Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Brewery Project: Alpine Beer Co.

One brisk, wintry evening I got into my car and ventured east.  I drove and I drove.  I drove for what seemed to be hours, but was only about 15 or 20 minutes, to the outer reaches of East County.  Finding myself in the quaint community of Alpine, I made my way further east on Alpine Blvd. until I came to a small strip mall.  There, flanking a beauty salon and a small book store, sat Alpine Beer Co., with its brewery at one end of the complex and its pub on the other end.  Intrigued, I went inside.  Alright, so this wasn't my first trip to this small, yet mighty, brewery.  It was, however, a cold, dark, winter's night when I made this trip, so I felt dramatics were in order.  Skipping the small tasting room that I usually visit for samples and growler fills, I went right into the pub.  Bustling as usual, I shared a table with Ricardo, my Alpine connection, and we quaffed a few beers.  Wanting something I hadn't had before, I ordered Keene Idea, a special beer brewed for the 25th anniversary of San Francisco's legendary Toronado Pub.  Brewed as a double version of their popular Nelson IPA, this IIPA packed a wallop of a hop punch.  Extremely aromatic, there was no question what I was about to taste when I took a whiff.  This was an assertive beer, possibly due to its use of lots of Nelson Sauvin hops from New Zealand, and almost off-putting.  I'll have to explore this hop variety further to see if this is the taste that struck me or if it was something else in this monster of a beer.  The brew was impressive, nonetheless, and is definitely worth a try.  You'd better hurry in, though, if you want to try this limited edition beer, as there's very little available and when it's gone it's gone.  Worth the drive, I recommend a visit to Alpine and its namesake beer oasis.  As they say, "Drink Alpine Ale or Go To Bed!".

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