I'm lucky enough to live in a place where beer from Alpine Brewing Company is pretty easy to find. That said, a few of their offerings that don't make it to bottles have been eluding me for a while. I finally got to check a big one off the list last weekend when I found their highly touted pale ale, Hoppy Birthday on tap at Toronados. Sitting at #35 on the Top 100 List, Hoppy Birthday is the highest rated of the 5 beers (5!) that Alpine makes that are currently in the Top 100.
Hoppy Birthday pours a clear golden color with a thin, foamy cream colored head. The smell is absolutely incredible. Huge citrus hop aromas waft from the glass along with big smells of candied grapefruit, mango and honey. I've had a lot of pale ales before, but nothing that smelled anywhere near as good as this one did.
The taste was a brilliant blend of citrus and pine hops and caramel malts. The taste began with mango and some big citrus hops, then moved towards more of a pine hop flavor. Some caramel malts evened out the flavor before a nice dash of hop resin on the finish. This was an amazing pale ale and I'm seriously hoping that the rumors that Alpine may bottle this one are true.
Final Grade: A
Top 100 Beers Tasted: 33