If you don't live in San Diego, chances are you've either never heard of or never tried a beer from Alpine Beer Company. Alpine is a little town outside of San Diego that most people only know because you pass through it on the way to Julian, the closest place to find snow from San Diego. Even in San Diego, it can be very difficult to find beers from Alpine. I had to go a bit out of the area to find Pure Hoppiness, but it was worth it for this one.
Pure Hoppiness is another Double IPA, and it's a great offering from Alpine. The beer pours a slightly hazy golden orange color with a pretty massive foamy white head that eventually calms to a thin layer on top of the beer.
The smell of this beer really caught me off guard. Being a Double IPA, there was definitely a huge hop presence. I don't know where Alpine is getting their hops from, but their beers always smell like the freshest hops I've ever smelled. This one is no different. Huge pine and citrus hops were the first thing I smelled and they smelled amazing. While I expected the hops, I didn't expect the next thing I smelled. The beer had an pretty big "funk factor." I know this isn't going to make it sound like a beer I would recommend trying (which it is), but I couldn't help thinking that the "funk" smell was almost like a cross between a strong cheese and a wet dog. I have no idea where the funk came from (maybe the malts?) but it didn't stop me from enjoying this beer.
The taste is where Pure Hoppiness really shines. The pine hops hit your palate hard upfront and are followed by smooth bready malts. The result is a hard hit of hops with minimal bitterness on the aftertaste. There was almost a creaminess to the beer and I picked up a little flavor that, after trying to figure it out for a while, I could only describe as buttered popcorn. There's also a slight caramel sweetness to the malts that works perfectly with the rest of the beer. The mouthfeel is just what I expect from a double IPA- slightly heavier than a single IPA but not so heavy that you forget about the hops. Alpine makes another double IPA called Exponential Hoppiness that I will no doubt be trying if I can get my hands on it. So look for Alpine beers out there, they're definitely worth a try.
Final Grade: A+