Nelson - Alpine Beer Company

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636 Reviews
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Reviews: 636
Hads: 3,076
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 8.7%
Wants: 1,412
Gots: 380 | FT: 15
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American IPA |  7.10% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: OStrungT on 08-11-2006

A Golden Rye IPA - An outstanding hop from New Zealand, Nelson Sauvin, is generously used throughout the brewing and dry-hopping of this unique beer. European rye is added for a smooth, malty addition to flavor. 1.065 OG 7% AB
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Reviews: 636 | Hads: 3,076
Photo of neorunner
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Golden yellow color with fine carbonation and a solid white head that slowly diminished for a good minute. A small amount of lacing on the glass as I drink it.

S - Citrus and floral notes abound but little to no resiny smell.

T - This tastes like awesome. There is a very nice clean balance between the malt and hop flavors with a mild bitterness. Aftertaste is not overbearing but a reasonable medley of biscuit and lingering hops.

M - Smooth and wet with most of the taste at the front of my tongue and a refreshed feeling in the aftertaste.

D - If this came in six packs I would have a new go-to summer beer. Alas, this will be one to look forward to the next time I visit California. (695 characters)

Photo of raoulduke37
3.92/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pretty golden pilsener color, with a steady stream of carbonation rising into an off-white 1/2 cm head. Nice lacing around the glass.

Smell - Wonderful citrusy hop aroma, full of grapefruit and pine. Very aromatic malt profile backing this up, blending all the great scents together.

Taste - Very well-balanced IPA, but I fail to pick up that "something special" from the rye. Hop flavor is restrained as the malt takes over from the start. Nice not to be punched in the face by hops, for a change, but the problem is nothing really stands out too well, here. The best that can be said about this is that it's balanced very well.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability - Average mouthfeel, not too carbonated. Finishes pretty dry, with a nice caress on the tongue. The flavor would probably be enhanced on-tap, but otherwise, there are many other IPA's that I'd seek out before this one. Nothing wrong with it at all, well balanced, but nothing spectacular. (961 characters)

Photo of mactrail
4.09/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fruity and drinkable IPA.

Really, really aromatic hops. It just reeks of hops that I wish other brewers would take note of. Waiting for the bitterness bomb to drop with so much hop aroma-- but it doesn't. Bitterness is quite pleasant and gives enough edge without overwhelming. Aroma reminds me of the Pittosporum trees that are blooming in the SoCal spring right now. I'm not so good at inventing fruit flavor metaphors but ithe unusual hop flavor does makes me think of overripe papaya, or really, canned peaches.

For me, being critical of silly-bitter IPAs, this one is very enjoyable while still indulging the hop receptors in the hippocampus or where ever beer scientists say they are. (692 characters)

Photo of emerge077
4.22/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Jason for the generous hookup!

Into a Duvel tulip, it's a murky greyish brown, but orange in the light. A sticky halo sits inside the glass, with a broken skim after a few minutes.

Grassy, herbaceous, and citrusy in the nose. Pungent hops and a hint of rye spiciness. Flavor is similar, intense yet balanced with plenty of malt and rye flavors lending sturdiness under all the hop greenery. A somewhat sweet cereal grain that reminds me of a local hop bomb, Daisy Cutter. Hop bitterness is firm and moderate, carrying long into the dry finish. Body is on the light side of medium with ample carbonation. Easy to drink, Nelson is another West Coast stunner from Alpine... (683 characters)

Photo of Xul
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a translucent goldenrod, topped by a one finger white head. Moderate lacing remains in the head's wake.

S: A melange of tropical aromas - pineapple, papaya, some mango, and grapefruit. Floral hops contribute quite a bit, along with hints of rye and white grapes.

T: The floral hops make themselves known right away, followed by a blend of the tropical and citrusy hop characters and the spiciness of the rye. The grapefruit and rye play off each other very well, leaving an aftertaste that's a blend of the two.

M: Extremely smooth with moderate carbonation. Could be a touch more carbonated.

D: Very easy drinking and the ABV doesn't make itself known at all. I've knocked back a few pints of this on a Friday afternoon on more than one occasion. (760 characters)

Photo of willjschmidt
4.5/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

A: Pours an orangish golden color.

S: Lots of grapefruit.

T: An entirely unique IPA. The malt base is light but with a slight twinge of spicy rye. The hops are very interesting. Lots of grapefruit but not like any of the traditional American hops. There is also a very unique white wine flavor.

M: Medium bodied.

D: A great IPA. Not the standard that we are used to. Shows the range of the style and the creativeness of American brewers by slightly tweaking the ingredients. (526 characters)

Photo of PPIBrian
4.92/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Another great IPA from the Alpine Beer Company. The unique character of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand adds a wonderful grapefruit/citrus flavor that blends well with the malt. This beer is a light copper color, slightly hazy, with nice head with lots of lace that clings to the glass as you drink it. Light and slightly fruity aroma, with a touch of rye malt that goes very well with this interesting southern hemisphere hop. Overall impression -- this is an exceptionally smooth beer. (491 characters)

Photo of Casey10
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Another great "extra" from NewGeneric thank you again. Smooth pours clear slight head is defanitely hops forward vs malt but not aggressive. slight pine I know there is citrus but its not your typical grapefruit taste its more of tangerine or perhaps dare I say appricots? Not entirely certain but its is nice and fresh.

Would have again it is very nice was so glad to try this one. (384 characters)

Photo of popery
4.69/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle, home. Alpine night #2. Another day, another fantastic IPA from Alpine. Whereas Duet was a nearly perfect version of what I look for in an IPA, Nelson is unexpected but also world class. This isn't my first encounter with Nelson Sauvin hops, but it's definitely the best use of them that I've tried. The beer smells of orange rinds, wild lilacs, honeysuckle and sweet white grape juice. The flavor is dry, bitter and spicy with rye. The whole package works extremely well. I have no real qualms with this beer, but I wouldn't mind if the rye was a bit stronger. I'd love to try an imperial version of this beer, so get on that Alpine. The mouthfeel has a nice hop oiliness surrounding the duel between hop bite and rye spice. It's an incredibly drinkable beer despite its unusual flavor profile. Alpine has managed to make a combination of rye and Nelson Sauvin hops feel completely natural and I'd love to spend a night with nothing but glasses of Nelson. (963 characters)

Photo of FtownThrowDown
4.25/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a light gold in color with a very nice inch of white head. Leaves plenty of webby, spotty lacing on the side of the glass.
Smell is floral hops with just a hint of rye there to compliment.
Taste is wonderful. Beautiful hops, wonderful balance with hops. Citrusy and piney.
Incredibly smooth and easy drinking. Absolutely refreshing and a pleasure to drink. This bottle is drinking well, I'd imagine it's even better on tap.
Great beer. (443 characters)

Photo of pmccallum86
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a golden hazy straw color with a thick bubbly head that dissipates quickly leaving a medium amount of lacing along the glass, pretty solid in appearance.

Smell is very strange, but in a great way. Some kind of weird fruit aroma, almost like an orange dreamsickle, I cannot wait to try this. Very fruity floral aroma, like no other IPA I have ever smelled.

Wow, this beer is different. It tastes a little like an orange dreamsickle. Very citrus, almost like a clementine with some cream as well. Light malt backbone comes through as well, maybe a little to sweet. Very unique IPA, you can taste the rye in the finish, I like it.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, medium body with light carbonation.

Very interesting beer, drinkability does suffer from the sweetness though. (780 characters)

Photo of olympuszymurgus
3.62/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

this beverage came with a bit of reputation in the sd area, as many of the breweries visited informed us we'd be mistaken were we not to head over to alpine. when i arrived, they struggled to determine what order i should taste in, but were convinced i should finish with this unique beverage. the nelsons have an arrayed aroma and flavor, it was like having a bite of something colorful off of someone else's plate when they weren't watching and you didn't pay attention to what they ordered. playfully citrus with an angry spice contributed both by the hop and the rye. i'm not sure what to make of this beer, but i'd like more to try. it's kind've like a rhinocorn. i don't know if it's even real. a fun and spicy rye.p.a. (725 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.57/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber pours into my glass a deep orange/yellow with a two finger creamy, bubbling white head and superb clarity. Aromas start with a distinct tropical, pungent, fruity hop explosion. Grapefruit melds in with a nice spicy rye character. There is somewhat of a vinous, white wine character lurking within as well. Quite the lovely aroma.

First sip brings a plethora of fruity, resinous, pungent hops upfront with bold mango and grapefruit flavors. Spicy rye mixes in beautifully. Flows down with a good kick of bitterness that's well placed. Lingering fruity hops on the palate. Delicious!

Mouthfeel is crisp and smooth with perfect carbonation. This one is exceedingly easy to drink and just amazingly enjoyable. A top notch IPA and I love the addition of rye and the Nelson Sauvin hops. Seek it out if you have the ability! (826 characters)

Photo of cwps48
4.2/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to beerman4 for putting this in as an extra.

Poured into my Delirium Tremens tulip.

A: The head won't stop. After my first pour, it stayed briefly at the rim, but kept growing after the next couple minutes. Eventually there was a mound a good inch and a half above the rim. Never seen a head grow like that. Leaves a lot of lacing. Nice golden color, not transparent. Head never went down all the way.

S: Hops. Citrus. Floral with a pine backbone. Smells a little sweet with how floral it is. A touch of alcohol in there.

T: Hoppy, but not too bitter. Lots of pine flavor. A bit of grapefruit. My roommate says it's like a dry white wine, but I don't know wine so well.

M: After the initial carbonation release, the carbonation level is very nice; slightly tingly, not a mouthful of air. Dry finish, though as it warms it's slightly less dry.

D: Drinkability is high. Easy to drink, smooth, definitely refreshing. 7% abv is hidden well in the taste. (962 characters)

Photo of photomike
4.44/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at City Beer Store (yep! NorCal! You rule Craig/Beth!)

Pours a very lightly hazy pale yellow with a surprisingly short white head. Very soft with decent retention for such a weak stack. A lot of nice soft lacing sticks around though, for an overall pretty decent appearance.

Aroma is explosive and nice. This smells very fresh. Really dank with a lot of that almost-skunky intoxicating smell you get from a really fresh IPA. A good thing. Cannabis, pine and pineapple.

Taste is really nice and fresh as well--The first thing I notice is the massive fruitiness. A whole lot of peach/apricot flavors that I don't typically see in the style, with a nice wallop of pine and bitter grapefruit. A slight boozy heat on the finish that dries things out a touch. Bitter. Great stuff.

Effervescent with nice tight bubbles and a slight boozy heat. Somewhat oily.

Crazy drinkable; really delicious and goes down easy. (930 characters)

Photo of abrand
4.32/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Second of the west coast IPA's. Another bottle from JesseTheHut.

22 ounce bomber poured into the SN tumbler. Label explains the use of New Zealand hops that are used in this.

The Nelson pours a hazy amber orange color. A nice frothy pure white head sits atop with very good lacing and retention. The color is much darker than other IPA's. Aromas are nice and sweet with citrus fruits popping out of a nice hop backbone. Also some hints of grains and caramel. Quaff is much different from other hoppy IPA's. Plenty of hops make up the taste but there is also some piny notes. Not much citrus in the mouth. Mouthfeel is well carbonated and medium bodied. Plenty of hops bounce around on the tongue. Drinkability is obviously high, ABV allows you to sip a couple and taste is right there. I am very excited to move onto the other IPA's from Alpine. (848 characters)

Photo of joepais
3.45/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to errantnight for hooking me up with this. Bottle spit among friends produced a smaller white head than expected that went off to nothing. it has a somewhat cloudy yellow in color body to it.

I will say I wasn't to much impressed with the new hop variety. I didn't get the grapefruit aroma the touted on the bottle but more of grassy earthy hops to it. It was nice but having tried this right after their Duet It was a little underwhelming.
The flavor was kind of a nice for Rye. PA and I will say one of the better of that hybrid that I have tasted. It had a good balance of pepper and hop to it and it finished rather dry in the mouth. The feel was light with somewhat a lack of carbonation for me. I think this brew needed more.

I finished the glass easily. it's a ok beer but I have had better in this Hybrid of a style.

Edit.. after looking at others reviews I would be up to try this one again to see if it wasn't a fluke or a bad bottle (958 characters)

Photo of PeprSprYoFace
4.87/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

My second time having this beer. This being the first time I am sober enough to review it and remember the characteristics.

Pours a golden yellow color with a very nice head and lacing.

Aroma is amazing. Tons of hop aroma that includes all sorts of fruits and citrus and even a little pine. I need to find me some of these Nelson hops for my homebrew.

Taste is so unique and amazing. The rye lends this different sort of flavor I can't really explain. I can see drinking this with some awesome Italian food.

Mouthfeel is good but I think it could use a little more carbonation.

Overall an excellent beer and I will drink this as often as I can find it. I only live 1 hour away from the brewery and it's hard for me to find. (728 characters)

Photo of Telix
4.42/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the bottle into a Sam Adams sensory glass.

A: Pours super fizzy with a 2" fluffy cloudlike head. It's nearly sparkling with tons of carbonation streaming from the nucleation points. The color is a wheaty yellow color, and it's almost clear, but not quite.

S: Nice big aroma - citrus, slightly spicy, rye malts, grapes - it's sweet and slightly tart. Unique.

T: Tangy! It's almost champagne like in texture, with big sparkling fizzyness on the tongue that lends bitterness and a dry finish. The tart grape flavors mesh with the rye to make a unique, unexpected beer. I detected a subtle frutiness and a roasted chocolate note, but there can't possibly be any roasted malt in there. Full of flavor, unique, crisp, tart - this would be great in the summer or with food. It's really more like a saison than an IPA.

M: Sparkling champagne-like, fizzy on the tongue with huge carbonation levels. As the carbonation dies down a little and the beer warms up, the mouthfeel calms down into more normal territory. Refreshing, clean finishing.

D: I was surprised by this beer, as it really wasn't I expected. Instead of a rye IPA this was more like a saison, with huge carbonation and a lot of tartness. I'd love to have this again with some pork. (1,253 characters)

Photo of MikeBuff
4.15/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from the brewery served in a pint glass.

A- Lighter in color than the duet with a thicker head thats bright white. The beer is a light straw color with some haze.

S- I dont get the tropical nose I expected but rather a spicy nose. I immeditaly thought of a nice winter ipa where this would would well. I think this might be the rye coming through.

T- To me this IPA is fairly dry, i dont get the oily IPA that I would expect, it works well though creating a balanced beer with a calm spice in the background.

M- Very balanced carbonation with body of this beer.

Overall I think the duet is a easier drinking ipa but this should be in the roation to experience all the variety of hops out there, get out there and try some of these nelson sauvin. Again I tip my pint to Alpine, and im not going to bed! (823 characters)

Photo of cbros
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 22 ounce bomber poured into a mug.

A- Pours a medium to light yellow color, almost reminiscent of a macro brew. There is a fair amount of head retention with a pretty white one finger head. There is also a lot of carbonation activity after the pour. Overall a decent looking beer.

S- The smell coming from this beer is your run of the mill hoppy West Coast IPA. I am picking up a strong citrusy presence as well as some little hints of pine. Overall this a good smelling beer, better than the looks.

T- As with the other Alpine beers I have had the taste is where the beer makes it money. This beer starts off relatively mild which continues throughout. It isn't overpowering or too bitter in anyway, rather it is a nice well balanced IPA that has a nice hoppy flavor. A very good tasting beer that I would love to drink in again.

I recieved this beer as part of my Secret Santa haul, oner in a series of 3 Alpine beers and I am very happy to finally mark this Want off my list. Like I stated above this is a very good tasting beer and I would love having this again. Thanks Matt! (1,088 characters)

Photo of thedindaniel
4.7/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This and Duet have become two of my favorite IPA's and definitely the best bang for your buck.

Pours light gold and slightly hazy with a nice amount of light foamy head. I love how the Nelson sauvignon hops smell, they're distinct and the rye definitely gives off a bit of grassy-summery aromas. The taste is pure citrusy bitterness with a perfect dry malt after taste. Once again, the nelson hops have a certain uniqueness to them, I've only had them in one other beer (Karl Strauss Big Barrel but the hop makes its presence felt.)The beer is very smooth, clean and crisp. This beer is very easy to drink but I don't know if rye is for everyone. Great west-coast IPA and another feather in Alpine's IPA hat. (709 characters)

Photo of afausser
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Appearance: Pours a fizzy golden peach toned orange with huge carbonation--a couple inches. Huge mid sized carbonation bubbles and swirl around the glass to the top. The head on this one's going nowhere. The head retention is amazing given that the bubbles are so big--they look like the type that are going to disappear at any moment, but they stick around impressively--I'm not sure at this rate I'll be able to get through to the beer. A beautiful pattern of sticky lacing.

Smell: A sweet bouquet of sugary, floral hops. There's a slight honey note, but it really does come across more as sugar and flowers. And of course, it's quite hoppy, but not really particularly bitter. There's a slight mowed grass smell to it--and even a bit of chives, as well as a slight rye element. Simple, light, hoppy, and nice, as it should be.

Taste: There's a mild sweetness here, but it's very slight, as is any bitterness from the hops. The taste is really largely predominated by a light floral and grass taste, and even a bit of green onion. There's a sweet citrus present as well, particularly as it warms up a bit. Very light, refreshing, and interesting. A bit more hoppy bitterness emerges as it warms, as does a very mild strawberry note.

Mouthfeel: Very large carbonation bubbles in the mouthfeel at first, which force the beer down quickly and leave behind a very dry aftertaste. The bubbles settle down quite nicely and what remains is tiny, crisp, and smooth. Turns out to be very well balanced.

Drinkability: goes down incredibly easily--not too harsh, bitter, or in your face, and done quite nicely. Could drink this one all night and not think twice about it. At the same time, it's quite unique and nicely done--I've never had a beer quite like this. (1,759 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.35/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

22 oz. bottle purchased from Beverages 4 Less, poured in to a cervoise.

Appearance: Pours a surprisingly bleached golden peach in to my stemmed cervoise, and I should have eased back on the pour as soon as I noticed the frothy foam quickly forming, but alas - my failure to do so resulted in an explosive three finger white head erupting forth from this massively carbonated brew. The pillow of white marshmallow foam that sits atop a body teeming with large, sprightly effervescence is impressively rocky, sports some impressive retention, and leaves large patches of coagulated lace.

Aroma: Most of the reviews I've read of this brew - and, indeed, the side of the bottle itself - comment on the extensive use of Nelson Sauvin hops in this one. I presume this is what I'm smelling when I'm greeted by the massively floral, herbal bouquet that erupts from this glass. A nice amount of golden, honey sweetness provides an excellent backdrop for spicy, freshly-mowed grass, chives, basil, white grapefruit, and oranges. Very subtle, inviting, and approachable.

Taste: "Surprisingly dry" is my first thought, and "truly unique" is my second. The malts here are - though perhaps faintly roasted in places - mostly incredibly well-attenuated, biscuity, like water crackers or Wildflower honey that's, well, not sweet. Much dryer than in the smell, really. The rye is definitely present, and its earthy, almost dirty, spicy dryness - as well as the bonecrunching dryness (perhaps an overstatement) - really opens things up for a very herbal, floral, leafy hop profile. It's difficult at times to describe what I'm tasting: definite chives (which have been mentioned several times below) emerge from an allium-influenced though also decidedly herbal note; a large amount of white pepper-ish spice; basil; spearmint; some faint pine or rosemary; lavender; and the juicy but still dry citrus presences, orange, grapefruit, subtle tropical fruits. It's phenomenally complex and unique, and though that enhances the drinkability (insofar as drinkability is a factor of that "what on earth am I tasting, let me take another sip!" mentality), I'm a little mixed on the impact it has on the flavor itself.

Mouthfeel: The explosive carbonation continues to present itself, though it's a little more offputting here. The body is dry enough that the carbonation wreaks havoc a little, and though this helps in places - it doesn't come across as too cloying or too soda-like, as many sweet and highly-carbonated beers do, and the zip from the bubbles compliments the spicy zip of the hop profile - it also makes the body a little too rocky and uneven at times. Not a huge critique, and it does improve as it warms, but one worth noting.

Drinkability: A startlingly drinkable brew. The rye pairs masterfully with the unique elements of the Nelson Sauvin hop, making for a full-bodied, flavorful and aromatic brew that's drinkable not only by virtue of its reasonable abv% but also because of the aforementioned "what am I tasting?" effect. I keep getting new things out of this one, and that's really one of my favorite aspects of drinking and reviewing beer - that with four simple ingredients, a masterful brewer can evoke ten, fifteen, twenty, sometimes more identifiable flavors. Nelson - despite not being a perfect brew - is a perfect example of why I love reviewing beer, and in my mind, that makes it as drinkable as any beer I've ever had. (3,436 characters)

Photo of gthornton
4.47/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite IPAs out there. A creamy haystack yellow with a thick head that recedes shortly leaving a beautiful lacing that covers the whole glass.

The Nelson hops smell outstanding here. Up front, with a mild citrus and dare I say roasted Marshmallow and very subtle hazelnut. The flavor follows very closely along these aromas, and finishes cleanly with a lingering of fresh rye/whole grain bread.

Very drinkable, and an overall pleasure. (449 characters)

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
97 out of 100 based on 636 ratings.