Nugget Nectar is Back: Here’s What You Need to Know

by: Tierney Pomone
January 13, 2017
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It’s that time of year again — Nugget Nectar season! Get out there and squeeze those hops and enjoy the fresh nectar of the gods.

What is Nugget Nectar?

Tröegs Nugget Nectar is released annually, usually in January. Fresh hops are harvested once a year just for this brew and are blended to create a super fresh Imperial Amber Ale. It’s excessively dry-hopped with Nugget, so if hops aren’t your jam just see yourself out. They shove tons of Nugget, Palisade, Simcoe, Tomahawk, and Warrior hops into the beer resulting in a resinous piney flavored beer with a citrus/mango finish. The hop flavor in this beer is aggressive, and it’s almost like you’re biting right into them with each sip. It’s a lovely orange hue.

Where can I get some?

When Nugget Nectar will be available to you depends on where you are located. For those of us in the Central PA, Lehigh Valley, Philadelphia, or Ohio areas, Nugget is available now. Next week those in North Central PA, Scranton, State College, and Western PA can grab some and squeeze those hops. Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, and New Jersey can expect it Jan. 23. Connecticut, Mass, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia will get it last on Jan. 30.

While you can definitely get cans, crowlers, growlers, and cases from the brewery or your favorite distributor, the first squeeze events are where it’s at. In conjunction with this once a year release, Tröegs had 8 local artists design limited-edition artwork to pair it with. Each design is unique and available in prints at the first squeeze parties listed on their website. In addition, there are events happening over the next few weeks locally including firkins, meet the artist nights, and more. If this week’s event at the Sturges Speakeasy is any indication, you’ll want to arrive early!

Don’t forget the nitro!

New and exciting this year, Nugget Nectar is now available on nitro. While I don’t usually love IPAs on nitro, it doesn’t matter because as we often forget Nugget Nectar isn’t an IPA, it’s an Imperial Amber Ale. Putting Nugget Nectar on nitro is a game changer. When talking with Tröegs about this nitro edition, I quickly realized that it’s almost a whole separate beer. If they just took Nugget and put it on nitro, you would lose a lot of the punch-you-in-the-face hoppiness of the beer. To counteract this, the nitro version has even more hops added than the regular.

The nitro creaminess with these additional hops is just everything. [Ed.note: Preach, sister.] The resinous hop flavor is definitely there, but it’s a lot softer on the palate and much easier to drink, especially for those of us who sometimes get heartburn/acid reflux from overly hopped up brews. If you have an opportunity to try the nitro version I highly recommend it.

Categories: Craft Beer

Steelers Divisional Round: Cheers, Jeers & Fears

by: Jimi The Intern
January 12, 2017
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For the second season in a row, the Steelers are traveling to face an AFC West division foe in the second round of the NFL postseason. This season has a different feel than last year when they suffered a loss to the future Super Bowl Champs.

Last season, Pittsburgh limped into the game without Antonio Brown or LeVeon Bell and had to rely on a heavy dose of players that had little playing time. Even so, Pittsburgh was one fumble away from pulling off a huge victory in Denver.

Now, the “Killer Bs” are all (kind of) healthy, and Pittsburgh couldn’t be playing any better after a 30-15 drubbing against Miami last week.

Now, Kansas City is the next step on the “Stairway to Seven,” and they are more than capable of giving Pittsburgh all they can handle, despite the lopsided matchup early in the season.

This week’s cheers, jeers, and fears focus on the trip to Kansas City and how the Black and Gold can make it to the AFC Championship game for the first time since 2010.

Cheers: Defensive evolution

Pittsburg’s defense is full of young talent that is coming into its own at the right time. Bud Dupree, Ryan Shazier and Artie Burns were all over the field last week and made a direct impact in holding Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi to just 33 yards on 16 carries.

The defense is going to face a similar back in Spencer Ware this weekend. Kansas City also brings speed to the table with the emergence of Tyreek Hill as a threat in the running game.

Pittsburgh again needs to be stout on defense, while also forcing Alex Smith into making uncomfortable throws on third down. Watch out for Travis Kelce as well, because with Gronk out for the season, he becomes the best tight end in the league.

Jeers: Finishing drives

Big Ben threw yet another interception in the red zone this week that almost led to a Miami score right before the half. Sure, Brown has to make the catch, but Ben needs to make a better throw. (Props to Ben though for being the first one down the field though.)

If it weren’t for a Miami offsides penalty Pittsburgh would have settled for two field goals inside their own 30. While it is nice to get points out of a drive, the need to convert in those situations grows each week as they progress in the playoffs.

Field goals won’t cut it this week in Kansas City.

Fears: Going on the road

Pittsburgh is not the same team on the road this year. I have harped on it repeatedly, and it continues to be an issue through the season. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most, if not the most, hostile environment in the league. Their fans are loud and passionate in every game.

That raucous environment helped the Chiefs to a 6-2 record this season at home.

It won’t be too cold in Kansas City, but there is a chance for some snow or freezing rain.

What does that mean?

A lot of LeVeon Bell. He is called a bell cow back for a reason he needs to be the workhorse for this team to win. The offense will need to sustain drives to give the defense a rest in what is sure to be a hard-hitting affair.


Pittsburgh jumps out to another early lead and wraps it up with a late drive to put the cap on a 31-23 win and a trip to the AFC Championship.

(P.S. Let’s all hope and pray that Bill O’Brien can pull off a miracle in Foxboro on Saturday.)

Categories: Sports, Steelers

Weekend Roundup 1/12

by: Sara Bozich
January 12, 2017
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We’re kicking off the weekend tonight with a belated holiday gift exchange (and pizza and memes, of course).

I’d love to catch some local theatre this weekend, so I’ll be looking to do that one evening this weekend. Otherwise, I’ll be hitting up the HACCbrew release at Zeroday on Saturday.

Sunday, of course, is playoff football ahead of the Zeroday v. Ever Grain Battle of the Brewers at Grain + Verse!

»» If you haven’t yet, please take our End of Year Survey to help us improve! You can even score some free Crowler Coozies!

What are you doing this weekend?


6 Wines to Start Your Pennsylvania Wine Experience

by: Sara Bozich
January 11, 2017
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If you’re looking for an excuse to finally explore local Pennsylvania wines, this time of the year is the perfect opportunity to start on that journey.

Each year at the Pennsylvania Farm Show, the Pennsylvania wine industry is on full display, and a rotating list of vineyards offer tastings of their best wines all week. 

A judged wine competition is also held to determine which vineyards had an exceptional year of winemaking. Here is where you should start the foray into local Pennsylvania wines. Many of the bottles are available for purchase directly from the winery at the Farm Show, at the winery, or at select premium Fine Wine and Spirits locations.

Pennsylvania wines can range from bone-dry and flavorful reds to sweet whites. Dive in and find your favorite.

PA Wine Competition_Governor's Cup_Best of Show Winners_2017

Best of Show 2016

Best dry grape – Sevens Mountain Wine Cellars 2015 Traminette

Sevens Mountain sits just at the top of the mountain before you hit State College. It has stunning views and a great dry wine to enjoy. Traminette is a white wine described as a Gewurztraminer-hybrid with a spicy and dry finish.

Best sweet grape – Fero Vineyards and Winery 2014 Sweet Red

Fero is almost directly north of the greater Harrisburg area with a variety of different wines that include a Sweet Red that is comprised of 60% Lemberger and 40% Pinot Noir grapes for a sweet to semi-sweet flavor throughout.

Best vinifera grape – Waltz Vineyard 2013 Reserve Chardonnay

Vinifera refers to the best use of Old World grapes like this Chardonnay from Waltz Vineyard out of Manheim. This wine was aged for eight months in French Oak barrels and features vanilla and citrus flavors.

Best American grape – Red Shale Ridge Vineyards 2015 Fredonia

This category features American based grapes and Red Shale’s Fredonia sweet red wine has been named the best in this class for this year. Red Shale is located almost right in the middle between Harrisburg and Hazleton.

Best fruit – Arrowhead Wine Cellars 2016 Blueberry

It’s no secret that local vineyards can specialize in these fruit styles of wine. Blueberry wine is one of the most popular versions, and Arrowhead’s stood out from the pack this year. 

Best sparkling – Pinnacle Ridge 2015 Cuvee Chardonnay

Sparkling wines are a specialty of many vineyards and can as flavorful as they are refreshing. Pinnacle’s Cuvee Chardonnay is dry with a crisp and clean taste of apples, honey and citrus.

vineyard at hershey

If you can’t get a hold of these great wines, many other wines earn accolades like double gold, gold, silver and bronze in their respective categories. Three wines earned double gold honors this year, including our local Vineyard at Hershey for their Twisted Kiss. They also grabbed honors for their Merlot, Frostbite, Oaked Chardonnay, Cocoa Di Vezzetti and Moscato.

Check out the full list of winners:

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Visit the Pennsylvania Wine area at the PA Farm Show through Saturday, and visit them throughout the year to keep drinking local and supporting Pennsylvania wines.

Categories: Pennsylvania, Wine

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