Scarcity has played a key role in determining a given object’s price since the day Fred and Barney invented the free market. And it makes sense, to a point: Of course an order of Pterodactyl Wings cost more than a Brontosaurus Burger, because you only get two wings per pterodactyl (granted, they’re large, but we burned so many more calories back then), whereas a single bronto yields hundreds of burgers.
But just because this arrangement is logical doesn’t means scarce items are always better or more useful than their more common counterparts. Diamonds don’t cost more than zirconia because they have more protein or make better babysitters; they’re just a bit harder to come by.
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In the beer market, this scarcity vs. utility conundrum manifests in a loud, vocal and quite frankly harrier-than-necessary minority of the craft underworld that thinks a beer’s quality is directly related to how long a line you have to wait in to buy it. God bless those guys, because they clear out on the weekends to queue up outside Vermont farmhouses, giving we more measured bon vivants a clear path to the best new stuff at the local beer store.
This week that was Troegs Nugget Nectar, an imperial red ale from Pennsylvania that shows up once a year, shortly after the groundhog and sticks around until baseball starts. Nugget Nectar opens with strong aromas of peach and pineapple, with grapefruit and pine resin showing up a bit later. It has every great characteristic of a modern hoppy beer, along with rich, earthy malt for a balance. It is stunning.
Troegs Nugget Nectar, 7.5% alcohol-by-volume, $12/six-pack.