Nickel Bag - O'Brien's 17th Anniversary | Pizza Port Solana Beach

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20 Ratings

Brewed by:
Pizza Port Solana Beach
California, United States

Style: American Imperial IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Not the same as Nickel Bag once brewed at Pizza Port Carlsbad.

Added by HopHead84 on 01-20-2011

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 20 |  Reviews: 16
Photo of spycow
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of t0rin0
4.25/5  rDev -6.8%

Photo of largadeer
4.82/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to Shane for sending a growler my way.

Golden-orange with brilliant clarity. An inch of rocky foam tops the beer, slowly settling to a film.

The nose is insanely dank and fruity. Apricot, mango, candied pine (if such a thing existed), tangerine. A bit of sweetness too, reminiscent of ripe citrus fruit. Stunningly complex and aromatic, this rivals the best examples of the style.

The flavor profile is hop-forward and remarkably layered. Juicy tropical fruit comes to mind first; pineapple and mango, followed by tangerine, grapefruit, bitter herbs and pine. There's a mild malty sweetness to the beer, just enough to lend some needed balance to the hop assault. The finish is firmly bitter, reigned-in just enough to avoid wearing down the palate.

This was a difficult beer to fault, truly incredible stuff. I found this on par with Pliny the Younger, Exponential Hoppiness, Citra, Ephraim and other greats of the style.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.37/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Pizza Port Ocean Beach

A: The pour is a clear orange-amber color with a finger or more of white head and some sticky lacing.

S: A big time tropical fruit aroma to this beer which is very impressive. A lot of grapefruit flesh and rind with plenty of pine to go with it. There's an underlying malt sweetness, but it's really about the hops. Just a super dank nose.

T: Huge grapefruit and pine flavors with lots of sweet, ripe pineapple. The malt presence is the form of a little bit of bread and caramel. There is a ton of resinous pine bitterness on the back end.

M: The body is medium and so is the carbonation.

D: A damn fine DIPA, just like you expect from Pizza Port.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.55/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Huge thanks to Hophead84 for this growler. It seems like Pizza Port is putting out an awesome new hoppy brew every weeks these days. Served in a Darkness tulip.

A - Pours with a finger-plus of late-rising white foam that settles to a partial cap and thick collar, leaving behind fine, irregular lace patterns. The body is a lovely transparent deep golden color.

S - Pine, lightly browned sugar cookie, tangerines, tropical fruits. The 10% alcohol is extremely well-hidden, although this is a little more malt-forward than the lower ABV brews from Pizza Port. Mike asked if this was a Triple IPA upon smelling it, and I'd argue that this has far more in common with Pliny the Younger than it does with Pliny the Elder.

T - Plenty of pithy orange, grapefruits, tropical fruits, candied hops, and peripheral notes of grass and pine. There's moderate bitterness in the finish, but it's moderated by sufficient malt heft and sweetness. It doesn't really drop off from the smell very much which is impressive.

M - Smooth, medium-low carbonation, intensely sticky and resinous medium body, and a somewhat dry finish. Again, no obvious alcohol heat.

D - I drank almost 40oz of this last night, and I woke up on my couch not remembering how I got there. This is possibly the worst I've felt since Pliny the Younger. Perhaps this is too drinkable, if anything. That being said, I personally prefer the midrange San Diego Pale Ales (7-8%) for their more attenuated sweetness and dry textures - this is a rather self-indulgent treat.

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Photo of John_M
4.52/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Graciously shared by Dyan yesterday afternoon.

Nickel Bag pours an orange amber color with very good head retention and considerable lacing. The beer looks pretty good, but then I took my first sniff. Good grief! I immediately get a huge DIPA aroma profile of dry citrus, dank earth and pine. There's a hint of tropical fruit from the malt as well, but the pine and dry citrus really seem to dominate the aroma profile. Lord, but this DIPA smells great. The flavor profile generally replicates the nose, though it's not quite as intense. On the palate however, the pine and hoppy bitterness really dominate, and the light sweet malt is quickly shoved aside. This leads to a very long, dry bitter finish, as one would expect in this "west coast all the way" DIPA. Mouthfeel is very full in this in DIPA, and as already noted, there is a long and bitter finish. Drinkability is pretty good in this beer, though I'm not sure how much of it I could drink. The abv. is 10%, which is about what I would have guessed. It's quite noticeable in the flavor profile, though this beer is not at all hot or heavy on the finish.

Without a doubt, another exceptional, well made DIPA from the folks at Port Brewing. Very impressive.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shane, I couldn't honestly thank you enough. Missing Younger this year weighs heavily on my heart, and having this beer just eased the pain. I split this with Devin and John tonight.

Mildly hazy, this beer is orange-amber with a dense off-white head with excellent retention. Sheets of lacing are present on my pint glass. The nose has an explosive hop character . Pine grapefruit, dank and resiny, this is super intense. Unlike many hop bombs, this avoids being herbal - I do get a little weedy skunkiness, but hot damn, there's none of that herbal, minty, tobacco-like dankness present. Pure, fruity and pine-like hops all the way.

If the nose was great, the palate just destroys it. Perfect for a DIPA in every which way, this is dank, resiny, fruity and piney and fucking perfect. Some peach, dried mango and ripe orange, this is unreal. Bitterness is moderate, further proving that I've fully experienced an lupulin threshold shift. Perfect, this is resiny and bitter on the finish. No malt character, this is all about the hops. Fucking perfect. I would really, really love to drink more of this. Easily the best beer of 2011. So juicy, so fruity, so hoppy without being sweet at all, this is a hophead's wet dream.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.77/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5


On tap at Pizza Port Ocean Beach in a snifter. This San Diego Pale Ale was brewed as a collaborative effort between Tom Nickel (O'Brien's) and Port OB's head brewer, Yiga Miyashiro, at Pizza Port Ocean Beach to celebrate the 17th Anniversary of O'Brien's. This recipe differs from the recipe brewed at Solana Beach a few years back. It is a big Double IPA by the same name, but brewed at a different Pizza Port and a different recipe. I thought this warranted a new entry.

A: Burnished golden orange with perfect clarity and a big white head. Lacing is scattered and retention is good. The beer is bright and vibrant.

S: Hops are dank, resinous, and explosive. There are prominent citrus flesh notes, orange, grapefruit, and peach, with minimal rind character. There are fainter notes of mango and passion fruit. The hop aromatics possess a perfume quality that is worth noting. 10%? I don't smell any booze. Malt is faint and crackery, it's dominated by the hop profile. A San Diego Pale Ale, indeed.

T: Upper moderate bitterness with just a little alcohol. There's no astringency or harshness here. Hops are big and flavorful, and malt imparts no detectable flavor, just midpalate ephemeral sweetness and notable warming. Once again, citrus flavor is heavy on the flesh and light on the rind, notes of orange, peach, and grapefruit are pronounced. Pine notes are dank and equally as strong as the fruit character. The finish displays a lingering bitterness, with some booze and trailing fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium in body with moderate draft carbonation. Mouthfeel is dry, sticky, and crisp.

Overall: A great San Diego Pale Ale. The booze is deftly concealed, making this a dangerously drinkable beast. Highly recommended.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.4/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A double thanks to the munificent MasterSki, who not only helped me move, but provided this fantastic growler afterwards.

A - A surpringly clear amber colored beer with a perfect one and a half fingers of soapy head that dissipated to a pretty thick ring. Very intricate and fine lacing left on the sides. Not really sure how to improve on this.

S - A lot of pine and tropical fruit notes. Sweet with with very light sugar notes that smell complimentary as opposed to overbearingly sweet. The pine is quite light and melds with the sugar, it is quite pleasant and not overly "hoppy" with it's aroma. Really about perfect for me, with a great blend of sweetness and hops.

T - This tastes considerably like a triple IPA to me, or at least a double and a half. Very malt forward with a healthy dose of sugar that is just slightly too much leading to some alcohol/sugar burn. Very good orange taste in this one. The beer got more and more resiny as it warmed up.

M - Smooth and medium bodied with the right amount of carbonation. A little bit syrupy, but no complaints here.

D - Great beer, in the upper tier of DIPAs I've had, and definately in the top 4 or 5 of triples (if it is one) that I have had.

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Photo of Overlord
4.65/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks to hophead84 for sending me a growler. Truly a noble friend. When his time comes, I shall not fail to set his funeral barge on fire with a single shot from a flaming arrow.

Pours a bright brassy orange. Maybe an inch of white foam that quickly dies to a crust./

Smells remarkably dank. Tons of concentrated pine, an interesting pineapply-apricot-tropical tinge to it. The citrus is more like husks and rinds of oranges and grapefruits .... lots of oranges, actually.

Flavor is really very good. Lots of orange, some tropical notes, the pine resin backbone manages to be bitter without overwhelming the subtler notes.

Fantastic sticky, slushy mouthfeel.

Up there with Psuedo and Hoppy Birthday as another SoCal hops triump.

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Photo of nickd717
3.68/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Growler thanks to Arbitrator.

Great clear golden-copper appearance with a large lasting white head and great lacing.

Nice hoppy aroma, with aromas of the "ganja" - hence the "nickel bag" right? Besides that, it's rather herbal, floral, and earthy. Not too much citrus.

The flavor is slightly malty and sweet, a little more than I'd like, with some wacky weed, resin, and floral notes. Salty even, with a hint of ocean water in there.

Medium-plus bodied and rather syrupy with soft carbonation.

Pretty good overall, but not as good as other Pizza Port DIPAs.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.95/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A growler from the ever-generous Sideswipe. Thanks, John. Opened shortly after I received it a week ago. Reviewing from notes.

A: Pours a clear orange body with amber tint to it. The head is fluffy and off-white in color, leaving nice, sticky trails of lace down the glass. This immediately signals that the beer is going to be a hop-bomb...

S: It is strongly dank and resiny, focusing on pine, weed, and moss. There's a very slightly grapefruit and orange character. Like a citrus salad drizzled with wet pine needles. Immediately, this reminds me of Pliny the Elder. But it's maltier than I expect on the nose. I'm guessing this has faded a little bit.

T: I really can't shake the Pliny comparison, though this tastes a little maltier. Weed-like, resiny, with lots of pine needle flavor. Grapefruit is present, but not dominant or defining. A substantial malty, sugar cookie presence is peeking out; I'm guessing it was less noticeable when the beer was young, but it seems to be a few weeks old now, so its age is showing. It's certainly not a deal-breaker.

M: Solid flavor, with a bitter aftertaste. However, it carries a residual flavor of pine and oranges that minimizes the IBU perception and helps the tongue emphasize the beer's flavor. No heat to it.

D: Immensely drinkable. I keep downing it and downing it. Oh, how I suffered the next day.

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Photo of imyourhero21
5/5  rDev +9.6%

Photo of mithrascruor
4.42/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Brien's, San Diego.

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a light white head with decent retention. Wonderful aroma of orange and apricot flavors. Good flavor, a bit spicy, with those same orange and apricot flavors. Not very bitter, but it works great and very tasty. Quite smooth to drink - very drinkable and enjoyable!

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.54/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Barry busted out this piece last night.

Clear amber to golden color. It was hard to rouse a head but I'm sure that was because it was from a growler.

Big aroma. Honey, oranges, mango, passion fruit, maraschino cherries, pine resin. Glorious hop heaven.

Crazy amount of hop flavor that relates to the smell. Pine resin, orange-mango-pineapple and a full blast of bitterness that massages your tongue. Dry finish. Little malt sweetness. The bitterness to hop flavor is balanced very well. This thing must've went through some insane amount of late hopping additions. It drinks so easily for 10%.

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Photo of dmsohyea
4.92/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vertical tasting with Pliny the Younger, Alpine Exponential Hoppieness, and Port Hop Suey. It was easily the best of the four. On-tap at O'Brien's 3/19/11

A: Medium orange color with off white 1 finger head in the 4oz taster glass. Very fine bubbly head with good retention down the side of the glass.

S: Sticky, earthy pine with light citrus notes. I believe "dank" is a good word to describe the smell (coming from a non-stoner...). Such an overwhelming scent, quite top notch. I'm tempted to lower my PtY smell score to 4.5 since this one blew it out of the water.

T: Strong hop bitterness on the initial sip, a touch of sweetness in the mid palate, and an extremely dry finish that lingers forever. This is a very hoppy finish. You may feel like you inhaled a hop cigarette and exhaled the hop goodness for several minutes after finishing this glass.

M: For mouthfeel, PtY absolutely sets the bar for perfection. This beer has some stinging bitterness that could send some drinkers away. Personally, I love that feeling. Since the smoothness isn't there where it would be in Younger, I'll lower this slightly. Still very dry, but extremely drinkable.

O: After sampling some of the best double and triple IPA's around, I would have a hard time finding one that I liked better than Nickel Bag. A fantastic brew that I am sad I will most likely never have again.

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Photo of Sideswipe
4.32/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a beautiful orange amber colorwith a finger of white foam. Head dissipates quickly leaving a small ring and no lacing.

Smell is huge tropical fruit. Just a hint of sugar cookie malt gets through the strong mango, tangerine, grapefruit aroma.

Taste starts out sweet then dissolves into huge waves of grapefruit bitterness. Pine and grapefruit predominate throughout. Finish is a lingering bitterness which almost manages to completely mask the 10% ABV. This beer is crazy bitter!

A medium body and low level of carbonation make the mouthfeel smooth slightly sticky. Nice.

Drinkability is great considering the ABV. I love the bitter aftertaste that just won't quit!

A huge west coast hop bomb! Not for the faint of heart. Prepare for the enamel to begin peeling off your teeth, and for the demise of your taste buds! Love it! Another great DIPA from PP!

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Photo of SDtastentune
5/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Nice clear golden/amber.bronze thing, great lace.

S - Smells of pine hops and more, cant resist this DIPA and want more!

T - Taste is rich piny floral hops mixed with some high alcohol percentage, this one really cuts through the rest!

M - Great, balanced carbonation, and great aftertaste.

O - This is a great brew, very rich and balanced at the same time, with a great alcohol percentage, Highly recommend this brew!

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Photo of mrkrispy
4.75/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Big thanks to HopHead84 for sending me a growler. Oh wait, no I tried this at the brewery. I always get excited when a Port location puts out a new hoppy beer, and a collaboration with Mr. Nickel is a huge bonus. I call it a San Diego Pale Ale, you call it a DIPA. I'll use DIPA from here as not to offend.

it has a nice yellow/orange appearance, fizzy head that dissipates slowly. Unfortunately they serve the beer in a mini shaker-pint style glass, a tulip would be better served.

Intense, almost shocking, aroma of floral and hop stank! Some citrus fruit notes deep in there.

Taste is immediately hoppy and bitter, mid palate juicy notes. Citrus and fruity hop flavors are everywhere...peach/lemon/mango? A crispy and fruity bitter beer, hops are the spotlight here. Dry hoppy finish with lingering bitterness. Intense but quite drinkable. Resinous and High ABV noticeable on the palate after a few ounces.

This beer is the epitome of a San Diego DIPA; juicy hops, a nice bitterness, and a clean finish all living together harmoniously. Hop heads and IPA lovers should seek out this beer while it is fresh and in its prime. This may be the best new DIPA to come out in a very long time (although Kern River's Citra would argue that).

I dare say Nickel Bag may be better than the current incarnations of many of the veteran DIPAs that seem to have lost their way.

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Nickel Bag - O'Brien's 17th Anniversary from Pizza Port Solana Beach
Beer rating: 4.56 out of 5 with 20 ratings