Here in San Diego, we are exposed to an abundance of hoppy beer.  Alpine Pure Hoppiness, would fall into that category.  Many of us have had iconic west coast IPA’s such as Russian River’s Pliny the Elder, Green Flash’s West Coast IPA and Ballast Point’s Sculpin.  Not everyone has experienced the elusive Alpine Pure Hoppiness.  You may be wondering why you may not see this one in your favorite bottle shop or beer bar.  The reason is Alpine Beer Company has stayed relatively small over the years.  As soon as they release any of their bottles to stores, they sell out in a day.  Fellow BeerAlien Raymond took a trip to the Alipne Brewery and restaurant out in Alpine, California.  He brought back a bottle of Pure Hoppiness for me to test.

Pure Hoppiness pours a nice clear, golden color with no head.  It sparkled nicely in the glass so I gave it a slight swirl to encourage some foaming, aroma.  The aroma was big pine and as it warmed I got some spice and orange peel notes.  At first sip this beer is strikingly earthy and spicy up front with a malty, yet bitter back end.  This beer is very smooth, and though it is bitter, it is perfectly balanced by the malt sweetness.  The beer goes down easy, as the carbonation is pretty light.  It was slightly sticky feeling but had no detectable alcohol.  After about 6 or so sips, you start feeling a chalky feeling on your tongue.  I have noticed this to be true for many hop forward ales.

I would recommend Alpine Pure Hoppiness to anyone who enjoys a good West Coast IPA.  This one is right up there with any I have had.  It was smooth, it balanced the bitter and sweet, great aroma and overall, really enjoyable.  My only complaint is that this beer lacked a good head.  I guess it’s possible that the head looses some of it’s power when the bottle is taken down to sea level from the nearly 2,000 feet above sea level.  I guess if that were the case, New Belgium would have trouble at 5,000 feet above sea level.   You can find Alpine beer, when it’s available, at San Diego bottle shops like Bine & Vine and Best Damn Beer Shop, or visit the Alpine Brewery.  Get your hop on!

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