It wasn't that long ago that ALPINE BEER COMPANY IPAs were total fetish objects, and deservedly so. You'd beg your San Diego contacts to send you some (my poor sister, for example, or Nat the Beer Rover), or you'd get lucky every now & again if you didn't live down there and some would show up in your town thanks to some miracle of divine providence. The big ones? "Pure Hoppiness", "Exponential Hoppiness", "Duet" and "Nelson". All supreme examples of the hopped-up form. I had my first and only "Nelson" back in 2010 and totally loved it, of course.
They've subsequently been looped and circled by all sorts of magisterial IPAs, and, as I understand it, Alpine has needed to get in bed with Green Flash in order to keep their production humming. (There may be a zillion good reasons to have done this; I don't know and don't care; I find "the business of beer" to be first among the world's most boring subjects). Perhaps thanks to this, ALPINE BEER COMPANY ales have started showing up on San Francisco Bay Area shelves, like, in the last couple of months! Including the hallowed "Nelson"! So.....whaddya think it tastes like? I'll tell you.
This "golden rye IPA" is produced with Nelson Sauvin hops - hence the name - and is, as you can, see, a light-looking yellow that packs a much heartier punch than you'd reckon. Grapefruity, but more juicy and less sour/pungent than that might imply. It's quite biting in the hops department as well. I still don't taste any rye, but that's okay - I honestly have yet to find the sheer joy in rye ales, as opposed to, say, merely tolerating it as an ingredient. I drank my "Nelson" and went straight to bed, neglecting to literally follow the bottle's instructions to "Drink Alpine or Go To Bed". Why can't I do both?
It's clear that as great as it is, "Nelson" has been passed up many times in the last half-decade and is now one of the many great IPAs on the shelves, vs. something that you consider selling a testicle in order to try. That said, I'm glad it's so readily available where I reside - next I'll see where "Duet" and the others stand relative to the great pack of killer IPAs circling our throats in 2015/2016. 8/10.