If you’re a man, a child of the 90s, and have a good sense of humor, the odds are that you likely spent some quality time tuning the TV dial to channel 6 and watching The Simpsons at 5:00 every weekday night. And as those Simpsons die hards know, the phrase “HAA-HAA” only belongs to one character. The school bully, Nelson. Always adorned in a dirty-orange shirt and blue shaggy vest, Nelson was seen pounding on Martin, stealing copies of Bonestorm and chasing after Lisa’s heart. A complex antagonist, Nelson always kept things interesting on the show. Maybe Alpine channeled the spirit of Nelson to create a brew equally as complex. More likely, they just brewed with a copious amount of Nelson hops. Either way, I want to find out. Time for them numbers…
Appearance: This beer is light in color and has a white fluffy head, but is extremely cloudy. While there is no schmeg floating around in this brew, it is not transparent at all. It reminds me of pouring a glass of grapefruit juice. Things look promising.
Smell: Dank… Quite Dank. Rubber, grapefruit, orange, and very floral. A lovely IPA that sputed its aroma everywhere as soon as I pried off its top. On second pour I got more tropical notes – mangoes and pineapple, but after the head went away the grapefruit dominated.
Taste: Wow… this is insane. This might be the best IPA I’ve ever had. First sip is harshly dank upfront, then the brew lets its guard down. It opens up to you with a gentle bouquet of grapefruit, flowers, fruitiness, and just a touch of sweetness. This is all on the first sip. You continue to pick up on the grapefruit and overall citrus characteristics of this beer as you drink, and that dank, rubbery taste still hits you when the liquid touches your lips. The flavors in this brew don’t evolve much, but they do all come together quite well. Darwin doesn’t like it, but John, Paul, George, and Ringo all do. The finish of this beer might be the nicest part of it. The flavors in Nelson never seem to die. After you sip, your entire mouth is lingering with the same exact flavors your palate just identified. The bitterness of the brew is felt not just on the tongue, but all over the sides of your mouth. It also has a bit of sweet/sour going on at the end of this beer, which pairs better than Batman and Robin. I’m assuming the lasting finish isn’t just because the flavors are so assertive, but also because of the carbonation in the beer.
The bubbles are lively, more so than other IPAs I’ve had recently. Usually, over carbonated hop-forward brews are a detriment to the drinking experience, but this time around the prevalence of CO2 in the beer adds to the boundless flavors it possesses. After you swallow, they prick the sides of the mouth adding to the long finish of the beer. Imagine if the inside of your cheeks “fell asleep” – that’s what the carbonation does here. And although the bubbles were heavy, the mouthfeel of this brew was lighter than a sliver of paper. It was so easy to drink it’s dangerous, but the ABV won’t get you in that much trouble. At 7%, it’s high, but typical of most craft IPAs.
Overall: After drinking this beer, you begin to empathize with Jesus Christ ascending into heaven. This beer is a spiritual retreat in a bottle. Undoubtedly, Nelson gets an A+ and a ticket into the hall of fame.