Season 2, Episode
32 – This week we find out if Green Flash
Brewing Company’s versions of Alpine Beer Company beers are up to
snuff with Alpine’s authentic brews.
These days, brewery buy-outs and partnerships are becoming more and
more commonplace, not only in terms of macro breweries buying out
smaller craft breweries, but also larger craft breweries partnering
and purchasing smaller, well known craft breweries. One example as
of late is the purchase of Alpine Beer Company by Green Flash
Brewing Company. Whether a brewery is purchased by a macro or a
fellow craft brewery, there is one question that most craft beer
consumers and aficionados ask: What’s going to happen to the
quality of the beer? Will it remain the same? Will it be brewed at
the same brewery, or will it be shipped off to a massive brewhouse
somewhere on the east coast, only to become a watered down, boring
version of its former self?
Alpine Beer Company – Nelson and
When it came to the purchase of Alpine Beer Company by Green Flash,
most people thought it was a good thing for both companies. Alpine
was a very small operation while Green Flash was cruising along
with their brand new 50BBL brewhouse and making beer for the masses
all over the country. With the help of Green Flash, Alpine could
afford to pay its employees more money and provide benefits for
them while at the same time getting their beer to more people.
Green Flash is well versed in IPA, so replicating Alpine’s
massively popular IPAs shouldn’t be too much for Green Flash to
This brings us to where we are today, and this week’s episode. For
quite some time, Green Flash has been brewing two of Alpine’s best
core beers: Duet and Nelson. Hop heads all over SoCal and
beyond know and cherish these beers. They’re legendary. So,
when Jason heard
that beer geeks were harshly questioning the quality of Green
Flash’s versions of the hoppy Alpine classics compared to the
Alpine versions (which Alpine still brews and bottles), he decided
to take matters into his own hands.
This week, we’re drinking Duet and Nelson from both Green Flash
Brewing Company and Alpine Beer Company. Jason went to Alpine Beer
Company to purchase fresh bottles of Duet and Nelson that were brewed at
Alpine, then went to Green Flash Brewing Company to purchase two
fresh growlers of the same beers brewed at Green Flash.
SPOILER ALERT: RESULTS
AFTER THE PHOTO.
Alpine Beer Company Growler Caps
Let’s cut to the chase. We were very surprised with the outcome of
this experiment. Two tasters of each beer were brought to us
blindly. We were told what the beers were by name, but didn’t know
which brewery they came from. John’s girlfriend, Yvonne, helped us
out with that. [Thanks, Yvonne!] As it turns out, the criticism of
Green Flash’s versions of Alpine’s beers is justified.
Duet, brewed with Simcoe
and Amarillo hops, was the real eye-opener. Drinking these beers
side by side, you’d think they were completely different beers.
Their colors were even quite different. Aromas were also different,
and not just subtly. We even had to send Yvonne back to make sure
she brought us Duet from each brewery. They were that different.
The room was divided on which one of these was the better beer. In
the end, we chose the Green Flash version as (what we thought was)
the authentic version. Wrong.
Duet and Nelson Side by Side
The two Nelson variations were actually
much closer to one another. But just like Duet, their colors were
wildly different. The room agreed the one of the beers stood head
and shoulders above the other. We guessed this one correctly. The
Alpine version was fantastic.
So, there you go. It seems the the criticism of Green Flash’s
versions of the Alpine IPAs is somewhat warranted. That being said,
Green Flash’s versions were still very good beers, but were
different from the originals brewed by Alpine. Could batch scaling
be the issue? Maybe each brewery had a different crop of hops? Then
there’s the beer color issue. We kick around some ideas regarding
why they were so different, but in the end, who knows. Maybe one
day we’ll have Green Flash on the show and we’ll get an answer.
BREW THE SHIT OUT OF IT.
Beers from this week’s
Alpine Beer Company: Hoppy Birthday
Alpine Beer Company: Duet
Alpine Beer Company: Nelson
Alpine Beer Company: Pure Hoppiness
episodes: MP3 | Video
iTunes: Audio / Video
RSS: Audio / Video