San Diego, also known as the whale’s vagina. Also home to around 50 or so craft breweries. During my recent two weeks out west, I tried to find some of the beers that I used to really enjoy and cannot find here in Ohio. I also tried to discover some new beers to lust after once my trip was over. That was accomplished thanks to some friends who live in the quiet little mountain town of Alpine, which is just around 30 miles east of the city. Little did I know that Alpine was the home to one of the finest little breweries that is known to man. You might think that is an exaggeration, but you would be wrong. Enter the Alpine Beer Company:
Located off of I-8, on the main strip of Alpine, you will find this little gem of San Diego county. The brewery is split into two sections, which oddly there is a book store in between the two sides. The book store did look interesting, but every time that I was by the brewery they were closed, which was a good thing since I like book stores. Anyway, the first area that my friend and I walked into was the brewery sales area, which had a variety of Alpine Beer company goods, and also sells their beer directly via growlers and 22oz bottles, no sixers here.
After spending some time chatting with their friendly staff, with me basically pestering them to ship beer to Ohio, (Which was responded with, “Yeaah, that’s not going to happen”) my friend and I walked to the other side of the beer company, their brewpub.
This is where the magic happens, when it comes to beer. Everything that I had from them was delightful. Sometimes I overuse that word, but drinking their beer was downright enjoyable. First up was a bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout by the name of Odin’s Raven.
Odin’s Raven was an amazing beer. What I remember: The bourbon alcohol flavor hits you at the first sip, but then you are overtaken by malty chocolate tones, but not too sweet, and finishes off like a stout should. It also clocked in at around 11% ABV, which makes it a very heavy hitter. Definitely a must have from a company that is more known for their hop varieties.
Next on my plate was their Chez Monieux, which was a Belgian style Kriek. I have not had too many of this style to give a great run down, but it was a sour, tart cherry carbonated blast that had a dry wine like finish, which makes sense, since it was aged in wine barrels. Good, but not normally my thing. I was glad that I had it though.
I finished off my tasting with their Alpine Ale, and also some of their Nelson IPA, both of which were again, delightful. Add these beers to the two that I have reviewed earlier in the week, and that equals one of my new favorite breweries. Be sure to check out their website here to learn more about this fantastic company, do not miss them if you are in the San Diego region. Big thanks to my friend Jimmy for taking me to the place (And letting me stay at your house!), and my friend Thom for the recommendation!
Well done Alpine!
When the weather starts to turn chilly here in Ohio, a change also starts in my beer preferences. The IPAs, pale ales, and other hoppy styles of brew start to take a backseat to the more malty, darker, heavier ales that will warm the soul in the cool fall air. For some reason, this is just a normal shift of life. Anyway, a beer that has always been on my list for this time of year, but never ended up on my palate was this:
Enter North Coast Brewing Company’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. This is a mammoth of a beer, just the way I like it: Dark, heavy on the alcohol content, and a pleasure on the taste buds. At 9% alcohol, this is not your grandfather’s Guinness. Not that there is anything wrong with Guinness, it is a fine brew, but Old Raspy is a whole new ballgame. At double the alcohol content, there are flavors that you will taste that you would never dream of in a normal stout. Hints of chocolate, alcohol and roasted coffee all blend together nicely and also add a nice warming sensation. Such a delightful beer is meant to be taken in slowly. In my opinion, it makes for a great fire pit beer.
This is a style of beer that was made for the long voyage from England to Russia in the 18th century. With such a great taste to this beer, you can tell the folks over at North Coast really know what they are doing, and that they really have an appreciation for history. Especially beer history. This one is a classic.