Thursday, July 6, 2017

Cloudy Before It Was Cool

Late last spring I found myself in Alpine with growler in hand and stopped at the Alpine Beer Company tasting room.  What a nice spot.  It was small, but airy with its exposed beams, rolltop open windows, and skylights.  Two guys were working the taps and there was a fridge filled with bottled beer.   It was crowded and the taps were a heavy mix of Alpine Beers along with a handful of Green Flash beers.  I saw Nelson IPA on tap and ordered a growler fill.   This beer was never widely distributed, and it seems to me it has become more rare.  It may not be the San Diego beer icon like Ballast Point's billion dollar Sculpin, but to me, it is every bit as legendary. 

Memory is tricky, and trying a beer you have not had in a few years usually results in a beer that does not match the image in your mind.  Not so with Nelson.  Too me, it was even better than I remember.  Alpine Nelson was my first exposure to Nelson Sauvin hops, and it left an impression, and is why I am such a fan of Societe's Pupil IPA.  The Nelson hops give Alpine Nelson a sharp, clean taste, with the bitterness toned down and its citrus and grassy tastes accentuated.  I had never noticed this before, but Nelson is a cloudy beer.  Why would I have paid attention to this ten years ago?  Alpine's Nelson was a hazy beer pioneer.  So much for New England's claim to a style.  I am glad that a classic beer has held its own in a beer environment where taste preferences change fast.

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