would be some solutions? The most obvious is limits. Two to three four pack limit. Does this completely negate everything? No, because people can come in groups, and buy up still, but it does limit that. It also gets the beer in as many hands as possible. Their online sales could have been improved so that carts didn’t get voided because people couldn’t type in their credit card info quick enough.

Will the lesson be learned? It will be interesting to see. Did Troegs do it on purpose? Thats debatable. My gut tells me – yes, they did it on purpose, to create their own hype. But, some friends think they just didn’t realize their own hype. That they were just this woefully unprepared.

I do want to give a big shout out to the workers there though. This had to be an extremely trying and tough day, and I can only imagine how the tap room was once the last keg kicked.

Would I recommend getting it on the secondary market? Depends. Obviously on price point it depends a lot. The four packs went for 17.99$ in person. If your paying more than 25$ for a four pack, I would say its probably not worth it, but that is up to you, so who knows. Your tastes and money mileage varies.

I will be curious about the fall out from this, if Troegs will offer an apology, if they will try and remedy it, if they try and brew this again to sell. Will be interesting. Will have to wait and see.

Either way, lets all be kind to each other, the brewery, the workers, ourselves, etc. Happy New Year. New Year, New You, New Happiness. Yesterday at 9:21PM was a very interesting time. Especially at 9:21:21. It would have been the 21st second, of the 21st minute, of the 21st hour, on the 21st day, of the 21st century. Very cool.

Would love to hear everyone’s experiences with Troegs and the Double Nugget Nectar release in the comments. Let me know. Were you there? What was your experience? Feel like you got lucky? Missed out? Etc. Let us know! I’m very curious to see everyone’s reactions!

Cheers everyone!

-B. Kline

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