Alpine Beer Company has really stuck to their roots. Founded in 1999 by Pat McIlhenney, they started out as a small batch brewery craft brewery, specializing in their world famous IPAs like Pure Hoppiness, Nelson, and Duet. Now in 2014, not a lot has changed. They have opened a pub, adjacent to the brewery, but have not increased production of their amazing beers. Aside from their pub and brewery, it’s still near impossible to find their beers anywhere. I had gotten wind from Alpine Beer Company’s Facebook page that they were going to have bottles of their elusive Exponential Hoppiness (EP=PH²) triple IPA. I was not going to miss a chance to try such a rare beer from the brewery making the best IPAs that I know of. I was off work at 4pm, I drove from Del Mar all the way up to Alpine and was very surprised not to see a line. I walked right into the brewery to the counter and placed my order. There was a limit to 2 bottles per person. They are 22-ounce bottles, 11% ABV and were $11.99. The only disappointment was that they were out of Nelson and Duet bottles. I could have gotten a growler fill, but I had forgotten my growlers at home. They did have Pure Hoppiness bottles available so I bought two of those. So I made my purchases then went home to for the tasting.
The bottle of Exponential Hoppiness was given to me cold, and in double paper bags, but it had warmed up slightly on my way home. The bottle had a nice glossy, foil embossed label that made it feel a bit more special. I quickly poured it into a snifter glass and admired it’s deep orange color and off white head, with even suds, that quickly dissipated to a small ring. The smell was first orange and sweet malt. When the beer warmed up, it brought out further notes of mango, pine, and mint.
Tasting Exponential Hoppiness is the real kicker. It’s a burst of fresh citrus, followed by mango, guava, grape, oaky vanilla, and fruit juice. This one did not leave your mouth dry, like so many IPAs do. No, this one was juicy, not unlike Modern Times Phalanx. This beer is incredible! It’s sweet, spicy, bitter, juicy, sticky, refreshing and boozy… all in one beer! The closest thing I have had to this is the 120 Minute IPA from Dogfish Head, and this beer is much better. Exponential Hoppiness is a unique experience that I would recommend any hop-head experience.
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