Alpine Beer Company has been my white whale for a while now. A trip to visit their facility was a seemingly impossible feet. It’s been elusive and always just out of my reach. Alpine is known for making some of the best IPA anywhere, so it makes sense that going there should be a foregone conclusion. They have a limited distribution network, which makes those times when you find it on draft somewhere all the more special. Amongst my friends, who were just as eager to go and enjoy a sip from that heavenly tap for a day, we could never come up with a game plan that worked best for the drive. By “worked best”, what I really am saying is that we all wanted to drink and not worry about getting a DUI on the way home. Drinking Alpine beer is like eating Pringles, once you pop you can’t stop! So the trick was always going to be finding a way to make the half an hour drive (not unreasonable by any means) but also make it back to central San Diego. We needed help.
Enter fellow blogger Megan, of monkeybreadandsweetpea.com
She and her husband happen to be two of my closet compadres and drinking buddies here in San Diego. As you may know from her blog, recently she had been trying a new cleanse program. This new cleanse, for reasons I’ve yet to comprehend, did not allow for the consuming of alcohol. This included beer. So this kind and goodly woman offered, of her own free will, to be our designated driver. Her application for sainthood is on the way!
The drive to Alpine is very nice. Just head east on the 8 and you’ll be there in no time flat. Once you get to the small town you get a very good sense of the charm it holds. If you park right in front of the building you’ll be faced with two choices. To your right is where they brew the beer. This is the door you want to go in for your growler fills or if you want to take a peek at the shiny equipment they have housed within. The door on your left is the Alpine Brew Pub where you can dine on some well prepared pub food while you enjoy to high quality beers on hand.
We had plans to eat but like many of the best laid plans, we managed to foul things up somehow. It started out innocently enough as we started with two glasses of Duet, a nice golden pour with a nose full of tropical fruits. This is a 7.0ABV and it’s a sensational way to start a day of IPA’s. Next up was what would become the beer of the day – Pure Hoppiness. I swear I went into the pub with the intention of trying several tasters worth of their other beers, but as I said before, the plan got thrown out the window. This lead to Pure Hoppiness becoming the beer that ruled the day, and rightly so. This is a fantastic example of Imperial IPA being all it can be – an explosion of big hops flavor in your mouth that leaves you wanting more. You get you nice pine flavor and some crisp citrus as well. The hops is profound here, I need to emphasis this for those who maybe are not as crazy about that flavor as I am. This has a hops punch on the front and all the way through to the back. It’s delicious, delightful and damn good beer. It clocks in at 8%ABV and when you are drinking it in pitchers, well, this is why we needed to make sure we had a driver.
As the day progressed we had more and more friends venture up and we had a great day at the pub. The only sad note is that one of my personal favorites was sold out that day – Nelson IPA. Nelson is another amazing IPA that will make your eyes pop when it touches your tongue. Simply put, if you want amazing IPA it’s pretty hard to go wrong at Alpine Beer Company, these guys have figured it out and they knock it out of the park every time.
Eventually, we stumble back to the car, oh so very thankful that we had a driver who either didn’t mind or is just used to chauffeuring drunks around town. Now we have to concoct a new plan so we can go back and let Megan enjoy the fun too. I wonder if my wife is planning a cleanse anytime soon…
Be sure to take a look at Alpine Beer Company’s website if you’d like directions or to know whats on the menu before you plan your trip to East County.
I can’t recommend it enough!