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Friday, August 5, 2011

Alpine Beer Company

Drink Alpine beer or go to bed!

The World's Greatest
Unassuming Brewery
Alpine Beer Company was foundered by Pat Mcilhenney back in 1999 and for the first few years of existence had its beers contract brewed by AleSmith (who supplied all the Simcoe for the Karl Strauss version of my BIG IPL).  In 2002 they opened their own small brewery located in Alpine which is 20-30 minutes outside of San Diego over by El Cajon.  In 2008 they expanded and opened a small brewpub in 2010.  Currently Alpine operates out of two units on opposite ends of a small four unit business strip sandwiching a small bookstore that's rarely open. One side is the current production brewery and tasting room while the other side is a small brewpub serving up BBQ. It's also very hard to see at first, in fact the first time I visited I ended up passing it altogether. Currently, with production at full capacity, they are looking to move locations to a bigger space in Alpine.

Quick shot inside the
Brewery / Tasting room
Given their small size they have very limited distribution with only a few accounts in Orange County. Add the fact that when this handful of stores actually gets Alpine in it quickly sells out it wasn’t until this year that I actually got to try any of their outstanding beers.

Exponential Hoppiness
I had my first taste of Alpine beer at a Bruery event but it wasn’t until one of my guys at work brought me a bottle back from a trip to our Mexicali plant that I really started trying their beers.  Apparently he had been driving back late at night and pulled over in the small town of Alpine looking for a place to eat and grab a beer, it was then that he discovered Alpine Beer Company.   The next day he returned with tales of their beer greatness, a bottle of McIlhenney’s Irish Red and insistence that he had found the new return dinner stop (we’d been hitting up Stone Bistro and Garden till that point).

It wasn’t long after that, that I was able to make my first visit.  I can still remember my first taste of Duet, it blew me away and is by far my favorite of their beers.  To me it is one of the best West Coast Style IPAs I’ve ever had.  The name comes from Simcoe and Amarillo hops “in harmony.” Other exceptional Alpine beers include Pure Hoppiness, Nelson, Hoppy Birthday and the big West Coast Triple IPA Exponential Hoppiness which gets its name from hopping method where each hop addition is double the previous amount.

To me the thing that Alpine has that a lot of breweries don’t is a line of consistently excellent hoppy beers.  If you are a hop head you owe it to yourself to plan a visit to try their beers on site where they are the freshest. 




  1. Hey ... I liked your LinkWithin "You might also like", so I added it to my blog. I pops blog posts up I had completely forgotten about. Very cool. Thanks for the idea.

  2. I jumped on your site and it looks great.

    Credit where credit is due, I got the idea from my favorite brewing blog, The Mad Fermentationist http://www.themadfermentationist.com/


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