When a brewery goes out of its way to make a beer, it’s good to take notice. When California’s Alpine Beer Company opted for New Zealand hops when great local ones are available, it’s curious. When they opt for Rye malts from Europe when American ones are plentiful, it’s even more puzzling. The end result is the Nelson, a Golden Rye IPA. Named after the Nelson Sauvin hop, this is an outstanding brew currently only available in California.
The balance of this beer is an uncommon one, as it is between a traditional rye malt and the devilishly unique hop. It is that Nelson hop that gives this brew a bewitching aroma, closer to a Thai pineapple curry than one would ever expect. A sulfurous shallot, thai basil, lemongrass, fresh oranges, and canned pineapple. The spiceyness of the rye comes through with a touch of black pepper and toasted cardamom along with a gentle framework of rich malt that ties it all together into a tight package. The brew finishes like it begins, crisp and clean. Difficult to get a hold of, but worth seeking out.