Nelson | Alpine Beer Company

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NelsonNelson
BA SCORE
4.44/5
Outstanding
4,158 Ratings
NelsonNelson
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States
alpinebeerco.com

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#258
Reviews:
837
Ratings:
4,158
pDev:
8.56%
 
 
Wants:
1,361
Gots:
669
Trade:
16
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 4,158 |  Reviews: 837
Photo of kbm
4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I ordered a pint of Nelson on tap at Toronado in San Diego.

Appearance: Copper with a bit of yellow hue. Thin head fast dissipation. Good lacing. Looks great.

Smell: Creamy ripe mango with strong basilesque hop overtones. Man the smell is so tropical but still maintains a respectable hop character.

Taste: Creamy mango with great hop presence but not overly bitter. The rye is present. Hop flavor sticks to the palate but not in an oily way.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability: Insanely drinkable with a creamy mouthfeel.

This was a pleasant surprise.

UPDATE: I had a bottle of the a recent batch of Nelson. The bottled version is vastly inferior to the tap version, IMO. Overwhelming rye and none of the tropical flavor. If you've had it in the bottle and were not impressed, try the tap. Not changing the review because I believe the tap version is a great beer and a number of reviewers are picking up those tropical flavors in the bottle - maybe I just had a bad bottle.

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Photo of bulletrain76
4.57/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler from the brewery on release day. Gold with a lasting white head. Super green, dank, spicy, grape, and mango hop aroma. Awesome. Smells like no other IPA that I've had, yet is unquestionably one of the best hop aromas that I've ever come across. The flavor has a similar light toasty malt to their other IPAs, but with just a touch of rye spice. The hop flavor is all there, but is not too bitter at all, just very dank, fruity, and juicy. The body is on the light some with smooth carbonation. I know that this is at the peak of freshness, but damn this is amazing. Unique and just awesome all around.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.35/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms,

A: Pours a vibrant yellow, with a full foamy white head which leaves generous lace.

S: Notes of rye, sweet malt, grapefruit and pineapple.

T: Rye is clearly evident with a spicy undercurrent which works well with almost herbal and at times and citrus notes of the hops. There's like a tropical fruit salad, orange, sweet wine, lemon, mango, very interesting.

M: Smooth, creamy, lots of carbonation, medium-bodied.

D: A nice beer from Alpine, a joy to drink, but I wasn't as blown away with it as I was with Duet, but a very good effort nonetheless.

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Photo of OlieIPA
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared by Pehlman...thanks! Poured from a growler into an Alpine Pint glass.

A: Golden in color with a formidable head that dissipated slightly with each gulp. Tried reviving it a few times, but to avail. On the other hand, the lacing...as Tyler put so gently...was "bitchin!".

S: A lot of that musky and wheaty rye smell backed up with a very robust hop backing. Hard to describe, especially since this was my first RPA. I almost pick up some sort of citrus or apricot flavor, but I'm not sure. Basically...incredible!

T: An extremely complex flavor profile that includes a very distinct grain-like taste with leafy and piney hop character. These flavors jell together very well, making this dangerously drinkable beer with a mild bitter finish. Words can't describe the harmony this beer exhibits between being a session beer and an in your face flavor fest. Maybe not the flavor, but the complexity reminds me a lot of Sculpin.

M: Highly carbonated with a nice medium to full body feel.

D: One of the most drinkable beers I've had to date. Extremely flavorful and mild at the same time. Even my dad liked it...and he never likes beer.

Overall: A must try. Perhaps Alpine's finest beer and something that should be treasured by all beer lovers. Cheers!

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Photo of ffejherb
4.09/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's in San Diego, CA on 7/11/09.

A - Clear golden body with no carbonation and slim off-white head that diminished to a patchy veil and left virtually no lacing.

S - Spicy and leafy hops with a slight catbox character, as well as a prevalent citrus character with lots of orange and grapefruit notes. Floral qualities also emerged as it warmed. Very aromatic hop profile overall.

T - Nelson Rye features a really complex hop profile with sweet, spicy and juicy characteristics that are balanced by a sweet caramel malt backbone. Finish is spicy dry due to the addition of the rye malt. Overall, this brew has a very citrusy character with lots of orange and grapefruit flavor.

M - Medium body with a very slick, oily texture and soft carbonation. Dry, lingering bitterness on the palate with a bit of residual spiciness.

D - Nelson Rye displays quite a unique hop character. It's juicy, spicy and dry, and packs lots of flavor. Really pungent aroma too. Alpine makes some fine IPAs.

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Photo of mattwjones
4.97/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I can remember the first time I tried this beer I hated it. But that was years ago when my mouth thought good beer was Pacifico or Miller High Life. HA!

Fast forward to 2009....

My tastebuds have graduated past basic beer and I am now slowly becoming a hop head.

I stopped by Alpine Beer Co. and decided to go for a growler of Nelson instead of my usual Mandarin Nectar (look it up, good stuff) and was I blown away!

A: Darkish golden and clear. The head was clean and white, 1 to 2 fingers.

S. I wish I could soak my pillow in Nelson Rye IPA and fall asleep to the glorious hop smell I get from this beer! All I get is hops. The aroma is citrus and crisp and does not stop coming!

T: This is where it all happens. The first taste is smooth citrusy piney hops followed by the bitter hop bang. This is soo smooth and the malt is there but just enough to balance the hops out and still leave the beer crisp.

M: Clean, full, refreshing and perfectly carbonated.

D: This one is a drinker. It is getting close to the arbitrary 8% ABV required to become a II IPA but I dont care about titles and groupings, this beer is drinkable despite the highish ABV. It could defiantly catch up with you after a few pints.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.95/5  rDev +11.5%
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.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Dave (d0b) for sharing this, and to JesseTheHutt for sending these growlers all the way to Chicago! Served in a pint glass.

A - Two fingers of off-white foam with solid retention and great rings of lacing. Hazed light golden orange color. I'd expect something a little darker from a 7% rye IPA, but otherwise it's pretty good looking stuff.

S - Dank, hoppy, with some tropical notes (but no citrus), and hint of cat pee. I'm glad they just fixed the listing, because this is not an APA. There is a decent amount of toffee malt presence and a very understated hint of rye.

T - More bready malt than toffee, with a rye flavor that slowly builds as the brew warms up. The hop notes are a little less complex with some nice floral and tropical flavors - however the added complexity from the rye balances this out. The aftertaste is pretty clean, with only mild bitterness.

M - This is my main sticking point with some of these Alpine brews - they're very thin. If this had really been an APA I wouldn't have minded so much (although, then the flavor would have been totally out of place), but for a 7% IPA to be a little watery is a little disappointing. Otherwise it's very smooth, soft, and refreshing, with mild carbonation and a fairly clean finish that has only a touch of residual hop resins.

D - The rye flavor builds up bit over a couple of pints, but otherwise this is nearly as drinkable as the incredible Duet. The light carbonation, terrific flavor, and lack of overwhelming bitterness makes this eminently session-worthy.

Alpine is slowly wresting away the IPA title from the other west coast breweries - it'll be interesting to see how Russian River, Ballast Point, and Alesmith respond.

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Photo of rhinos00
4.69/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to JessetheHut for sending this growler my way. Split two ways with BA pecorasc.

A- Looked like dehydrated urine (in a good way). Bright yellow and clear. Left a white fluffy head that was at least two fingers width thick.

S- Sweet Lord baby Jesus! This was so freakin' ridiculous. The nelson sauvin hops gave off huge grape notes that were wonderfully combined with the rye. Honestly this was one of the best smelling beers I have ever come across. There needs to be more beer made with these New Zealand hops.

T- Upfront there was a nice balance between the citrus from the hops and the bitterness from the rye. My only knock on this beers was that the rye seemed to be a tad bit overpowering. The beer finished with a nice spicy flavor. Well done.

M- Nothing to complain about here. Smooth and crisp, very clean.

D- Doesn't get much more drinkable than this. I think the growler was gone in less than 45 minutes between two of us. Great simple flavor with a wonderful feel.

Overall, I would be in huge trouble if I could drink this on a daily basis. My only negative was that I wish there was more hop flavor in this beer. Still, wonderfully crafted and a true delight to drink.

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Photo of Overlord
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Jesse!

Pours a grainy orange/gold with a big white foam head, despite being a growler pour. Smells like some citrus, but mostly an interesting bready yeastiness I can't put a name to. I see other reviewers calling it "rye," fair enough. Maybe that's it.

Not the most explosive flavor I've seen out of Alpine brewing, but pretty smooth and drinkable. Some notes of grass, pineapple, and a little bit of what I consider the predominant west coast IPA hop flavors: pine and grapefruit. A bit muted, and definitely more of a pale ale than an IPA.

Drinkable, nice juicy mouthfeel.

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Photo of surfer4life
4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at Toronado SD

A - Pours a light copper with a decent white fluffy head, much lacing.

S - Smells like I'm walking through rows of hops, not pungnet though. Delightful. I can tell this has amazing balance because the malt is complimenting the hops so well. In for a treat here.

T - WOW! What an amazing beer, this is unlike any IPA I have ever had. Nice malty sweetness complimenting the very unique hop flavor. I get a lot of citrus, but not as much of the lemon/grapefruit zest I am used to, this is way less aggresive.

M - Medium bodied with perfect carbonation level. The creaminess is heaven to the pallet.

D - This is extremely drinkable, so smooth and well rounded and at 7%, it's ok to have more than one. Great beer.

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Photo of SweetNessa34
4.74/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

[SOURCE]: On-Tap at BluePalmsBrewHouse. Served on the day of arrival (4/9/09) shortly after tapping

[SERVING TYPE]: Pint Glass

[SMELL]: Amazing "nose" - packed full with a potent bouquet of fresh, lightly fruity hops combined with a crisp Rye aroma- jumps out at you from this super pale white/gold ale.

[APPEARANCE]: Super pale white/gold ale + light white, fluffy head

[TASTE]: Bold, dynamic combination of assertive flavors is almost startling in comparison to the super pale, light appearance. Clean, crisp Rye intermingles with a heavy dose of super fresh, slightly fruity hops and is balanced by a very minimal malt back - for an incredibly light, fresh and flavorful overall

[DRINKABILITY]: Intense combination of hops and rye flavors are very well balanced with minimal malt back. Thus, the overall result is a very drinkable beer that is light, fresh and jam packed with flavor + aroma.

[OVERALL]: very drinkable, extremely fresh-flavored RIPA (especially when poured shortly after tapping)

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Photo of RunDWP
4.32/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Perhaps the ultimate Southern California IPA. Had on tap at Downtown Johnny Brown's in San Diego. Poured a light yellow color, almost the color of a lager, but plenty of lacing and sheeting action on the glass. Strong piney and floral aroma. A decent amount of malt, with a little detectable sweetness, but all the piney and slightly floral hop goodness was definately center stage. Excellent crispness to the hop bitterness. Just a joy to drink and right level of carbonation.

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Photo of jbmorch
4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
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.

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Photo of hopdog
4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler acquired in trade with WeeHeavySD.

Poured a medium and slightly hazy golden color with a larger sized white head. Aromas of citrus, pine, tropical fruits, and rye. Tastes of citrus, pine, the same tropical fruitiness, rye, and toasty.

Notes from and tasted on: 3/14/09

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Photo of largadeer
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: A vigorous pour from the growler produces two fingers of head that clings to the glass impressively. Hazy, bright and golden, this could be mistaken for a hefeweizen.

Smell: Huge juicy tropical fruit and white grape with a kick of spicy, earthy rye. Nelson hops have a very perfumy, fruity, floral character that helps set this beer apart from Alpine's other heavily-hopped pales; combine that with a twang of rye and you've got a beer that's unlike anything else out there.

Taste & mouthfeel: Spicy, earthy and zesty, like rye bread with orange marmalade. Floral, fruity hops blends beautifully with the rye. Malty sweetness is minimal, but this is loaded with flavor. Finishes dry and earthy with mild bitterness. It's hard to break new ground with IPAs these days with it being such a saturated style, but Alpine has managed just that.

Overall: World class, probably my all-time favorite IPA.

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Photo of HalfFull
4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into a pint glass, from notes last month. Shows a rather clear medium golden color with a half inch of nearly white head. Bumpy head leaves lots of lacing initially, reducing through the glass.

Very hoppy on the nose with notable rye scents mixed in. Hops are of fresh pine and citrus and unusually well balanced. Taste follows with light citrus and rye, moderate on the malts. Light and flavorful. Feel is a touch chewy but not in a rich malt sense, as there is a coarseness from the rye that accompanies the finish. Just the right amount of bitterness concludes.

Note: Called an IPA by the brewery(golden rye IPA) and tastes as such. Very nice hop flavor, would like to see more of this Nelson Sauvin hop.

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Photo of MiScusi
4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

5/9/09
Pint had at O'Brien's. Flavor was amazing and it was what I thought was missing in the growlers I purchased back in December. Grapefruit was bursting out of this beer like crazy. Light Grape-like flavor as described for the Nelson Sauvin hop was there as well. Just an amazingly tasty beer, which had been lacking for one reason or another in my growlers from the batch in December.
___

Growler filled 2 days ago.

A- Very light, gold, almost yellowish. Head builds up doesn't stick around that long. Just love the very light color of this. You could easily think this is a pils.

S- Big grapefruit. Also some of that juicy catty type flavor like you get in Gumballhead. The Pacific Brew News guys nailed that one... it is very much like Amarillo hops.

T- Hard to say what hop flavor I'm getting... maybe a tad fruity, a bit green. Hops taste really fresh. Nice bitterness the whole way and finishes pretty clean with only a small, soft lingering bitterness. I wish I could detect where the rye comes in here, probably cause the of lack of rye in my diet.

M- This serving is actually quite creamy- for an IPA, as light as the body is it must be the 7% alcohol slicking it up a little.

D- Really good. Doesn't leave a harsh bitterness like so many beers, which I do love, but this is very nice having a fairly clean hoppy finish.
4.5/4/4/4/4 = 4.1

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'brien's the other night.

The beer pours a light peach color with OK head retention, but very good sticky lacing. On the nose the beer is very citrusy and spicey. In fact, there's almost a speeramint aspect to the aroma that is intriguing. The flavors on the palate generaly replicate the nose, though there's not as much spice. In fact, the beer has a fairly light mouthfeel and is almost a bit watery. On the other hand, this beer is very drinkable, and it's really difficult for me to believe the abv. is over 7%.

I thought this a nice beer, but really nothing all that special. If I lived in the San Diego area, I doubt I would ever order this again, as there are just too many other delectable options to choose from around here.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear gold with a medium white head. Pine, resin bomb in the nose with grass and grapefruit. More resin and pine in the flavor, with the citrus taking a back seat. Sharp rye taste in the back with minerals and a vinuous bite. I see this is listed as an APA here, even though the company calls it and IPA. Either way, it is an excellent beer.

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Photo of damjadi
5/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Carcking open this beer was like coming upon an oasis in the hops desert!

Beautiful clear golden beer! Slight head (wish for a little more).

Smells of a citrus pine forrest! Wonderful bouquet. A bit offputting, worrying that the smell (like coffee) would not be borne out by the actual beer.

Taste: Hoppy heaven. The hop rolls across your tongue, great hop front and amazing finish! Balances the floral hop on a subtle malt backdrop.

Mouthfeel: Rich, smooth and creamy. A tongue bath of exctasy.

Drinkability: Please Sir, May I have Another?

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Photo of m1ked
4.6/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A growler full of this love was given to me for Valentine's Day along with a growler of BP Victory at Sea....man am I lucky or what!?!

A- pours a clear golden yellow with a half inch foamy white head. Plenty of bubbles and streamers.

S- Like a hop soaked piece of rye bread.

T- Wow! Rye forward closely followed by a rye-hoppy punch. More of the floral than citrus hops. Think of hops sandwiched between some rye bread.

M- Smooth, crisp, great carbonation.

D- I f you like rye, and I do, this is an awesome beer. Think brewery meets jewish deli.

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Photo of Stoneman78
3.55/5  rDev -20%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On draft at O'Brien's
A- Clear golden orange hue, minimal head that congregates to a cluster of foam in the center, sticky lacing
S- HUGE rye malts and bread malts, subtle citrus and grass hops
T- Taste is dominated by rye malts to an overwhelming extent (almost like eating a jewish deli sandwich), opens up to some grass and pine hops, finishes with a rye bread aftertaste
M- Medium-bodied, oily texture, highly carbonated
D- This is the most rye-heavy beer I've ever tasted, definitely an acquired taste that loses points for me personally (not a big fan of rye bread), the dominating rye appears off-balance and limits overall drinkability

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Photo of sfoley333
4.55/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap at Pizza Port (12-8-07). Poured into a pint glass a golden color with an egg shell white thick foam head. Smell is of rye bread mixed with slight citrus overtone. Taste is oh my god good...light malt mixed with dank pot pine taste all blended up with a mixture of pineapple and rye. Mouthfeel is light with smooth carbonation level. Drinkability is high with my first pint gone in 60 seconds, dont taste the alcohol and I could drink this beer everyday for years. The best APA I have tried but I really think it is almost more of an IPA mixed with APA mixed with the color and body of a hefe. Great job alpine now lets put it into bottles.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a translucent golden body with a small, white head.

Smell: I must admit, I enjoyed the aroma far more than I have enjoyed anything else that is, or has ever been, placed in front of my nose. Very aromatic aroma of juicy oranges and pinapples, freshly cut grass, and what reminds me of either minced garlic or shallots.

Taste: Light, fleeting malt flavor and sweetness upfront before a bright burst of juicy hop flavors, zesty orange rind and pineapple rings. Full notes of white grapes and garlic (or is it shallots). Hint of damp grass. All in all, there's only a very reasonable amount of bitterness. Finishes decidedly crisp.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: It's really great smelling stuff! I had to be restrained from pouring out the growler onto myself so I could continue to smell this beer for days and days to come.

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Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 4.44 out of 5 with 4,158 ratings