Imbibe Hour

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scratch another off the list, Imbibe Hour crashes DC's Churchkey for the Tröegs scratch night and nugget nectar goodness.

How do I love thine beer... for let me count thy ways... For imbibing in DC special events make it more fun!

I headed down to one of DCs prominent beer bars called Churchkey, in nearby Logan circle as part of a special Tröegs Scratch night tasting.

Tröegs brewery is located in Harrisburg Pennsylvania, and they were offering a good promotion in DC at Churchkey to showcase their "scratch" series beers of playful American IPAs. It was a special treat because most of these on tap don't make it outside of Pennsylvania, but also because they were offering something else. They were also offering their famous Nugget Nectar beer from a firkin cask. IMBIBE HOUR TO THE RESCUE!!! I enjoy their doppelbock as well, and it seemed like a perfect excuse to go have some more Tröegs!

I first heard about the event through BeerAdvocate.com, a sight where I find much information on beers, and a place I stash all my beer reviews. The site is stupidly addictive, almost like Facebook but much more mature and organized. I never understood why I never got into it years ago when I first signed up being such an imbibing purist.

I had made arrangements to make sure I was going to be ready for this. I contacted the manager asking if it was okay to write about the event, take pictures... etc.. They were more than happy to oblige. I was told however that the beer wouldn't be kicked in until 6 PM so that staff could partake of some before hand. So I arrived about 15 minutes early and I sat at the bar at one of the few seats I could find. I was asked if I wanted anything and I said.. "Well.. I am just waiting until 6 for the Tröegs stuff... I heard you got a firkin of Nugget, true?" The server said "we sure do!" "Well guess I am waiting!" as I sat there twiddling my thumbs at the bar, not trying to suly myself and drink something amongst the 40 offerings on tap. Those minutes seemed to go by... real... sllooooowllllyy....

10 minutes to six the server seemed to relent and came over and said... well you want one? I hesitated... took the night in... and paused....

"Yeah sure!", HA he cracked before I did!

Nugget Nectar is another showcase and seasonal beer that lots of people get to go goo goo gaga over. It's pictured up in the left there next to Scratch #37 and #38. The brewery describes the color as straw/orange, but out of the cask it is an obvious copper/brown.

That wasn't the only thing though, I was all set on reviewing and tasting all these beers but sometimes Churchkey is a bit crowded but also a bit dark inside to judge a brews appearance. I got a fairly good spot, not the most optimal but at least one good place to review the beers. Unfortunately I noticed I was provided snifters. Snifters??? Is this not an American Ipa? What's going on here? In the end it turned out it was because I was only given samples. Man I wanted PINTS baby!

Some things were also not helpful. A patron next to me got his flatbread order, and for the next 4 minutes after it arrived all I could smell was salt and ham prosciutto. I had luckily got the first beers nose before this, but I was almost ready to call quits and give up thinking the environment wasn't going to be conducive. Luckily things settled down and it all came in after a short while.

I flagged down a server as I was cleansing my palate with some bread crust, a must I find sometimes when going between drinks to soak up other flavors and neutralize my palate. The bar on a Tuesday was surprisingly stupid busy. "Hey", I said, "can't you serve pints of this?" I asked. The congenial server apologized and didn't realized I wanted to nestle in on 2 pints at a time but that was okay. In retrospect it made the night a bit easier, and my liver was probably ready to jump for joy at getting a break. He actually came back with a pint of Nugget Nectar and said "Here ... this one's on me." WELL I'll take that for sure! and that joy is framed above.

I had much to say about these beers. They were all decent, some considerably better than others, and there were ones to me that I preferred even though many didn't fit the classic American IPA style. It was a good atmosphere and I got to sit next to another guy who wasn't that big of a beer drinker, but had certainly been to many pubs in England and felt right at home. I told him to grab the cask Nugget Nectar since so many people were ready to kill each other to get at it, which he jumped on. Long story short, the nugget nectar is a solid brew out of the cask, but it's personally not something that I think I would crave again even after having two of them that night. It is without question a beer everyone should try!

The night was nearly over when of course I remembered they were giving out glassware. "Hey!" I inquired, "you got glasses?!" I asked, and before I knew it, one showed up and then another server came by and said... why don't you take another. So there I had it... two Nugget Nectar pints to take home for keepsakes. Seems like the perfect excuse now... to get some Nugget out of the bottle and try some!

All in all... for Tröegs and Churchkey, it was a night of win, just like always. If you want to get a better idea of what I thought of these beers, see my reviews on BeerAdvocate.com here (this link).

Cheers to you all, and have some good brew!

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