The UK craft beer scene is amazing. With fantastic breweries popping up everywhere these days, it’s difficult to remember the days when a bottle of Sierra Nevada from the local Morrisons was considered exotic, and breweries like The Kernel and Beavertown were little more than a twinkle in their creator’s eyes.
That said, there are some times where you look across the pond to the US with a pang of jealousy. The odds on me tasting some of the legendary double IPAs like Pliny the Elder or Heady Topper are slim to say the least.
However us Brits are finally getting to try at least one legendary US DIPA, in the shape of Alpine Brewing Company’s Pure Hoppiness. Until recently, it’s been tricky to get hold of outside Alpine’s home town of San Diego, but thanks to 2014’s acquisition of Alpine by Green Flash, their beers are finally stating to get a wider audience.
I grabbed a bottle from Tilt on Wednesday, and immediately guzzled it down, without a thought for tasting notes. Luckily, the very next day, I clocked a bottle in the fridge at Bottledog while in London, and resolved to give it a proper going over this time round.
Pouring the bottle and sticking my nose in, and it’s a textbook US IPA nose with pine, grapefruit and lemon. Taking the first sip, it’s a dank, intenese bitterness that stops just short of being so intense it feels like the enamel’s being stripped off your teeth. This bitterness is balanced by a touch of sweetness from the obligatory (for a West Coast IPA) crystal malts. Finally, after the carnival of IBUs, you’re gently put to bed by a gentle kiss from a subtle boozy finish.
Unlike last week’s train beer - Cloudwater’s DIPA, this is slighly more hard going. It’s a sipper, rather than a chugger, and given the fact that this is likely to be a limited release on these shores, that’s so much the better.