This past weekend, Alpine Beer Company celebrated at the Great American Beer Festival with a bronze medal win for “HFS” – in the American Strong Pale Ale category. A hometown fan-favorite, this craft beer is one of the the San Diego county-based craft brewer’s tasting room-only releases, produced on draft and in extremely limited bottled batches from their brewhouse in Alpine, CA. In spite of the beer’s huge success and medal win, the brewery does not currently have plans to distribute it beyond the tasting room in 2017 due to its high production cost and hard-to-find ingredient list. Instead, Alpine Beer Company is focused on finalizing their expanded national release calendar for 2017, which features two equally in-demand offerings, Windows Up IPA and Bus Ride Pale Ale, and plans to expand selections of their packaged offerings into 12oz cans for the first time in the brand’s 17-year history.
HFS was first brewed at Alpine in November of 2014, with consistent releases almost monthly since then. Earlier this year, Alpine ran about 100 cases of HFS, which were solely available in their Alpine Tasting Room. The tasting room-only releases have continued to be a huge success for the brewery, with beer lovers lining up to get their hands on these limited Alpine-brewed offerings. Windows Up IPA and Bus Ride Pale Ale both started out as limited Alpine-only bottle releases will graduate to be front line beers in 2017.
“We were excited to earn a medal for HFS,” says Alpine Head Brewer, Shawn McIlhenney. “This beer has been a favorite in the tasting room, and it’s rewarding to have one of our relatively new and limited release beers get some recognition. While it is not being brewed for broad release, we plan to continue to brew it and release it in the tasting room from time to time, in bottles and on draft. Our tasting room has always been ground zero – and the best way for us to immediately gauge the success of our newest beers. It is awesome that at least two of these extremely well-received test-batch beers will release nationally next year.”
Next year, Alpine Beer Company will continue to nationally release front line best sellers including Duet IPA, Hoppy Birthday Session IPA, Willy Vanilly American Wheat Ale with Vanilla, and Mandarin Nectar orange Blossom Honey Ale with Orange Zest and Coriander as well as their annual November release of Pure Hoppiness Double IPA. The brewer will add at least two completely new beers to their national packaged lineup – with plans to release canned beer for the first time in their history. Windows Up – an American IPA – will be available in 12oz bottle six-packs as early as Q1 2017. Also joining the Alpine front line is Bus Ride, a Columbus Hopped Pale Ale. Bus Ride will available in Q2, and will debut as the first Alpine beer available in 12oz cans. The brewery will add at least one more beer to release as part of their 2017 lineup, however this final addition is still being finalized.
As far as other experimental “tasting room only” releases are concerned, Shawn prefers not to adhere to a firm release calendar, saying, “There is no concrete plan for small bottle releases from Alpine in 2017, some possibilities would include favorites like Exponential Hoppiness, Bad Boy IPA, and just maybe another barrel-aged sour.”
Alpine Beer Company adds this bronze win for HFS to their growing collection of GABF medals. In 2003, the brewery brought home the bronze for Mandarin Nectar and in 2013, earned a silver for McIlhenney’s Irish Red in 2004. In 2012, Duet IPA racked a bronze in the competitive American IPA category.
About Alpine Beer Company
Celebrated by craft beer fanatics as “The Home of Pure Hoppiness,” Alpine Beer Company was established in 1999. Since its inception, this tiny brewery located in the Cuyamaca Mountain foothills has developed a cult-like following for their highly-acclaimed ales, lagers and sours. As Brewmaster Pat McIlhenney would say “Drink Alpine, or go to bed”! Please visit AlpineBeerCo.com for more information.