So it’s been a bit of a long day. I didn’t sleep well last night — or the night before that or the night before that or, well, you get the idea — and had a group holiday luncheon today that promised a lot more than it delivered. So here it is, 6:30 pm, I’m still at my desk still trying to get done what I wanted to accomplish before I left for lunch.
And I want a beer.
Off to the beer fridge I go, thinking of something hoppy. The fridge’s contents ebb and flow depending on what projects I’m working on, if anyone has sent me samples to taste, and often just because something has caught my eye while beer shopping. Right now it has a bunch of IPAs and double IPAs in it, plus many other assorted odds and ends, but I am, as noted, hankering for something hoppy, so it’s the hoppy side that has my attention. I’d also like something with a decent bit of alcohol warmth to set the evening straight, but not too much, since the actual, full-fledged end of my workday likely won’t arrive for several hours still.
I search. I scan. I spy the Alpine Beer Company’s Pure Hoppiness.
Popping the cap, I realize that this will be the first Alpine beer I have tasted since the brewery was bought by Green Flash a little over a year ago. I don’t expect it will make much difference, since both breweries were pretty well established at the time of the deal and, to my knowledge, Green Flash has done little or nothing to change operations at Alpine, but I still find the fact intriguing. I grab a glass and pour.
Light gold and somewhat hazy, it has a fruity nose that mixes fresh and canned peach aromas with lemon zest and lemon and grapefruit juice. It’s appealing, but not extraordinary and, perhaps because of the age of this bottle — there is no date code on it, but I got the press release back in October, so it’s got to be about two months old, at least — has only a modicum of that fresh, leafy, hoppy nose one usually gets from a beer that has been dry-hopped with an “incredible amount” of hops, according to the label copy.
The selling point of this beer is its “hop bite,” again as per the label, and it certainly has some of that. But what doesn’t get the headline play is that peach and apricot fruitiness that underpins all of that hoppiness, providing a solid backdrop for resinous, piney and herbal hop notes in front and more grapefruity, citrus bitterness in the back. The lingering effect is hop bitterness, no doubt, but there is definite balance in the body of this beer. Conclusion: It has a flavour profile that strays a bit on the muddy side, not as clear and sharp as I would hope, but generally speaking I like this quite a bit, and more importantly it is serving the exact purpose I wished of it. It’s also one hell of a lot better than the Pure Hoppiness I sampled back in 2010, so well done, Alpine. Cheers!