This IPA was sent to me in a trade with http://youtube.com/StumpyJoeJr (thanks, Ryan!). I'm usually a fan of West Coast-style IPAs, although this particular beer is made with hops from New Zealand! I don't think I've ever had a beer with Nelson Sauvin hops before (which explains the name of this brew). I decided to pair this beer with some spicy jambalaya since hoppy beers tend to pair well with spicy foods. Let's see how it all came together.
3.6AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
We tend to associate West Coast IPAs with citrus aromas and flavors with intense bitterness, but not all beers from the left coast follow this mold exactly (thankfully). Alpine Nelson IPA is one that deviates from the style quite well as the flavors here are more in line with tropical fruit and the palate is more refreshing than it is bitter. The result is an IPA that’s not quite as robust as you’d associate with the style, but the flavor is unique enough to appreciate and enjoy.
I poured a 22oz bomber into a tumbler.
Appearance: Hazy, mostly translucent dull orange. Small, off-white, soapy head. Retains well and leaves good lacing.
Smell: Smells like a fruit juice with aromas of white grape and passion fruit. There is a touch of grapefruit and flowers as well giving the beer a light, non-intimidating aroma.
Taste: Alpine Nelson IPA starts out with a typical west coast IPA palate across the front and middle, but takes a huge turn with a fruit juice taste in the end. In fact, it reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum! Flavors of fresh white grapes appear at first, but then turn slightly sour by the end. This beer is not quite as bitter as I’d prefer in a west coast IPA, although the fruity flavor is tasty and unique, although a little mild. I tried to pair this with jambalaya but it wasn’t bitter enough to handle the spice.
Drinkability: The mouthfeel is a little thin, but noticeable soft. Perfectly medium-bodied. It goes down very smoothly and is quite quaffable for an IPA. The hops linger momentarily and there is a slightly drying effect of the mouth, but easily tolerable. The 7% ABV seems about right, if not a little high. Not the kind of beer you’d want to session, although one or two servings will hit the spot for sure.
Overall, one of the most interesting IPAs I’ve had, but far from the best.