Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 10.3.17: A Flight of Nugget Hops

Ron Swarner


Peaks-and-Pints-Tacoma-Beer-FlightNugget hops were created in 1970 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in a breeding program that paired up Brewers Gold, Early Green, Cantebury Golding, Bavarian, and an unknown hop together to create this hybrid hop. The breeding was done primarily to aid in disease resistance, including downy mildew, powdery mildew and Peronospera. A true hop-lover’s hop, Nugget is woody, resiny and plenty bitter. Used mainly as a bittering hop due to its high alpha acidity, Nugget is sometimes used as an aroma hop to balance out the floral and citrus notes of other hop varieties. Because of its versatility, Nugget is utilized in a wide variety of (mostly American) styles from ales to stouts to barleywines, imparting earthy, herbal flavors with a hint of spice. Today’s beer flight sample honors Nugget in our Craft Beer Crosscut 10.3.17: A Flight of Nugget Hops.

Pyramid-Apricot-Ale-TacomaPyramid Apricot Ale

5.1% ABV, 11 IBU

In 1992, Hart Brewing and Thomas merged. In 1996, Hart Brewing changed its name to Pyramid Breweries, Inc. It continued, however, to market its Thomas Kemper products under the Thomas Kemper name. There’s more to the history of Pyramid; there’s more apricot aroma in its Apricot Ale than any other apricot ale. While the flavors are also apricot and wheat, they are in better balance as compared to the aroma.  The apricot flavor is not overdone or sweet, and the wheat provides a nice tang. The use of Nugget hops is subtle and leaves little bitterness throughout. Apricot Ale is light to medium bodied, has moderately high carbonation and is drinkable.

Oskar-Blues-Old-Chub-TacomaOskar Blues Old Chub

8% ABV, 25 IBU

Old Chub is a Scottish style ale brewed with copious amounts of crystal and chocolate malts, a dash of beechwood-smoked malts and Nugget hops. While Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale is a showcase of both hops and pale malts, Old Chub is a celebration of malts. The cola-colored beer features a dense, tawny head, a creamy mouthful and flavors of caramel, chocolate and lightly roasted malt. Complex and rich, it finishes with a whisper of smokiness that calls to mind a fine single malt scotch.

Ecliptic-Capella-Porter-TacomaEcliptic Capella Porter

5.2% ABV, 39 IBU

Ecliptic Brewing Brewmaster John Harris, known for creating other award-winning porters (Black Butte Porter), created the recipe for Capella Porter, which is named after a bright star in the constellation Auriga. Capella pours deep brown with a tan head. The aroma has chocolate, rich smooth malt and hazelnuts followed by a nice medium body. Flavors of chocolate and caramel meld with just a touch of roast.  A collection of Nugget, Chinook, Centennial, and Cascade hops brighten this lively porter.

Skookum-Radagast-Brown-TacomaSkookum Radagast Brown

6.4% ABV

The brown ale has origins in 17th century England, where it was a name given to a dark-colored, mild ale. Skookum Brewery’s Radagast Brown is considered an English brown ale, which means more emphasis to the malt, while American versions have a bit more hoppy aroma and flavor. The Arlington brewery follows the style suit with a plethora of English specialty malts and hopped with Nugget. Peaks and Pints has the Radagast pouring from our Western red cedar tap log today. Expect notes of toffee, caramel, toasted bread and milk chocolate. Dare we say a “crushable” brown ale?

Laurelwood-Workhorse-IPALaurelwood Workhorse IPA

7.5% ABV, 80 IBU

Three cheers to Laurelwood Brewing Co.’s head brewer Cameron Murphy! He is keeping Workhorse IPA’s momentum going after Vasilios Gletsos brilliantly rebuilt the Workhorse recipe in the throes of a hop shortage before moving on to Vermont’s vaunted Hill Farmstead. This IPA has a perfect alchemy of hops — Simcoe, Amarillo, Cascade, Columbus and Nugget — complemented by a nice, vaguely biscuity dry body. According to the brewery, “The over-the-top aroma comes from a heavy handed dose of hops in the kettle, hop back and 2 separate dry-hop additions.”