Post-Stagecoach 400 IPA: Alpine Duet
Is San Diego the IPA motherland? They think so, and there quite a few brews that prop up that sentiment.
San Diego IPAs are characterized as being refreshingly juicy, aggressively bitter, and equally as aggressively aromatic. Evidently there are many great hoppy examples around here, but Alpine Brewing is crafting a few outstanding IPAs considered to be some of the best. The magnificence of Alpine’s IPAs were even noted on the Stagecoach 400 cue sheet (along with the fact that the brew pub is a potential stop along the route). Unfortunately, we missed the operating hours of the brewery as we freewheeled through the small town of Alpine (that section is actually one of the few extended coasting opportunities on the whole Stagecoack 400 loop). But, luckily there were a couple of freshly capped bombers to be found at a fantastic bottle shop upon return. Alpine is known for three highly regarded IPAs: Nelson, Duet, and Pure Hoppiness. I didn’t get to sample the Nelson, which is hailed by many as the ultimate San Diego IPA, but picked up two bottles of the Duet to marinate sore legs after the ride.
To sum it up, the Duet is pretty damn fantastic… one of the better IPAs I’ve had, period. It’s a solid West coast IPA that features a flawless balance of Amarillo and Simcoe hops, giving it a velvety, grassy, and floral aroma. It’s lighter than most, yet still has well crafted bitter notes and a tinge of malt backbone to hold up its refreshing hoppiness. As Alpine states, its immensely drinkable, amazingly light on its feet.
Aside from missing the open hours of the brew taproom, I also regret not getting several more bottles (especially now that I’m in Utah, where beer is, uh, tough to come by). A couple others to try from the wealth of hoppy goodness in the San Diego area are the Boo Koo by Mother Earth, Stone’s Enjoy By IPA, Ale Smith IPA, and Societe’s The Pupil.