From the Beer Writer: Acronyms are used across the alcoholic-beverage industry, typically to describe particularly fine product. Cognac uses VSOP (very special/superior old pale) and XO (extra old), and I’ve always been a fan of Napa-based Chateau Potelle’s using VGS (very good shit) to describe its finest vintages. Alpine Beer Company issued an acronymous handle to its Mosaic-, Simcoe- and Citra-infused India pale ale…Alpine HFS. It’s not so much a descriptor as a reactionary phrase broken down into a publicly suitable format; the sort of happily expletive-laced comment one’s liable to make after tasting this rich, bold IPA. It debuted to great fanfare last year as a draft-only offering before taking a bronze medal in the American-style Strong Pale Ale category at the Great American Beer Festival. The next chapter in this brew’s short but illustrious lifespan is its first release in bottles. That will take place starting at noon, today at Alpine’s tasting room in its namesake East County town. They don’t figure to stay in stock for long. Show up tomorrow to pick some up and you may find yourself shouting Holy F***ing S*** for all the wrong reasons.
From the Brewer: “The beer that named itself. We always strive to offer the best beer we can possibly make, and with this beer we felt it was perfect right out of the gate. No adjustments were necessary. We got exactly what we wanted out of the beer: huge hop aroma, light body and immense drinkability. We hope this beer stays in heavy rotation.”—Shawn McIlhenney, Head Brewer, Alpine Beer Company
From the Beer Writer: There was a time when pretty much the only way I was going to get my hands on prime Pizza Port beers like Swami’s, Chronic or Kook, was by going to one of that storied chain’s brewpubs. Having lived my entire life in inland San Diego, that constituted a special (and always well-worth-it) trip. So, it was a good day, indeed, when Pizza Port’s Bressi Ranch started canning those beers and distributing them all over San Diego County. More recently, the company has started developing new beers specifically for canning, and the latest is perhaps my new favorite canned offering—Pizza Port Graveyard’s Pale Ale. A “strong pale ale,” it comes in at 6.2% alcohol-by-volume and comes on strong up-front fruitiness from Mosaic, Ella, Vic Secret, Super Pride and Amarillo hops. But for me, Graveyard’s real beauty and differentiating factor is its balancing and complex maltiness, the product of a blend of Munich and CaraRed—which presents itself courtesy of toasty, biscuit undertones. Each sip smacks not only of San Diego brewing sensibilities, but Pizza Port’s specific and unmistakable trademark combination of flavor and drinkability. It’s the kind of pale ale I could spend the day drinking pint after pint of at an indoor picnic bench while consuming a basket of Beer Buddies…were I not gratefully able to do all that sipping from the comfort of my own (inland) backyard.
From the Brewer: “Graveyard’s is the first limited-release can to come out of our Bressi Ranch brewery. We decided to go with a stronger pale ale, a style that we all drink a lot of in the pubs and was currently missing from our portfolio. This year, we were lucky to get a healthy amount of Mosaic and Australian hops on contract, and those hops are a perfect fit with each other and for that style of beer. When fermenting it, we blended California Ale yeast with our house La Cruda straing. The Cal-Ale accentuates the hops, while La Cruda showcases the malt. We had also been talking with long-time regular and distinguished surf photographer Steve Sherman on using his photography on a can. All these things came together at the right time for Graveyard’s to get done. The name and label comes from Steve’s shot of the Oceanside break with the same name. It was an empty lot where surfers used to bury their broken boards in the ground, making it look like a graveyard. The photo is from October 2001, during a once-in-a-lifetime south swell.”—Sean Farrell, Director of Brewing, Pizza Port Brewing Company