Alpine Beer Company goes gluten-less with all of its beers

| February 26th, 2014 | No comments

We started using an enzyme in all of our beers before the end of last year and are now prepared to announce a significant breakthrough for gluten intolerant people. Because we love you and want you all to be happy, our beers are now SIGNIFICANTLY gluten reduced. Legally, we can never claim our beers to be gluten free because any product, according to the FDA, that once contained gluten can never be claimed as gluten free. However, the FDA threshold for gluten free is 20 ppm; our beers should fall in around the 10 ppm range. Celiac sufferers need not abstain any longer. Relax and have a beer.

This is huge for those with gluten intolerance. Searching for gluten free beers is not easy, and many of the beers are lackluster (though I personally prefer either Dogfish Head’s Tweason’ale, or Las Vegas locals, Joseph James Brewing Company’s Fox Tail; which happens to be the first canned gluten free beer). Alpine is known for having incredible beers, and having all of them available to those who are gluten intolerant awesome. Click the above quote for the remainder of the press release.

I believe that the enzyme that Alpine is using is likely Clarity Ferm, made by White Labs. This enzyme was released last year, and its primary purpose is to reduce chill haze in a beer. As an added bonus, it reduces the gluten content in a beer. When I first heard of this enzyme a year ago, I wondered if/why a brewery wouldn’t just add it to all of their beers. Chill haze is something that no brewer wants to have, and why wouldn’t they want to make their beers available to those with gluten intolerance? If you clicked the link over to White Labs, you would’ve noticed that the TTB has interim guidelines for beers made with Clarity Ferm in what is allowed to be on the label. As Alpine mentioned in their press release, the term “gluten free” is not allowed since it was originally produced with gluten. It will be interesting to see if the use of this enzyme expands further.

Lips of Faith

| November 1st, 2012 | No comments

Over the past year, I’ve been very impressed with New Belgium’s Lips of Faith series of beers. The collaborations they’ve started making with other breweries has been fantastic. Last year’s Kick, made with Elysian Brewing from Seattle, is still one of the most unique, and flavorful takes on the fall pumpkin beer theme. This year’s Brett Beer, made with Lost Abbey from San Marcos, was an incredibly refreshing beer that should age very well. More recently, Super India Pale Ale, from New Belgium and The Alpine Beer Company, brought immense flavor and balance to the over saturated IPA market.

About a week ago, New Belgium released the last of it’s 2012 Lips of Faith beers. Bière De Garde is a collaboration beer made with Brewery Vivant from Michigan. I haven’t the chance to try this yet, but I’ve heard several people call this one of the best of New Belgium’s beers.

The second Lips of Faith beer that New Belgium released last week was Imperial Coffee Chocolate Stout. I tasted this beer on tap last Wednesday at Khoury’s. Once again, New Belgium shows it’s ability to combine and balance multiple flavors into a beer that not only highlights each element, but also succeeds in not overdoing it.

I’m convinced that this beer has some lactose in, as the smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and residual sweetness remind me of every other milk stout I’ve had. I’ve been told that there is no lactose in the beer, so I’m wondering if this sweet, creaminess may be coming from the chocolate in the beer. The coffee flavor is incredible. This beer really does taste like a black cup of coffee with some sweet creamer added. Again, I assume that this sweetness is coming from the chocolate, which, by the way, is perfectly balanced in this beer. Not over top, but some definite chocolate undertones present.

If you are a coffee lover, like myself, then I highly recommend you try this beer out. It is currently on tap at Khoury’s as well as Aces & Ales. Also pick up a bottle of Bièr De Garde while you’re at it!

The Super IPA Balancing Act

| October 18th, 2012 | No comments

There came a time in my life that I was deeply enamored with IPA’s. The more bitter the better. An American IPA is probably about as American as you can get. Loud and in your face with a giant floral aroma and a painfully bitter bite. Sadly, after trying countless IPAs, I began to get bored with the style. It seemed there were only so many ways to make an IPA. Nearly every IPA I had began to taste like the last IPA I had. Sure, there were my go-to IPAs that never let me down, but anything new that I tried, tasted too familiar.

Thankfully the good folks at the Alpine Beer Company came along and reminded me that while everyone can make an IPA, not everyone should make an IPA. An IPA is a balancing act of so many different elements. If all the different attributes of an IPA are in perfect balance, it is truly a work of art. Too many brewers strive for this perfection, but fall short.

When I first heard that New Belgium was collaborating with Alpine to make ‘Super IPA,’ I was disinterested. Just another double IPA, I thought. Then Armando introduced me to Alpine’s IPA, Duet. What an incredible beer, unlike anything that I’ve had before. Perfect balance of pine, citrus, and pineapple, with a perfect balance between the firm bitterness and malt backbone. After drinking Duet, I had been reminded of what a good IPA tastes like and was immediately looking forward to trying Super IPA.

Thanks to our local New Belgium Ranger, Karl Herrera, I finally had the chance to try Super IPA.

Alpine and New Belgium are artists when it comes to formulating a perfectly balanced IPA. This beer clocks in at 9% alcohol by volume, so creating such a heavy beer, with all the proper IPA nuances is no easy feat.

First of all, there is an incredibly sweet, citrus, and fruity aroma coming off this beer. Mango, lemon, grapefruit zest, a little pineapple, altogether it kinda smells like Fruity Pebbles!
Considering the high alcohol content, it is a relatively light bodied beer, making this extremely drinkable. There is very little malt presence, but along with the light body, there is a nice bit of sweetness from the residual sugars. This sweetness balances the strong, piney bitterness that follows. The bitterness on this beer is amazing. While it’s not too overwhelming on the palate, the pine and citrus zest linger for quite a while in your sinuses, even after you swallow. The high alcohol content hides itself well, but it does give a little warmth in the aftertaste.

As I mentioned in the beginning, while everyone can make an IPA, not everyone should. This beer is an example of two breweries that should keep making IPAs.