The 16 oz. can of Port Brewing’s Nelson the Greeter IPA sports a vibrant turquoise hue with a faded image that demands closer inspection. The label reveals an unconventional choice—an elderly gentleman strategically positioned to maintain a semblance of decency, using the Port Brewing logo as a censor. It’s an unorthodox design that somehow fits into the brand’s canned beer lineup. The overall aesthetic, characterized by desaturated beach photos, lacks a definitive graphic design, leaving room for mixed feelings.


Despite the anticipation for an explosive aroma dominated by Nelson hops, the beer’s age appears to have taken a toll. The bottling date, unfortunately illegible, hints at a 6-7 week-old brew. As the liquid is poured into specialty glassware, the clear, super-light straw-colored ale is accompanied by a diminishing white foam. The aroma, while not bursting with exotic hops, offers glimpses of the base pale malt, reminiscent of sweet Hawaiian bread rolls and rich pie crust. A faint herbal green tea note manages to sneak through, providing a subtle echo of the beer’s potentially fresher state.


The initial sip introduces a rich combination of fresh bready malt and buttery pie crust, leaving a palate-coating oiliness. This indulgent start transitions into a dry and grassy mid-palate, showcasing the hop-centric character. Despite the beer’s age, a lingering bitterness prevails, teetering on the edge without reaching the extreme pine needle intensity found in some competitors like Sierra Nevada or Stone. The slightly rough body enhances the bitterness, creating a blissful experience for those devoted to hop-centric profiles.


Nelson the Greeter’s body, although not as fresh as desired, maintains a crisp and highly enjoyable quality. The 6% ABV stands out in a segment often dominated by heftier 7.5% IPAs, providing a breath of fresh air. The well-constructed nature of the beer adds to its appeal, but the aged profile detracts from the overall experience. The absence of the anticipated vibrancy in the aroma and the rough texture of the body highlight the importance of securing a fresher example for a more satisfying tasting experience.


Despite the drawbacks associated with an aging can and the subdued hop characteristics, Port Brewing’s Nelson the Greeter IPA manages to deliver a commendable drinking experience. The 6% ABV, a departure from the prevalent higher-alcohol IPAs, adds to its appeal. The beer’s construction is evident in its flavors, but the missing freshness leaves a lingering wish for a more vibrant and recently brewed iteration. In the eclectic lineup of Port Brewing, this addition stands out, offering a unique perspective even if it doesn’t fully meet the anticipated hop intensity.