Enjoyed on 3/22/2011
Brewery: Alpine Beer Company
Location: Alpine, CA
Beer: Pure Hoppiness
Presentation: 22 oz. Brown Glass Bottle, Capped.
Style: American Style Double India Pale Ale
A West Coast Double IPA
So mega-hopped it will take you to hop heaven. We’ve used hops in the boil, more hops in the giant hopback, and added to that, an incredible amount of dry-hopping for that cutting-edge “hop bite.” Once you’ve tasted this unique beer, all others pale in comparison. 1.072 OG Classified IBU 8%ABV
Beer Advocate: A (4.33)
Rate Beer: 100 (3.94)
Jess & DSR got to go to San Diego Beer Week late last year. They wanted me to join them. A bb.com trip. I couldn’t swing it. I may forever regret it.
Yes, there will come a day. I will one day make it to America’s true hop haven. In the mean time, tonight, I (finally) enjoy my Christmas gift from the better 2/3 of your blotter. Can’t fucking wait!
Pure Hoppiness is pure gorgeousness in the glass. The color is a bright, polished bronze topped with an impressive, rocky head of pure white. The clarity is very strong but if you look closely you will see tiny little bits of hop, most likely from a generous dry-hopping after fermentation.
The crown begins proud and tall, then settles a bit around the edges. This provokes the “rocky” moniker, creating a plateau like mound of foam that sits like a dollop of whipped cream on top. After several minutes most of the bubbles have deflated and a very thin froth is all that remains on the surface. The sides of the glass…riddled with sticky lace. A constant reminder of what once was.
The carbonation appears strong to me, but considering that most PNW beers are horribly lacking in this area, maybe it’s average.
If I were to describe the appearance of my perfect IPA, this would be it to the t. Perfect score.
This beer definitely solicits a verbal “oh my god!” when brought to the nose. If one could see odor, like cartoon characters can (picture a ravenously hungry wolf following the scent trails of a baking pie right up to the window of a warm, forest cottage), this would be absolutely steaming with perfume. It’s dense and sappy. I feel like I’m wearing a hop flower as a mask. My cilia is crowded with lupulin. I could sneeze in a pilsner right now and it would instantly become an IPA.
The hops are well conceived and expertly blended. Pine and flowers may be said to dominate, but pretty much every standard hop scent is present. Admittedly, I’d be hard pressed to place tropical fruits amongst the cornucopia, but would you call that standard? I don’t think that I would. I digress. Pine, flowers, citrus, bitter rind…fantastic!
The malts are able to make their presence known with only the slightest bit of warming. They come across a bit nondescript, but they’re there. It’s mostly a sweetness that can’t conceivably come from the other 3 ingredients in beer. I must say that, after that initial inhale, I’m fully flabbergasted that there is any balance to this beer. Absolutely a perfect score.
This beer feels like it should feel across the tongue for a double IPA. It has density. The sugars are dissolved into solution and create a syrup without being too cloying or heavy. Perfect in viscosity.
The carbonation calms with time, like almost every beer, and there’s not many bubbles that could penetrate the massive body anyway, but I’d still prefer there to be more of an effort. I’d be happier with more prickle on my tongue when I swish it around a little in my mouth. Carbonation always enhances the experience.
The thing here is that, after everything that has preceded this section, it almost seems unfathomable that the flavor could compete. I can sadly say that it really doesn’t, but I feel ever so strongly about offering the disclaimer. This IPA may just have the best nose in the world. A well thought out usage of hopback and dry-hopping has the potential to do that. The flavor simply can’t compare.
BUT…if I approach it with an open mind, all IPAs created equal, it’s remarkably drinkable. The balance is sound and the bitterness is minimal. The hops taste earthy and highly floral, the malts taste pale with a soft caramel undertone.
Sweetness and bitterness seem to converge together in a moonlit dance. The mouthfeel, again, allows for it all to be experienced in upstanding class. We are living in a world of hop usage nobility right now and I feel under-dressed.
I feel that the lion’s share of the flavors burn brightest at the very end of the sip. I struggle to pinpoint the specifics of the hop and malt components as the fluid dances about my taste buds, but just moments after the swallow, a hearty smack of grapefruit strikes me. Then, just following, I get a mouthful of dry, grainy biscuit. At no other point in the journey does the word “dry” seem appropriate, save for the very end. Just in time for another quenching gulp.
Have you noticed that the opening track of almost every album that has been released over the past 10 years, if not for much longer before that, is one of the best songs on the album? It’s important from a marketing standpoint. You need to entice the listener immediately or they will move along. That’s the kind of world we live in. There is just so much out there that artists have to wow you early and often to stand out. far too often, what follows is a bunch of filler. One or two good singles and then a bunch of crap. Yet another digression. My disdain for overproduced pop music could easily lead me astray.
Let me be clear, this beer is absolutely not a one hit wonder, but it kind of reminds me of a good album that has a flawless opener and then…a bevy of solid songs that never quite live up to the standard that was set at the beginning. At first smell, this beer is hop heaven. The moment the beer enters the mouth, it pops with sappy hop burn. Then, it plods along as a good double IPA with impressive balance. Will I give this beer a bad score? Fuck no! It’s god damn excellent. But…it does pain me a little that it failed to sustain the early high. Ever so close to perfection. Perhaps they had to leave room for Exponential Hoppiness. Need!
Color/Head/Retention [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 1.00
Odor [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 2.00
Carbonation/Mouthfeel [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.92
Hop Flavor [maximum of 3.00 points possible]: 2.61
Malt Flavor/Balance [maximum of 2.00 points possible]: 1.86
Finish/Aftertaste [maximum of 1.00 point possible]: 0.96
Total [maximum of 10.00 points possible]: 9.35
Yes, that’s right, it’s time for the third and final installment of my Top 25 Breweries to Check out at GABF. Just in case you missed the first two installments, click here for part one (first 10 choices) and here for part two (next 8 choices).
My final 7 choices begin now, and remember, these are in no particular order.
Flossmoor Station – When I think of Chicago area breweries I immediately think of Goose Island, Three Floyds and Flossmoor Station. Oddly though, I have never had a single beer from FS. I know them only by reputation. Since they are technically a brew pub, they utilize their smaller scale and constantly experiment, more often than not, with positive results. If I were going to GABF, I would be strongly inclined to check them off my list.
Stewart’s Brewing Co. – These guys are from Bear, DE which really isn’t that far outside of Philly, but oddly they don’t have a very strong distribution in the area (at least they didn’t when I lived there). If things haven’t changed in a big way, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a decent amount of Northeast residents that are unfamiliar with Stewart’s completely. They are extremely low-key to say the least. I remember seeing them at some of my first ever beer fests in PA like Kennett Brewfest and Philly Craft Beer Fest and wondering who they were and where they came from. Quite a few festivals came and went before I actually was brave enough to try their product and, once I did, I was appalled that I had missed out on so many opportunities. From then on I never passed them by, and was never once disappointed.
Odell Brewing Co. – It wasn’t until Odell started their Woodcut Series back in ’08 that my radar picked these guys up. This past May saw the 4th release in the line, an oak aged lager. All four have a 96 or higher on ratebeer.com. From what I understand, their standard offerings are pretty darn solid as well, especially the IPA. Working with wood, a lot of hops, brett…these guys might be on the trend train, but I want on board.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co. – You know that other massive American-based brew fest, The World Beer Cup? Yeah well it’s huge and Firestone Walker has won the Champion Mid-sized Brewery three times now. As far as I know, that’s unprecedented. It’s quite clear, these guys are one of the best around when it comes to making beer. Union Jack is probably my favorite single IPA in the world. Double Jack is easily in my top 5 favorite double IPAs in the world. Abacus is very possibly my favorite all time barleywine. Their anniversary beers are outstanding, Parabola, I mean come on… If I didn’t put these guys on the list somewhere I would have to kick my own ass.
FiftyFifty Brewing Co. – I would imagine that there is a few of you out there that read Draft Magazine. You know, the Playboy of beer. Beer porn. Anyway, do you know the section called “What’s In a Name?” That is where I first heard of FiftyFifty. Though I can’t exactly recall the details of the story, I remember being intrigued. I also liked the imagery and design that they evoked through their labels and website. As it turns out, they make a killer imperial stout, or so I gather. It’s a 100 on ratebeer.com and it won bronze at last years GABF in the “Other Strong Beer” category. Obviously, Timperial Stout wants to take a stab at this one.
Ballast Point Brewing Co. – The San Diego beer scene is a force to be reckoned with. Stone, Green Flash, Alesmith, Port/Lost Abbey/Pizza Port, Alpine, Coronado…I’m out of breath. All of these breweries make amazing beer and It’s really impossible to dispute that. If you were to fish for one thing that seems to tie all of these breweries together, it would be hops. Every one of these breweries, with the exception of the Belgian style based Lost Abbey (but Tomme’s other labels pick up the slack there), make stellar IPAs. Ballast Point makes at least three and each is more stunning than the last. If you find yourself in dire need of a little IBU boost at GABF, take a gander at BPB’s booth and see if Sculpin is a flowin’.
AleSmith Brewing Co. – I shudder a little bit when I think about Alesmith, in the very best way possible. I love this brewery so much. I wish everyday that Seattle would distribute their product, though all it really takes is a trip to Portland for purposes of stocking-up. I love Alesmith so much because I very passionately enjoy a lot of their beers. I’ll never forget the first time I tried, well, most of the beers that I’ve tried by them. The IPA is, like I said above, from San Diego. There’s just something special about those SD IPAs. Horny Devil is so perfectly Belgian with its fantastic sweetness and remarkably balanced spiciness. Old Numbskull is all that you could ever ask for in a barleywine. And Speedway Stout my friends…to drink Speedway Stout is to have a religious experience. I can tell you that there was a large period of time when I was very quick to answer any brave soul willing to ask me what my number 1 favorite beer of all time was with, Speedway Stout. Now I’m a bit more cautious to answer that question but, if I was forced to at gun point, my answer would be Goose Island Bourbon County Stout. Possibly if I were to get a hold of the barrel aged version of Speedway, that answer would be different.
Well that about covers it. If you are going to GABF this week, damn you, I am super jealous. Please do your very best to enjoy each and every minute of it. Visit the breweries that you know and love, but also visit the breweries that you have always wanted to try but couldn’t for whatever reason. I am very hopeful that my musings can be found valuable to you in some way. If you have other suggestions for our readers, please do not hesitate to post a comment. If you end up checking out a brewery that I recommended and you have an opinion on their product, good or bad, let us know. Safe travels to you all.
We had a nice little Monday evening, enjoying some of great beer in the process.
One of our good friends received a nice care package complete with about 20 bottles of New Glarus Brewing‘s year-round ales. The Wisconsin brewer makes a couple great beers, and a couple rough ones. We really enjoyed the Moon Man Pale, Cracked Wheat Imperial Weizen (a seasonal) and the Fat Squirrel Nut Brown Ale.
After sucking down a few bottles, we decided to embark on a night of Pink Floyd over at Brouwers Cafe. Apparently, the Seattle beer mecca will be playing concert videos every Monday evening at 10:00 PM. I really enjoyed the show, coupling it with an Ommegang Zuur (a Flemish Brown, very similar to an Oud Bruin) and Mikkeller Frelser (a Triple Bock). Both are excellent beers that you need to try, before they are gone.
By the way, Jessica is over at the Beer Engine in Lakewood, Ohio today. She will be taking notes and letting you all know about it later this week. We are a bit jealous, Beer Engine has Dieu De Ciel Aphrodite, Heavy Seas Loose Cannon, and Founders Cerise on tap!
We are also planning a trip to San Diego for the next beer week. Very excited to attend.
So here are the events for this glorious week…….
Monday, August 9, 2010
Concert Vids: Seattle, Washington
10:00PM-?? @ Brouwers Cafe
Since we are a day late, I wanted to call attention to Brouwers’ new Monday night feature – music video showings! Brouwers will dim the lights, boost the volume and showcase a different concert/music video each Monday night, starting at 10 PM. Last night’s showing of Pulse by Pink Floyd was epic.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Allagash Brewers Night: Brooklyn, New York
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Bar Great Harry
No cost to join Rob Todd’s festival of ale. Check out this list:
3. Hugh Malone
Do not miss this if you are in Brooklyn area. The Bar Great Harry is an amazing bar and anyone in the area should certainly become acquainted. What better way to do that – than with a pint of Allagash Curieux.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Blending Night to Benefit the Berkeley Humane Society: Oakland, California
6:00PM-10:00PM @ Beer Revolution
There are actually a few good brewers nights around the country on this Wednesday. But, the combination of charity and a really cool pub in Oakland – make this one the winner.
Beer Revolution is a very cool little spot in Oakland, where you can find about 12 beers on tap and a plethora of bottles. Beer Revolution does an excellent job of attaining little know, and hard to find beers.
Their blending night brings some blending pros over to show you how to make some fine concoctions from you already have in your cellar. They will be working with the following:
Green Flash Trippel
Green Flash West Coast IPA
Bockor Cuvee des Jacobins Rouge
Lost Abbey Serpent’s Stout
Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor
North Coast Old Stock
Stop by and check this out. You know why – its FREE!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Lazy Boy Brewing’s Brewers Night: Everett, Washington
6:00PM-9:00PM @ Alligator Soul
Its a really slow beer night across our great nation. But, if you live in Seattle, like us, there is something great going on close to home.
Lazy Boy Brewing is holding a brewer’s night at Everett’s blossoming Alligator Soul. The Gator has a growing tap list and well-received food. Read this write up, done by Seattle Beer News’ Geoff Kaiser.
This Thursday, LBB‘s Shawn Loring and Timperial Stout will truck on over to the Gator to serve up some of their incredible beers. These days, LBB is showcasing a Nacho Pilsner (made with chillies), a NW Pale (packed with more hops than you typical IPA) and a NW Hefeweizen (for you men who like hops with their light beer). Check them all out – and remember to look for their Imperial IPA at next month’s Fremont Ocktoberfest.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Alpine Triple Threat: San Diego, California
5:00PM-1:00AM @ O’Brien’s Pub
I cannot express to you all – how damn good this beer tastes. Alpine Beer Company, of Alpine, CA (outside San Diego), is quickly becoming my favorite brewery. I would have no trouble considering them a part of my Top 5 US brewers today, and they are likely gain ground as I get my fill of more from them at San Diego Beer Week in November.
Alpine makes, what I believe to be, the top IPAs in the country. They are abundantly scented, daringly flavorful and perfectly intoxicating. But, I have also had their Barleywine, Flemish Red Sour Ale, and their Irish Red. They all bring tears to my eyes, in a good way.
This is your chance to get a look at 3 of the best of their beers. From the bar’s release:
O’Brien’s Pub will be releasing brand new batches of Alpine Bad Boy, Exponential Hoppiness and O’Brien’s IPA on Friday the 13th. We’ll also have Nelson Rye-IPA, Duet IPA and Tuatara on tap. A great night of rare hoppy beers from Alpine.
Don’t miss this.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Great Taste of the Midwest: Madison, Wisconsin
1PM-6PM @ Olin-Turville Park
This might be the most sought-after ticket in all of the Midwest. The Great Taste has become a cult event, showcasing over 100 breweries from the wonderful Midwest, serving over 500 beers.
You can find the list of specialty beers that were available last year by following this link. Don’t slobber on your keyboard.
Expect to see Three Floyds, Founders, Bells, Great Lakes, New Glarus, Surly and other phenomenal brewers at this party – if you can get in.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Strong Beer Festival: Las Vegas, Nevada
5:00PM-??? @ Aces & Ales (also Friday 8/13 and Saturday 8/14)
You never see anything good going down in the City of Sin. So I was very excited to see that a rather impressive beer festival will happen this weekend – and its for charity. In association with Ronnie James Dio’s ’Stand Up & Shout’ cancer fund, the festival will include silent auctions to benefit cancer research.
You can find out more about the event by visiting this link, Aces’ Facebook page.
Aces & Ales will spread the following list over the course of 3 days this weekend:
Red & White
Olde School Barleywine
2007 Old Guardian Barleywine
2010 Old Guardian Barleywine
999 Vertical Ale
13th Anniversary Ale
Dark Sybian IPA
Kilt Lifter Port Barrel
Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout
Old Blarney Barley Wine
Hopsickle Imperial Pale Ale
Moylander Double IPA
Ryan Sullivan’s Imperial Stout
Old Blarney Barley Wine Bourbon Barrel
North Coast Brewing Co.:
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.:
Newport Beach Brewing Co:
A Fortnights Journey/14th Ann Barleywine
Old Town IPA
14th Anniversary Imperial Red
Ballast Point Brewing Co.:
Mirror Mirror 2009 The Abyss 2009 Jubel 2010
XS Imperial India Pale Ale
Imperial Chocolate Stout
Morimoto Imperial Pilsner
XS Imperial YSB
If you attend an event, want us to post about your event, or anything beer event related, please leave a comment or email us at email@example.com. Cheers!
Fresh off a trip to Washington DC, a month back from Tampa, FL and just two months back from our epic adventure to Belgium – Beer Blotter hits the road once again.
To celebrate the birthday of one of our writers, we are headed down the coast to Southern California to visit Orange County and San Diego County.
Now, we have enjoyed beer for quite some time. But, we have yet to experience beer the So Cal way! So we are very excited about this new trip down south, inevitably to sample some of the world’s greatest hoppy ales!
We are looking for some pointers on “not to miss” venues for our trip. Of course, we are expected to try and jam a lot into our 3 day trip. For starters:
Port Brewing/Lost Abbey Brewery – San Marcos, CA
Alesmith Brewing – San Diego, CA
Ballast Point Brewing – San Diego, CA
Hamilton’s Tavern – San Diego, CA (excited for their wings!)
Oggi’s/Left Coast – Huntington Beach, CA (i’m a sucker for Hop Juice)
Here are a few of the issues presented, please try and solve, if you can:
- I cannot find the time to make it out to Alpine Beer Company. While this stabs me in the heart, because they make the best IPAs on earth, Im wondering if anyone has a clue on where to go to get their beer on tap? I am thinking Hamilton’s is a good start?
- I will be staying on Orange County – but I am not finding too much other than brewpubs (Oggis, Karl Strauss, etc.) Does anyone know of any bar that should be visited in the Costa Mesa, Newport, Huntington area?
- We have a limited time, so I need to bunch places together. If you know of a nice cluster, let us know. This was the idea behind Ballast Point and Alesmith – who are right across from each other.
- Anyone have a nice bottle shop in Orange County to share?
That’s it. Of course, we really appreciate all the help! Please leave your comments below, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!