Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Craft Beer Crosscut 2.7.17: A Flight of Nugget

Ron Swarner


Nugget 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 2.7.17: A Flight of Nugget.

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

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.

Top-Rung-Three-Sixty-Red-TacomaTop Rung Three-Sixty Red

5.8% ABV, 35 IBU

There’s a double meaning behind the name Three-Sixth Red. If you were to call Top Rung Brewing Co. in Lacey, Washington, you must first dial (360). Owners and Thurston County firefighters Casey Sobol and Jason Stoltz also have made a few “360-degree assessments” during fire incidents. Brewed with Red X, 2-Row, Oats and Chocolate Malt plus Cascade and Nugget hops, Three-Sixty Red has a nice bitterness that compliments the dry roast, caramelized sweet honey and awesome red color.

Ecliptic-Capella-Porter-TacomaEcliptic Capella Porter

5.2% ABV, 39 IBU

Ecliptic 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.

Stone-Enjoy-By-02-14-17-Chocolate-and-Coffee-IPA-TAcomaStone Enjoy By 02.14.17 Chocolate & Coffee IPA

9.4% ABV, 90 IBU

As the name suggests it’s an IPA, brewed with the typical pantheon of hops (12 of them, including Nugget) plus added chocolate and coffee — in the form of cocoa beans processed by Stone Brewing and a blonde coffee brewed by San Diego Sunrise. The results are really intriguing and fun: The bitter hops are impossible to ignore, sure, but the coffee and chocolate work as surprisingly deft foils for the ale. Both are more understated than you’d expect, adding just a hint of dessert-like sweetness to an otherwise dank, tropical and fruit hop-forward experience.

Stone-Ruination-2.0-IPA-TacomaStone Ruination 2.0 IPA

8.5% ABV, 100+ IBU

Filling one of our nonic IPA glasses with Ruination 2.0, the beer pours a dark gold, just on the edge of orange. The aroma is immediately super dank and resinous, piney, just West Coast classic turned up to 11, before giving way to grapefruit and orange fruit notes and grass. This beer wears its 100+ IBUs, with Magnum and Nugget hops providing a hefty dose of standout bitterness. Citra, Simcoe and Azacca hops provide the bountiful tropical fruit and resinous pine aromas. Combined, the rich tapestry of hops results in a taste profile rife with citrus, melon and tropical fruit flavors.