I have wanted to try Alpine's Nelson IPA for several years. Finally, on Friday I was able to make it to Alpine on an actual Nelson release date and I bought a growler. (I would have bought more, but I am suffering from empty growler fatigue.) I am glad I made the trip. This has to be one of the best, most unique IPAs I have ever had. I was expecting a special taste due to Nelson's rye and New Zealand hops, but I was not expecting such a "Wow" factor. Simply stated, this beer is amazing.
When I opened the growler, I was struck by Nelson's hop aroma, which had touches of clove, citrus and pine resin. I poured it in an imperial pint glass. It had tight, white foam and its color was pale straw, almost like a "fizzy" yellow macro. It was the lightest looking IPA I've seen. Nelson's soft appearance belies a robust flavor. Its taste was very creamy, almost like it was poured from a cask. The hops were balanced, and the New Zealand sauvin hops brought a great bitter flavor. It is an easy drinking beer, and is as close to a session beer as any IPA that I know. Alpine has crafted a near perfect beer in Nelson.
Here is my rating:
Appearance: 3 (out of three)
Aroma: 4 (out of four)
Hop / Malt Balance: 3.5 (out of four)
Aftertaste: 3 (out of three)
Mouthful: 2.5 (out of three)
Overall Impression: 3 (out of three)
Total: 19 out of a possible 20, or Excellent
Some of the notes I took include, "unbelievable," "very drinkable," "strong hop aroma," "unlike any IPA I've ever had, but delicious," and "compelling beer - masterpiece." I guess I really liked this beer. It is too bad Alpine does not bottle Nelson. Nelson's price was reasonable, too. Without the growler, it was only $10 and change, which I thought was quite a bargain.