Beer Reviews

Camp Nelson (New Zealand Style IPA)

It’s in tents.

This New Zealand Style IPA is a secluded stay in a deep, dank forest full of Nelson hops. Fresh, alluring citrus aromas culminate in notes of resinous pine at the trail end. Camp Nelson is a limited release, available in 6-packs and the latest Hop Box hoppy variety pack!

Reviews are done by our Sensory Specialist Travis Houston, a Certified Cicerone and FoBAB judge.



Malts: Pilsner, Pale Rye Malt, Acidulated

Hops: Nelson Sauvin

First off, Camp Nelson is a Hop Box feature.  Talk a little bit about what the Hop Box is all about, and how Camp Nelson fits in?

The Hop Box is a mixed pack that allows us to showcase the brewing component we love the most— hops. Nelson Sauvin isn’t a new release, having debuted more than 20 years ago, but has remained one of our favorite dual-use varietals due to the unique and delicious flavors it imparts on hop-forward beers.  


Can you give a little background on the name “Camp Nelson”?

We’re right in the middle of camping season, and the Hop Box is perfect to bring along for some time outdoors. A variety of delicious beers all neatly packaged into an easily transportable case seems tailor-made to bring on a camping trip. The citrus-forward profile in Camp Nelson fades into a resinous, piney finish, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the wilderness. Canned beer also has a smaller footprint and weighs less than bottles, making for easier transport if your campsite is a little off-the-path. Just make sure you pack out any empties!


Camp Nelson is a New Zealand-style India Pale Ale. Talk a little bit about the style.  

Hops are difficult to grow, being heavily affected by environmental factors like rainfall and sun exposure. This means there is a specific latitude (between 40 and 50 degrees) at which hops will thrive that, in the Northern Hemisphere, includes all the famous hop-growing regions— Bavaria, Bohemia, England, The Yakima Valley, etc. In the Southern Hemisphere, most of the planet within those latitudes is ocean, aside from the southern tips of South America, Africa, and Australia; plus all of New Zealand. The requirement for rainfall makes New Zealand not only a viable climate for hop production, but actually an ideal environment. Hops are also as affected by terroir as grapes, leading to the vast differences in flavor profiles between harvests grown in different regions. New Zealand hops, with Nelson Sauvin being an ideal example, are beloved for imparting citrus and tropical fruit notes, while producing lower levels of compounds called cohumulones, which can bring harsh bitterness to a beer. This also allows Nelson Sauvin to be a dual-use hop, meaning it can be utilized across all stages of the brewing process for bittering, aroma, and flavor.


What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

“Nelson” refers to the region in New Zealand that created the hops, but what truly makes this varietal stand out is what’s implied by “Sauvin.” The prominent wine grape grown in Nelson is Sauvignon Blanc. When brewers who were initially experimenting with Nelson Sauvin tasted their brew they were pleasantly surprised to find that it had a bright, almost white wine-like fruit character that no other hop could replicate. The name is a direct reference to the Sauvignon Blanc wine produced in Nelson, and is on prominent display in Camp Nelson. Initial waves of hop-derived orange and grapefruit fade into dank, fragrant pine. Clean, crisp bitterness and just enough balancing sweetness allows the light, effervescent character of the hop to lead the flavor from start to finish. 


What makes you want to drink this beer?

Camp Nelson is exceptionally fruit-forward, with a lightness that shouldn’t be possible in a beer with such intense flavor. This is a special release that you don’t want to miss.


If Camp Nelson was in the big summer camp talent show, what would it do?

Another question that I’ve given FAR more thought to than I should have… The way I see it is that Camp Nelson seems extremely normal, and maybe even a little boring, but is hiding an incredible talent. The beer has nothing unique in the malt profile, and is brewed entirely with just Nelson Sauvin hops. On the surface it’s very one-dimensional, but it hides deep complexities that you have to crack the can to realize. I think Camp Nelson would surprise everyone by sitting down at the piano and rocking a note-perfect Rachmaninoff piano concerto from memory.


Appearance: Light gold with some haze and fluffy white foam.

Aroma: Orange zest, red grapefruit, dank pine.


Taste: The flavor follows the aroma with hop-derived orange and pine, backed by crisp bitterness and mild sweetness.


Mouthfeel: Light-bodied and refreshing with a quick, clean finish.


Overall: Camp Nelson bursts from the glass with intense, hop-derived aromas of orange zest, red grapefruit, and pine. Crisp, clean bitterness carries the flavor to a quick, refreshing finish in this New Zealand IPA.


What foods would pair well with Camp Nelson?

Camp Nelson would go perfect with hot dogs cooked over an open fire.


Ideal glassware for Camp Nelson? A standard shaker pint glass