Nelson | Alpine Beer Company

BA SCORE
97
world-class
824 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
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
Reviews:
824
Ratings:
4,063
Avg:
4.38
pDev:
8.68%
 
 
Wants:
1,361
Gots:
654
For Trade:
17
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 824 | Ratings: 4,063
Photo of ShanePB
4.08/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle sent to me courtesy of smarcoly, thanks Scott! Poured into a tulip glass over the course of the evening.

A: Clear golden yellow body with some slight orange tones throughout. A bubbly, creamy two finger white head sits atop that leaves behind amazing lacing, and a thick bubbly retention cap. As I got to the end of the bottle, the beer became very hazy and had evident yeast sediment floating throughout. Judging upon initial impressions though, it's a gorgeous looking beer.

S: Orange peel, lemon juice, pineapple, pine needles and a well-rounded bitterness to the nose. All is balanced well by a slight pale malt and rye character sneaking into the back end of the aroma.

T: Citrusy bitter hops are evident up-front along with orange and lemon oils. Sweet tangerine and pineapple elements are on the back of the palate. Finishes slightly sticky with some residual hop bitterness and rye notes lingering.

M: Lively carbonation, super creamy and cleansing on the palate. Somewhat dry and sticky in the finish, but an extremely exceptional mouth feel.

This is probably the best IPA I've sampled so far from Alpine. I really enjoyed the citrus aspects of the beer coupled with some pine elements. The rye was a unique addition that didn't overwhelm the flavor profile but gave a nice balance in the malts. Nicely done.

 1,338 characters

Photo of jwhancher
4.64/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Picked up a bottle back in early Sept when visiting San Diego. Made a special trip out to Alpine simply because I was hearing such great things about them. Missed the brewery because it closed, so my wife and I hit the pub right next door. After a hearty meal with some tasty brews, the server was kind enough to sell me a bottle of Nelson.

A: Pours a clear gold color with light white head that fades rather quick. Label art on bottle original. No freshness date can be found.

S: Awesome hop character. Wish this stuff was a cologne cause I'd wear it all the time. Sticky hop sweetness of lemon, grapefruit, and citrus and some honey like aromas. Get a little of the white wine character as the label says.

T: Rye and hops. This one is a nicely done hop bomb, yet very eloquently done. A really great tasting IPA.

M: Bitter with some residual hop sweetness. Feels medium bodied yet refreshing.

O: Wish I could find this one all the time. This would be my go-to staple beer. Don't think I could ever tire of this one.

 1,027 characters

Photo of Shagtastic
4.36/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Vissai for this new Cali brew

Poured from a bomber into my tulip glass.

A: Light golden color with a huge head, great retention and exceptional lacing.

S: I love the fruity aroma that i get out of this one. Really comes through strong on the initial pour.

T: Wow, this is an interesting beer to say the least. I love the rye in the IPA but this is a new experience for me. I can't say much bad about it because it really is a great tasting beer.

M: Good carbonation on this beer, really heavy on the tongue but enjoyable.

Overall: I do like this beer, while it might not be an every day beer for me, If I had access I'd return to it for sure.

 659 characters

Photo of brian44556
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a 22oz bottle into a Bell's pint glass. Curiosity of Sixofsigmas. No dating on the bottle.

Pours a bright yellowish, orange, with an amazing thick, bright white 2 finger head. As the head pulls back into the beer a thick ring of lace is left all over the sides of the glass. Smell notes of piney hops, tropical fruits, and a slight hint of malt. A mellow bitterness from the hops jumps out with each drink and is well balanced with a crisp malt flavor profile. A great piney linger is left on the pallet with each drink that makes you want to hurry back for more. This beer is an easy drinker with a great finish. Carbonation is spot on. This is a great example of how an IPA should be brewed. Every Alpine offering I have had the pleasure of drinking has left me disappointed because I don't know when I'll be able to drink my next. Great brew Alpine!

 861 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 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 jrnyc
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

What used to be a world class IPA when brewed by Apine is now a shell of its former self now that Green Flash is brewing it. If I was given a blind taste test would never guess this is Nelson. Shocked at some of the positive reviews here on the new Green Flash version.

 269 characters

Photo of vande
3.83/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: a hearty, somewhat hazy golden pour with slight lacing that clings to the glass as if its life depends on it...

S: Not quite what I was expecting... Interesting mix of citrus, pineapple, hints of the rye...

T: the pineapple - citrus hoppy presence melded together with the proof of rye nelson hoppy uniqueness makes this an interesting ipa...

M: medium bodied creamy textured...

O: Interesting, tasty... Glad I had one!

 426 characters

Photo of oline73
4.45/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass.

Appearance: Pours a clear golden amber with a finger of creamy off white head. Decent retention.

Smell: You can definitely tell they used Nelson hops. Juicy, citrus hop bitterness, hints of pineapple and grapefruit rind. There is some spice from the rye as well.

Taste: This is a really tasty IPA. So complex, but still really hoppy. The Nelson hops are so unique. Citrus peel and herbal notes with spice from the rye. Bitter in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with a good amount of light carbonation and a very slight dryness in the finish.

Overall: Super complex and very good. I would drink this all night long if I had more.

 685 characters

Photo of MrVonzipper
4.57/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear golden-apricot color with a nice 1 finger bubbly white head. Good retention and excellent lacing.

Very nice nose with notes of grapefruit and other citrus hop notes along with tropical fruit like mango and papaya.

Flavor also is very nice with a very nice, different distinct rye flavor with a mild spiciness. Very nice balance with mild floral and citrus hops notes, malty rye and a sweet caramel apple-like aftertaste.

Mouth is very light and smooth with a pleasantly surprisingly low carb. for the style.

Overall a very nice rye that's very different than any other I've had. All around a very nice beer and extremely easy to drink. A must find.

 662 characters

Photo of Drazzamatazz
4.12/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Another share with Brez07, another borrowing of review.

A: Slightly cloudy brownish orange. 1 finger fluffy white head upon initial pour. Decent lined lacing

S: Grapefruit. Pure, unadulterated grapefruit. A little bit of bready rye comes out as well. After allowing it to open, the grapefruit begins to fade and you get more rye

T: Grapefruit, but not as prevalent as the nose. Other citrus flavors, including orange and mango. Weird, but it almost tastes a little watered down. Just a little bit of hop bitterness

M: Medium bodied. Lighter carbonation, so overall a smooth beer. Light pine bitter aftertaste

D: When first cracked open, it smelled amazing. While it didn't live up to my lofty initial expectations, it was definitely a solid IPA. I would drink this beer often if it was available in my area. [Grapefruit reminded me at first of fresh Finestkind, but then I got more of the juicy fruit character you get from Nelson Sauvin . Rye also added a little something extra to set it apart from most other IPA's.]

 1,024 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
4/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a solid IPA, using the Nelson hop (only?) and some rye.
Nice pour, golden perhaps a bit of haze, but it was darn cold

Aroma is tropical and fruity, some stickiness is in there. Hoppy. A hint of pine, but mostly tropical and citrus with touch of apricot or persimmon

A bit of an odd taste, but that's not a slam. It's smooth in feel, but the flavors pop. Again, tropical fruit and citrus zest. Tangy. Somewhat sweet, a bit of spicy bread. It has a bit of pungency which gives the beer that 'oddness'

A nice beer. Good to see the Nelson and rye together; interesting

 575 characters

Photo of flannelman808
4.39/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Most recent batch of nelson though I'm not sure of it's actual release date.

A: An ever so slightly hazy amber (think Jurassic Park mosquito petrified amber sap) with an off-white head. The retention isn't so good but it does leave some decent lacing along the glass (dogfish shaped pint).

S: I can smell this thing from across the room and I'm already positive that I've never had this so fresh. Juicy tangerine and tart dried apricot bounce out of my glass from a half foot away. Up close more of the same... with the addition of a complex rye aroma albeit a subtle one. I have to note while this is a great smelling beer there does seem to be a very slight hint of the "catty" aroma which is usually synonymous with Simcoe hopping (just a hint but I bet people sensitive to this would react somewhat negatively)

T: Dried apricot comes to work and make sweet love to a flavor which I tend to identify with good California apple brandy (heirlooms of a spicy nature... Gravenstein?). The rye flavors of this beer are as the nose suggests subdued, nonetheless tricky woody grainy suggestions are present toward the finish. Spicy earthy flavors creep into the long finish (notably when it warms up a bit). Drink this at a warmer than usual temp.

M: Prickly yet sticky.

O: This is a great beer and far better than I remember it being (and I love Alpines products for the most part). It's one of the more complex IPA's ever produced however it needs love and care in order to be fully appreciated. The subtle, yet highly complex flavors of Nelson take time to develop, and do work together harmoniously. Props. Nelson is rad. Grab it Fresh as hell and drink the mother warm.

 1,676 characters

Photo of aasher
4.17/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I received this bottle in a recent box from BrewerB, thanks for hitting this Want Brian!

It pours a light tinged gold in color, light in body, with a one finger frothy white head. It smells of clean grapefruit, pineapple, light soap, with a light citrus finish. It's really nice. The flavors are a combination of clean piny hops, soap, light citrus, and it has a light yet bitter finish. Still very solid. It drinks very light and smooth and has nice flavors that're both appealing and easy to come back to. This is a very approachable IPA. I'd put this in the Blind Pig ballpark. It's a nice IPA and I'm glad I could try it.

 626 characters

Photo of woosterbill
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber courtesy of millerbuffoon into a tulip; shared with a couple friends at NEBCO. Thanks, Miller!

A: Lightly hazy pale orange body under two inches of delicate ecru head. Great retention and lacing. Very nice.

S: Bizarre. Fruit (both citrus + tropical) is there, but so is honey, floral olive oil, rye, bell pepper, and fruitcake. Weird and fascinating.

T: Spicy, fruity, vegetal, honeyed, malty, and smooth. Moderately bitter finish. Quite a bit sweeter than I expected, and truly strange. Also truly delicious.

M: Soft, smooth, and nicely carbonated.

O: I've never had an IPA, or any beer for that matter, that tasted remotely like Nelson. There are flavors going on here that took everyone who was sharing this bottle completely off guard. Complex doesn't even begin to describe how wacky this thing smelled and tasted, and I really couldn't get enough. Terrific beer, and one that would be in my fridge regularly if I could get it. Crazy good.

Cheers!

 965 characters

Photo of airfoil
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pour from a bottle gave a golden color with a nice white head. Earthy, fresh hops in the nose. Medium bodied with upfront clean natural bitter NZ hops.Refreshing beer with the alcohol pretty well hidden. Long finish really accentuates the unique flavor profile. Awesome.

 270 characters

Photo of WeedKing4
4.27/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks again to a buddy for sharing this with me. Pours a golden orange colour into a snifter glass. I could really pick up grapefruit in the smell. The taste followed suit as a intense grapefruit like flavour followed with each sip. Good bitterness and a nice malty backbone. Very nice beer.

 292 characters

Photo of BrewerB
3.58/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alpine Beer Company has a favorable reputation amongst BA members and even sports a few beers in the top 100, including Nelson. Since they don't make their way up to the SF Bay Area, I used a recent trip to San Diego as a great excuse to visit them in person.

Pours a somewhat hazy, medium orange color with a thin off-white head.

Prevalent grapefruit hoppy nose backed up by floral notes. Touches of pineapple, too.

Herbal hops mingling with a light malt spiciness. Minor presence of tropical fruity hops. Moderate level of bitterness. Lingering, chardonnay-like long dry finish.

Medium-light bodied with moderate-low level of carbonation.

Overall this one isn't quite living up to its top 100 status, in my opinion. I'd take a Union Jack, Torpedo, or Stone IPA over this, no-brainer. Hop flavor/bitterness lacks variety and pungency. Not a bad beer by any stretch, just not as good as it could be.

 909 characters

Photo of Brez07
4.07/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split with Drazzamatazz and Heater

A: Slightly cloudy brownish orange. 1 finger fluffy white head upon initial pour. Decent lined lacing

S: Grapefruit. Pure, unadulterated grapefruit. A little bit of bready rye comes out as well. After allowing it to open, the grapefruit begins to fade and you get more rye

T: Grapefruit, but not as prevalent as the nose. Other citrus flavors, including orange and mango. Weird, but it almost tastes a little watered down. Just a little bit of hop bitterness

M: Medium bodied. Lighter carbonation, so overall a smooth beer. Light pine bitter aftertaste

D: When first cracked open, it smelled amazing. While it didn't live up to my lofty initial expectations, it was definitely a solid IPA. I would drink this beer often if it was available in my area

 802 characters

Photo of seeswo
4.72/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a yellowish-golden color with a nice whitish head. The nose is intoxicating. A light pine is lifted by a delightful citrus array of grapefruit and orange. Wow. Delicious (I rarely give 5's for any category). The taste is really good as well. A light spicy bitterness, grassy with just a touch of pine and citrus. It brings the wood like the nose. Yum. The mouthfeel is medium with a medium light carbonation. I always have felt that I like Duet better, but this fresh batch of Nelson is fantastic. [EDIT: Had this beer like a million times since and this is one of my favorite all time beers]

 598 characters

Photo of azdback
4.56/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone Imperial glass. A golden orange color. A bit cloudy and full of tiny carbonation bubbles. Head isn't that big (not a very aggressive pour, my fault) under one finger and bright white in color. Lace is pretty sticky and leaves a beautiful spotted pattern.

Smell is of amazing sweet and citrus hops. Pink grapefruit and pineapple. Some orange flavors also and a bit of pine resin.

Taste is a bit different then the nose. The hop bitterness is still there and has the flavors of sweet citrus, but there are earthy notes that taste of fresh cut grass. Quite nice.

Mouth is bright and refreshing. Not a bit thin but on the medium side. Not out of place for an IPA though.

Overall I must say how much I enjoyed this. Another Alpine brew that is hit out of the ball park. Thanks to Jeff for picking this one up for me on his last trip to San Diego.

 866 characters

Photo of UnknownKoger
4.5/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very excited to try this. Poured from bottle into my Sierra Nevada pint glass. Smell is amazing. Strong, piney, grapefruity hop notes. In the background there is a lot of malt sweetness. Color is pale straw. Head quickly dissipates to a thin head. The taste is really interesting and unique. There's the sweetness but also a bit of grassiness in the hop notes. The rye really contributes to the unique flavor. Mouthfeel is medium bodied.

Overall it's very delightful. I would definitely buy it again.

 502 characters

Photo of Kshock
4.3/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another San Diego gem....

A- Cloudy golden yellow color with a little head retention. Good sticky lacing on the glass.

S- Lots of citrus hop aroma with a spicy backbone from the rye. Smells like fresh tennis balls..in a good way. i had to put that because a friend mentioned it and now i cant get that out of my head.

T-- Great citrus hop flavors, spicy rye in the background. Really nice flavors, balanced nicely. Slightly dry on the back end.

M light -med body, drys out mildly on the backend.

O- Amazing beer, one of the best IPA's out there.

 550 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 kayalla
4.42/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter. Hazy orange with a good white head. Aroma is floral hops with a lot of citrus fruits especially orange and grape fruit. The flavor is an explosion of hops but in great balance, not as sweet as the aroma seemed. Orange and grape fruit, maybe apple, peach. So nicely balanced, this is a stellar IPA and I always seek this out when they put out a new batch.

 397 characters

Nelson from Alpine Beer Company
4.38 out of 5 based on 4,063 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.

    Subscribe