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Beer Review: Hoppy Birthday

I recently purchased a single 22 ounce bottle of Alpine Beer Company’s beer Hoppy Birthday, a session India Pale Ale. Curiously, I noticed that the bottle was a Green Flash Brewing Company bottle, so I investigated the source of this. Both Green Flash and Alpine are based out of California in San Diego and Alpine, respectively. Both breweries are well-known and respected for making quality beers, especially IPAs. Alpine Brewing Company was ranked #5 of all U.S. breweries in 2006 by Beeradvocate.com.

hoppy-birthday

Green Flash and Alpine Beer Company settled a handshake agreement in November of 2014. Both companies are still independently run, and designs both breweries create their own recipes. But the most noticeable change of this merger is distribution; Green Flash now distributes Alpine. And a recent wave of distribution has found its way to Buffalo. I was excited to see both Hoppy Birthday and another popular Alpine beer, Duet, on the shelf at my local Consumer’s Beverages outlet. I had tried Duet and others on tap previously.  Having really enjoyed these beers, I didn’t hesitate to pick up a 22 oz. of both Duet and Hoppy Birthday.

Here are some pictures of my Hoppy Birthday by Alpine Brewing Company.

Hoppy Birthday_3 Hoppy Birthday_2

Alpine Brewing Company: Hoppy Birthday
ABV: 5.25%
Style: American Pale Ale (APA)
Rating: #9 in style and #150 in top 250 overall at Beeradvocate.com

Hoppy Birthday is labeled as a “Session India Pale Ale”, although the alcohol content is on the high end of what most consider a session ale at 5.25%. The beer pours a deep gold color with plenty of foam retention. Made with six different hops and registering at 69 IBUs, the beer smells and tastes exactly how you would expect a beer made with that many hop strains to. There are grapefruit, mango, and floral aromas. Notably, a pine taste pervades the palate toward the end of the sip, and lingers on a bit afterward. This pine linger is by no means a undesirable characteristic, but full of flavor, and complements the front hop flavors nicely. Hoppy Birthday finishes dry and is well-balanced.

So why is this beer called Hoppy Birthday? “Truth is, everyone has a birthday, and [Hoppy Birthday] is a gift to the senses”, is the text supplied on the Alpine website. You don’t need to save this beer for your birthday. In fact, with all the hops in this beer, its probably best not to save Hoppy Birthday for any considerable amount of time. But definitely pick one up and pretend its your birthday. And then pretend its your friend’s birthday. And… well… you get the idea. Drink more than one. Everyone has a birthday, and you will want more than one of this beer.

Alpine Beer Board
How many of these Alpine beers will we see in Buffalo?

I’ll be looking for more Alpine offerings to be distributed locally, including Pure Hoppiness and Nelson, two other highly rated beers. But for now, I’m happy with seeing Hoppy Birthday and Duet on the shelves.

About Buffalo Beer Biochemist

Buffalo Beer Biochemist
Born and raised in Western New York. Ph.D. in Biochemistry. Professor of Microbiology and Chemistry. And lover of beer.

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2 comments

  1. Tried 100’s of IPA’s. Nothing remotely close to this product. That and, 5.25%. If you really love the flavor of an IPA, & you want to enjoy a few, I cannot imagine anything remotely comparable. Just don’t understand how this much incredible flavor comes with such a low alcohol content. Yes, there’s the foaming (head) issue, but the beer has completely redefined what I thought I knew about beer. By no means am I a beer expert, as all of us have different tastes, but this is something really different. Nectar of the Gods.

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