Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Nelson | Alpine Beer Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
820 Reviews
no score
Send samples

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: American IPA

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by OStrungT on 08-11-2006

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 820 | Ratings: 4,019
Photo of jayhawk73
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Major props to Huhzubendah for sharing this- Thanks Matt!

Review from notes:

Pours a beautiful light, clear, gold color w/ a one finger white head. Very clean and clear in appearance. Some of the best lacing I've seen on any beer.. period... I got grapefruit, citrus, pine, hops and pineapple on this one. Very balanced all around, and one of the nicest IPA's I've had the pleasure of trying. Taste is out of this world, w/ rye, floral tastes, and malt being added to the nose profile. Super smooth and balanced. Feel is super smooth and satisfying- w/ a hops/rye aftertaste. Overall, this is one of the best IPA's I've ever tried. I'd drive hours to get this if I could- Highly recommended! Cheers.

 701 characters

Photo of donovanneb
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

If you opened your eyes and saw the color of this beer, then closed your eyes and took a sip, for me it was the closest thing to Pliny the Elder that I have seen/tasted. Lighter in color, but full of flavor and almost sweet hops that linger in your mouth well after swallowing. Has the exact same flavor profile and elegance that Pliny has, but I think this one might be even tougher to find. Made with New Zealand hops it has all the flavor of a California IPA that all the “C” hops have.

Excellent beer, can’t wait to get a hold of another.

 549 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.97/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle shared by Dreadnaught33. Thanks Jonathan!

The beer appears hazy and straw yellow with a nice white head and good lace. The aroma is a wonderful bouquet of hops, grapefruit, and citrus. This beer tastes fabulous. It is very smooth and creamy with minimal bitterness. In the finish lurks a subtle hint of warming alcohol. Highly drinkable and enjoyable. World class.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Fresh bottle received in a recent trade. A truly special beer. Alpine makes several of the best IPAs on the planet.

 548 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.95/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

his is honestly one of the best I have come across hands down. I knew it would be good, but wow, blown away would be the appropriate term. Served cold and poured into a pint glass, this growler was consumed on 05/06/2009.

The pour was phenomenal. Rich light amber in color with an amazing clarity to it. A huge towering head of white on the top that just would not fade at all, really amazing looking with tons of lace and foam just dripping down the sides of the glass. Intense to say the least as the tons of carbonation just rippled up through the glass. Rich, pungent, grapefruit aroma just screams off of this one. So big it could fill the room. Soo fresh, this thing rivals any of the IPA's I have ever had in terms of shear citrus smell. Light notes of pineapple as well, but even as it warmed it maintained the same rich and bright citrus notes throughout. Really just pushing right into the first sip, I honestly can say this had to be the most drinkable thing I have come across in months. It went down like water. Super clean taste with bright grapefruit and pineapple, hints of a subtle and sweet orange note as well. Incredible. I went through a glass without even knowing what was going on, it was just that good. Smooth, subtle and lightly dry in the finish, this was truly heaven on earth for me.

Overall one of the best I have had period, end of story. Go get this one.

 1,394 characters

4.94/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hazy, turbid burnt orange color, like a gem stone glowing in sunlight.
Smell is of sweet rye, and grapefruit.
Taste follows the nose, just much deeper and more satisfying.
Feel is spot on. A little bit of dryness and a little bit creamy.
Overall this is exceptional. The smell wasnt as great as the overall product, but who gives a shit. This is what a rye beer should be. No exceptions.

 391 characters

Photo of HURTemHIZZY
4.94/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer was great. Just had my first sculpin a little less than a week ago. Can't remember exactly what rating I gave it, but I think this was slightly better than sculpin imo.

Pours a slightly cloudy orangeish amber with a 2 finger off white head that takes a while to dissipate and leaves some decent lacing down the glass.

Aroma is incredible. Starts with a HUGE wave of tropical fruit - pineapple, mango, passion fruit, and then rounds into a tiny bit if pine with a slight hop bitterness after that. Really amazing aroma.

Taste starts out with a bit of bready malts, then shows a tiny bit of caramel before giving way to big time tropical fruit flavors, the same flavors as in the aroma. Like the smell, those flavors round into a bit of pine, a wave of grapefruit, and finish with a slightly dry hop bitterness that lingers. Delicious.

Probably the best beer I've ever had. This beer makes me wish I lived in cali (even more than russian river does)

 961 characters

Photo of Lothore
4.94/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a light tangerine hue with a nice, 1.5 finger frothy white head that leaves decent lacing on the way down.

S- Grassy, Citrus, tons of grapefruit, mixed with light sweet fruits.

T- Bready and a tad spicy that leads into lots of citrus, blood orange, tangerine, grapefruit and has a nice bitter finish.

M- Medium bodied with medium carbonation.

D- A lot of these new top IPAs (Nelson, Sculpin, etc.) are very similar to pliny in the nose. This was wonderfully complex and balanced and one of the best IPAs i've ever tasted, bar none.

 544 characters

Photo of Totalpackage411
4.93/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very devolving beer appearance wise. very light in color almost like a blonde but the taste packs a delicious bite of hopps. One of the best IPA's I've had. Super refreshing!

 175 characters

Photo of hoppyhour
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

What can I say that hasnt been said already, this brew is so well balanced and full of amazing grapefruit aroma and amazing clean citrus taste that it lives up to all the hype.
I enjoyed a bomber while we pulled off the road in De Luz Ca for a picnic about an hour away from where this is brewed.

Paired with deviled eggs and microgreens this beer blew us all away. Did I say well balanced? Amazing nose full of nelson grapefruit and nice carbonated bite with a very unique slightly diesely oily overtaste. Hops are the star of the show here with just enough malt to smooth it out. One of my new favorites. We hope to go to the brewery soon and try it off the tap. *** Highly recommended

 689 characters

Photo of Dspohn
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes. Purchased back in 2010 from a recent shipment which had arrived at Hollingshead Deli in Orange so I could confirm it was nice and fresh, and it did not disappoint.

This beer currently edges out the competition for my favorite IPA to date. A great looking golden beer with a bit of haze and solid white head that left a bunch of sticky lacing.

Explosive hop freshness, honestly it has an aroma and flavor profile that I find to be completely unique in the world of IPAs. A crazy combination of super juicy tropical fruit hops with a delicious spicy edge and just enough malt for support to balance things out. Ideal bitterness for my personal tastes. Something about it reminds me of the first Blind Pig I ever had which is the only other beer that I recall having this particular sort of zesty sweet and bitter fruit quality that I have trouble describing. Unfortunately the blind pigs I've had since haven't really had this character for some reason.

Any way you look at it, this beer has an outstandingly good hop profile that just perfectly fits my palate. I'm confident I could identify this beer correctly out of a line up of 10 top IPAs everytime. Alpine makes some damn fine IPAs and this one's my favorite.

 1,238 characters

Photo of Hopped_head
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Sooooo fucking good. Robust citrusy, grapefruit nose and taste. A beautiful warm cup of pee look when poured in a glass. A mildly foreboding Sauvignon acidity though it's very well complimented by the huge citrus flavor. I highly recommend this beer.

 250 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this at the brewpub in Alpine two weeks ago. This review's from notes.

Pours a clear deep gold, just a touch darker than straw, with a creamy, pure white head that lasts the whole glass and drapes the glass with lace trails. Gigantic hop aromas in the nose - lemony, NS white grape skin, some resiny bitterness, very potent. The taste is awash with hop flavors - citrus, white grapefruit, tropical fruit, white grapes, it runs the gamut. A crackery malt base shows itself here and there, but never gives any semblance of 'balance'. The mouthfeel is light bodied with a medium carbonation level and mouth-coating hop oils. The finish is long and very bitter.

This is a majorly hoppy and complex IPA. Nelson Sauvin hops taste amazing at this hopping rate. A must try if you get a chance.

 792 characters

Photo of chefguy
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Alpine Nelson is an unbelievably great beer if you like your Hops piney and resinous. Nice light amber color, good carbonation, grapefruit aromas, smooth mouthfeel with a meduim body and just enough malts (including Rye) to give a malt back bone to the hops. As a Hop freak, this is one of my all-time favorite beers. Tastes like a pine tree air freshener steeped in dirty bongwater....just incredibly good. about my only complaint is the head retention is a little lacking.

update 2/29/12
Love this beer so much i've been getting shipments from an SD area friend. always UNBELIEVABLY good, one of my top 3 faves all-time. I hear the brewery has a taproom next door with great BBQ, i'm making a special pilgrimage from NJ soon just to experience it. urge you all to buy, trade, beg borrow or steal this beer...you'll LOVE it!

 827 characters

Photo of PPIBrian
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
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 Dreadnaught33
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to grilledsquid for this one, and what an awesome hoppy beer!

A: Hazy golden color, opaque in the center of it and clearer on the sides. A small white head with awesome lacing.

S: Yes! Awesome hop aroma. Huge grapefruit and grassy hops with a definite note of wheat. Even more citrus comes through after the initial blast.

T: hop bite in front, really good grassy sugary center with a bittersweet end. Lots of citrus and rye wheat malt, the rye really platforms the hops well making an overall very fresh tasting hop profile even if its just a single hop. Clean, fresh, and sweeter than the aroma implies, and great.

M: Medium, dry rye, nice.

D: Very good refreshing beer thats very good. Would definitely be in my rotation if I could buy it regularly. Will look to get this, and other alpine hop beers again.

 825 characters

Photo of Popp24
4.92/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Tried this on tap at the brewery 2 days ago and now enjoying it from a 22 oz. bomber.

A - Dark golden to light amber with a fluffy white one finger head. Tiny bubbles throughout.

S - It smells great. Very fresh hop smells and some sweet citrus smells as well.

T - Hops are very nice and flavorful but not overpowering at all. Nice fresh grass taste with a grapefruit aftertaste.

M - Very nice and smooth and creamy and light.

O - Great IPA with alot of complexity to it. Very easy to drink and super tasty. This beer makes me wish I lived closer to Alpine.

 562 characters

Photo of chamawaiian
4.91/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Best Nelson beer I've had so far. The combination of the rye gives beer an awesome slightly spicy bite. Just an explosion of nelson across the palate. My favorite beer from Alpine so far. If you like Nelson, this is a must try!!!

 231 characters

Photo of thebigredone
4.91/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Wow, thanks Chris!

For this review, all I want to say is this beer redeemed Alpine for me. I first tried Duet and Pure Hoppiness, completely overhyped IMO. Put a real downer on my desire to try other Alpine brews. Fortunately, Nelson is the real deal.

Very strong grapefruit and slightly tropical fruit flavors, a pleasing bitterness, refreshing carbonation, this beer is amazing.

This among my favorite IPAs.

 412 characters

Photo of HEaD_Beer_Dover
4.9/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Kinda of biased because it is my favorite IPA in SD and I can go to the brewery anytime. I'm finally reviewing it because Green Flash is now making this beer for Alpine, which I had my reservations. After drinking a few batches, I can honestly say it taste the same as the original that I've come to enjoy many years ago. It is definitely a must try especially if your new to the craft beer scene. Cheers!

 408 characters

Photo of caskstrength
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

pours cloudy yellow with hazy flavor particles.

smells like earthy gapefriuit rinds, eau de Nelson.

tastes like dirt mixed with citrus rinds, mandarins, and pine needles. If that doesnt sound delicious, look elsewhere for opinions on hoppy beer.

an awesome nelson sauvin beer, best i've had actually. Just so well constructed. Love this hop and this beer makes it shine.

 380 characters

Photo of Nashvillain
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had this once before (thanks to Gregshead) and got to try one that I had time to review again (thanks to Thegordianknot).

Yes. Just yes. Everything about this. Reading my review is pointless if it doesn't in some way aid you in getting this beer. Your new life mission is to get as much of this stuff as possible and drink it immediately. Job, kids, life? They pale in comparison to this brew. That being said, actual review below.

Pours a dark straw into the glass. Big, pillowy head sits atop, making escaping without a beerstache an impossible feat. This thing has a ton of floaties. I'm sure they're good for you.

Oh yeah, there's extensive lacing too. As for the smell, it's cranberries, potpurri (not the crappy WalMart version, imagine a collaboration between Martha Stewart and Yankee Candle Co), and pungent awesomeness characteristic of Nelson Sauvin

Taste is dank. Just filthy, but in the best way possible. Like a messy dog kiss, nasty but bright and friendly at the same time. Almost resin-like, but not over the top. Finish is a light alcohol warmth that wraps everything up. Mouthfeel is smooth as it ought to be.

Has great potential for a desert island beer.

 1,179 characters

Photo of kinopio
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle served in a tulip glass.

Very little head. The color of the beer reminds me of a an unripe tangerine.

The smell is the best part of this beer. Its amazing. I spend more time smelling the beer than tasting it. A nice balance of floral and citrus notes. A bit of hay and alcohol.

Taste almost rivals the smell. Tons of orange. The juicyness, lack of carbonation and drinkability make me wanna chug this beer despite the 7% abv.

An elite IPA that needs to be smelled to be believed. Duet and Pure Hoppiness are solid IPAs from Alpine; Nelson is a step above.

 571 characters

Photo of KnowYourCraft
4.89/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A: Pours very yellow with a slight golden hue to it, was quite surprised with the color of this IPA, it looks more like a blonde ale, but it still looks good.

S: Tropical fruits, spice, pine, bitterness, and a hint of pineapple and sweet malts, absolutely amazing smell to this beer!

T: Blown away in this category! In the beginning you get a wonderful blend of spice and pine, which transitions to an amazing blend of spice and tropical fruits, and then finishes with spice, tropical fruits, pine, pineapple, and some bitterness. Every flavor in this beer is so perfectly balanced and you get so much of every flavor, and this beer tastes truly incredible!

M: Perfect execution here, crisp, light refreshing, leaves your mouth a little dry which leaves you craving it more and more!

O: This is an incredible beer, easily hits number 2 on my top IPA’s list! You have to try this beer!

 894 characters

Photo of jbmorch
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is made with 100% Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand. The hops variety was named for the gooseberry-like flavor it imparts to beer, which is similar to the taste notes of a sauvingon blanc wine. I'll have to take their word for it, since I don't think I've ever had gooseberries before. I don't even know what they look like.

There is definitely a fruity accent to this beer, but not the sweet, cloying taste that usually makes it hard to even finish a beer normally described as fruity. Pat at Alpine is a master of developing recipes that are balanced and "clean," leaving no lingering malty syrupy flavor on the back of the tongue after swallowing.

Nelson is clean, slightly fruity, though the nose doesn't give away much hint of the flavor to come. The aroma/bitter balance is perfect, and for a near-stong ale it is incredibly drinkable; there is no flavor fatigue at all.

 891 characters

Photo of HoppyVidal1
4.88/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Just had this beer in a flight of 4 5oz IPA's and hands down the best of the bunch! Amazing balance from the nose to the mouth feel such a beautiful beer! Thanks Three Sheets in Dublin Ca.

 188 characters

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 4,019 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • Free Trial Subscription

    Reside in the US? Interested in a free 1-month trial subscription to the print edition of BeerAdvocate magazine?

    Yes! Sign Me Up!