Traveling in Southern California, it’s very easy to spend the entire time drinking beer in the San Diego city limits. With breweries located one on top of each other, why wouldn’t you? You have Ballast Point, Lost Abbey, Port Brewing, Stone, Alesmith, Hess, Green Flash etc. all at your fingertips. After visiting the majority of these breweries and looking for a change of scenery, I decided to take a drive a half hour outside of downtown San Diego and visit the Alpine Brewing Co in Alpine California.
The drive from downtown San Diego is pretty straight forward, but scenic. It was actually scenic enough to where my GPS and phone lost all service. I don’t know whether this only happens with my cell phone provider, but needless to say, you should load your directions on your phone or GPS and be familiar so that you don’t get too lost. After the half hour drive, I arrived at the brewery and brewpub.
Alpine Beer Company and brewpub is located on Alpine Boulevard, which is a fairly busy street. The brewpub and brewery are separate from each other and located in the same building, sandwiching a book store in between them. Unfortunately the brewery was closed when I arrived. But from looking through the window, I could tell it was quite small. It’s amazing how such a small place has generated such a buzz in the craft beer community. After doing a little snooping around the building to see if anyone was in the brewery, I gave up and went inside the brewpub.
I was glad that I went into the brewpub on a Sunday during the day because I heard that it can get pretty crowded over the weekend – especially when people hear they’re releasing some fresh bottles. Luckily I found a spot right at the bar and seated myself and started checking out the beer menu. I was immediately interested in grabbing a flight of beers and trying as many as I could. I’ve tasted their beers before with friends who have done trades, but it can’t get any better than drinking it directly from the source. Alpine is known mostly for their IPAs, so being able to drink some so fresh was something I knew that I needed to experience. The brewery serves flights of 6, and the flight I chose included Pure Hoppiness, Duet, Nelson, Tuatara, Alpine Ale and Captains Stout. The glasses the beer came in were placed in a metal container which looked like what you would use to bake cupcakes. Each of the spots had a number that corresponded with the beer chosen. As expected, the IPAs were incredible. 3 of the 6 beers I ordered were IPAs, but each of them were distinctly different from each other.
The next step was to try the food. Nate from Toronado (an AWESOME beer bar in San Diego) recommended that I try the wings. I’ve heard that the food was just as good as the beer, and those rumors were true. I wound up ordering wings, the BBQ chicken sandwich, and the beer flight. After spending about two hours sitting at the bar eating food and drinking my flight, I figured it would be time to leave and I ordered some bottles to go. I was in luck because while sitting there, they stocked some fresh Nelson and Pure Hoppiness in their fridge. I grabbed a few of each and pulled my tab. I was in shock when the total of everything I ordered -including my to-go bottles- wound up costing less than $60. I would have definitely thought it would be significantly more. From what I was told, the brewery likes to keep their prices reasonable and I was very thankful for that.
Driving up to Alpine was worth the trip and is highly recommended anyone visiting San Diego. Take a break from the coast, and travel into the mountains to eat some awesome food and drink even better beer. It’ll be worth the trip – especially if they have some fresh bottles for sale.