Tuatara - Alpine Beer Company

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Tuatara
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BA SCORE
91
outstanding

64 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 64
Reviews: 30
rAvg: 4.14
pDev: 9.42%
Wants: 2
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  4.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-07-2009

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 64 | Reviews: 30
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of magictrokini
3.43/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tap @ O'Briens. Poured clear gold with a bubbly white head. Bitter, metallic hop nose with a bit of funky malt. Strange. Expected mouthfeel for an APA. Grainy malt with an earthy overtone. Very hoppy for an APA, but more bitter and peppery spice than the citrus that Alpine usually cranks out. Very refreshing. I think it was more me and what I expected than the beer.

Photo of ehammond1
3.21/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap

Alpine Beer Company
Alpine, CA

Nearly clear golden orange with a small near-white head, eventually leaving spots and irregular lines of lace down the glass.

The aroma is better than the flavor, with good amounts of citrus and earthy hop character, with good amounts of bready, mildly sweet malts behind it.

The flavor isn't particularly appreciable, especially when you're aware of Alpine's pedigree of brewing world-class pale ales and IPAs. There's a distinct cardboard, almost woody, flavor that dominates the other stale bread notes. There's a touch of citrus but it's hidden.

Medium bodied with crisp, high carbonation.

An average beer from an extraordinary brewery.

Photo of nickd717
4.3/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Brien's and again at Pizza Port Carlsbad during SD Beer Week. What an awesome pale ale.

Great clear golden color with a foamy white head and some lacing that fades to a ring.

Aroma was somewhat mild and a little odd the first time I had it, almost like the smell after a rain, along with some citrusy hops. Second time around this funkiness wasn't there and it was mostly just fresh hops. Smelled great that time.

Flavor is lots of fresh rough citrus hops, some grain, and a little pale malt. Tasty and very well-hopped.

Palate is medium light with hoppiness lingering. Pretty refreshing.

A nice session pale ale overall, great for the style. Drinkability high.

Photo of MiScusi
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at O'Brien's today. Crystal clear gold to light caramel color. Smell has a combination of earthy/spicy and fruity/tropical hops. The taste is zesty. Finishes with a bit that is quite reminiscent of many of sierra nevada's hoppy beers (a really distinct flavor I get solely from SN), but not with as much of the caramel aspect. Nice hoppy flavor to it. Mouthfeel is light yet pretty smooth. At 4.2% this beer is very nice for multiple rounds when you are in the mood for hops.

Photo of HalfFull
3.93/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass from a fresh growler. Pours a clear golden straw in color and sports a half inch of creamy off-white foam which offers strong retention, particularly for a growler pour. Moderate lacing follows all the way down the pint.

Pleasant hop nose of primarily citrus notes. Some lemon and tangerine with a touch of pine in the background, with a bit more orange and malt notes with warming, along with some resinous funk.

Flavor is light and smooth, matching its light ABV. Citric malts are light but pleasant and somewhat complex for the lightness of the brew. Offers a light body but is not too thin by any means, thanks in part to a nice hop and spice character on the finish which gives the beer more texture and fullness than one might expect from a low ABV brew. Carbonation also yields a creamy feel and an makes for an easy drinking brew.

Note: From notes written Aug. 2010

Photo of mikesgroove
4.6/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This was an exceptionally great beer I have to say. Big thanks to my man out west for keeping me up with all the Alpine releases. This one was killed by yours truly last night while listening to the phish fest on the TV.

The pour was killer, light golden pale amber with a huge head of white that came up and over the top. Rich notes of light citrus hops are dancing all over this one, really very complex and quite the nice beer I have to say. As I take the first sip the clean crisp nature of the flavor really sets it apart for me. Nice crisp lemon zest on the tongue, light notes of grain and a touch of fresh grassy and herbal like notes. Warming brings some sweet, buttery balance to it and leaves a nice dry finish with a long taste of light hops that stays with you throughout the session.

Overall this was soo damn drinkable that I killed the whole thing before I even knew what had hit me. I could have this one on tap at the house forever, it was just that damn good!

Photo of largadeer
4.63/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler from the ever-generous ArthurPendragon.

Poured from growler to nonic, two fingers of thick foam top a brilliantly clear golden body. Head retention is outstanding; a white cap lasts until the final gulp.

The nose is distinctly Alpine: loaded with herbal, floral, spicy dry hops. The hop aroma is unique, decidedly different from anything they've made with West Coast hops, more on the spicy, zesty side, but no less huge and aromatic.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly light and crisp, barely a trace of malt to be found. Zesty, herbal, slightly floral hops are supported by the lightest of crackery malt flavor. This one is dry from beginning to end, with very little bitterness coming through in the finish. It's incredibly delicate stuff, but so damn flavorful and refreshing. Drinkability is off the charts; I could session an entire growler of this over the course of a few hours. Another amazing beer from Alpine, I wish more breweries would make beers like this.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.98/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to mdfb79 for sharing this growler. Served in an Alpine pint glass on an Alpine coaster while wearing an Alpine t-shirt. That's right, Paul. Aside from demolishing Paul, the beer was also quite pleasant to drink.

Pours a nice apricot color with a two-finger white head and good lacing and retention.

Nose carries a light dosing of New Zealand hops. Citrus rind and light tropical notes, plus just a touch of pine. Nothing too strong -- they could have gone with more here. The flavor adds a bit more character and isn't quite as tame, with nice fruity notes throughout.

Light body with crisp carbonation and a light bitterness. Nothing too intense, but a great summer brew.

Photo of Nugganooch
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Alpine Brewery
*Notes from 08/12/11

A: My pint of Tuatara arrived a crystal clear & effervescent soft caramel color with a nice frothy 2 finger white head of foam and some scattered lacing.

S: Aromas are chalked full of citrus fruit flesh. Lemony really. Fruity tangy hops and subtle breads.

T: Big citrus hop flavors. Zesty lemon. Wheat is subtle and brings a sugary breadlike maltiness to the table. Really nice hop zing for such a small brew. Light dry crisp finish. Very tasty.

M: An incredibly light bodied beer with a great creamy texture.

D: The very definition of drinkable. A super hopped light and fruity pale ale coming in at 4.2%. I can def drink this brew ALL day long!

Another great showcase of NZ hops from Alpine and something quite unique to the palate. Extremely refreshing for a hot summers afternoon.

Photo of Bubba83
4.43/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this as a sample at the brewery during SD Beer Week.

Apperance was menacing. A light orange colored body with lots of super bright white head. Creamy looking head with insane lacing.

Smell is good, lots of lemony and grassy flavors, very fresh smelling, like being in a field. A bunch of bright but dry citrus is here too with an underlying biscuity smell and some spice and earth. Seems very New Zealand style.

They weren't kidding on their board. Lots of lemon/lime flavors come out in the taste, almost like drinking sprite, but not an odd kind of "is this beer?" feeling. It's definitely beer, but the hop flavor is very unique and refreshing. Lots of lemon and lime type flavors with some orange. Not too much grapefruit or anything bitter, just lots of brightness. There's a bunch of crackery/biscuity/grainy/cereal malt underneath but it's well hidden beneath the very spritzy/zesty hops.

The feel is very dry with a grainyness and good carbonation. Despite how abrasive you think it should be, there's a little bit of creaminess.

Drinkability is incredible. I could drink this all day every day for a year. Super dry and refreshing, almost like drinking a good ginger ale. Amazing flavors that make you contemplate what a hoppy beer is supposed to be and something so unique that you just can't get enough. Alpine, I know you're bottling a lot of your beers now, why not give this one a whirl and be completely surprised when it is your best seller?

Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Alpine

A: The beer pours a cloudy golden orange with a white head.

S: Starts off with nice grapefruit/citrus hops on the nose. Plenty of floral notes along with a mild bread note and a light wheat smell. There is plenty of pine hop character as well.

T: A moderate hop/pine bitterness to open up. Like with any hoppy Alpine beer, lots of citrus and pine hop flavors. There is just a light floral note and some light maltiness.

M: Medium in body and carbonation.

O: I've liked these lower alcohol, highly hopped beers from Alpine. A nicely done beer.

Photo of beagle75
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft service into a shaker pint glass at the Alpine pub.

A: Clear, light amber color with one finger of diminishing white foam head. Light lacing remains on the glass and a few isolated bubbles rise lazily in the column.

S: Mildly floral and herbaceous with practically no malt component; very clean.

T: Begins dry, with toasted malt and savory herbaceous hop aromatics. Moderate acidity adds brightness before the middle, where floral and weak tropical fruit flavors continue to develop. Cleanliness prevails throughout, including during the finish, which features delicate bitterness that tastes of authentic grapefruit peel.

M: Thin to medium viscosity, wet on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D: Not surprisingly, this beer is hop-forward--but in moderation rather than abundance--with feather-light malt and notably insignificant yeast influences. It is Alpine's most sessionable pale ale yet, seeming under-powered compared to Hoppy Birthday. While such a comparison cannot be helped, it does seem unfair to hold this beer up to such a benchmark.

Photo of Cavery
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Alpine yesterday, was very pleased to see this on tap. Always looking for new Alpine beers to try!

A: Rustic orange body with mellow hazy hues. Slight amber character, but mostly deep earthy orange tones. Very frothy whip cream head remains like an ice berg. As always a solid looking beer from Alpine. high water mark lacing at the top of the glass.

S: Really nice honey suckle floral character that invites orange blossoms and juicy sappy resins. Zesty juice character of lemons, tangelos, and oranges. Having Nelson right next to this beer really helps pick out the fact that there is some New Zealand hops in here.

T: Super crisp cucumber with some deep floral earthiness. The florals are only lightly bitter with more leafy greeness to them. Light raw honey combs maintain a very organic flavor profile. Mild hop bitterness that sweetens a bit with the alcohol in the end.

M: Light sizzle to a medium-full body. The flavors lighten the mouth experience, but the bubbles really hold up for a long time in the mouth. The more I drink this the fuller the beer seems to be, as the light honeys and sensations of bubbliness accumulates in the mouth. Not too coating and not too drying, but a little bit of both.

O: Fantastic salad pairing beer, light flavors on an organic malt tasting backbone. The flavors really suggest watery veggies that crack with crisp freshness. Condiments of floral saps and honeys throughout. This is a really natural tasting treat with a lot to offer in terms of lightness. However, this doesn't hold up on its own as well as a great many other beers from Alpine. In terms of their traditional pale ale styles, I'd say this is 2nd behind Hoppy Birthday.

Photo of notchucknorris
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Toronados

A: Amber color with a thin tan head.

S: Pretty nice floral and pine hop aroma with some hop resin in the background.

T: Caramel malts upfront with a bit hit of pine hops and hop resin. A really solid pale ale. Not the best out there, but a really good one.

Photo of MisterClean
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Toronado SD.

A - Poured a strong yellow, with 2 fingers of white head. Dissipates slow and leaves little lacing.

S - Caramel and citrus.

T - Caramel, citrus, and bittering hops.

M - Moderate n body, hop dominated and smooth. Still slightly bitter from the hops, but good for the style.

D - A very good example of a pale ale. Definitely worth trying.

Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

8/1/2010

On tap at Stone. Appears vibrant yellowish orange with a pillow white head and good retention.

The aroma is reminiscent of grapefruit, orange, and pine, with accompanying floral, earthy, and minty notes. The malt profile is faint and grainy.

The flavor exhibits a lemony, orange pith, and herbal bitterness with some mint notes. Sweetness is ephemeral midpalate, quickly reverting to dry floral/herbal/lightly citric bitterness. Pine and a light astringency are apparent in the dry and bitter terminus.

The mouthfeel is dry and sticky and carbonation is high. A flavorful and quite sessionable hoppy pale ale for a warm summer day, though I much prefer Hoppy Birthday.

Photo of srandycarter
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear honey, nice near white head, slow to leave. Some cling remains.

S - Light malt, straw, NZ hops def in there.

T - Taste close to smell. Malt not overly sweet, and grassy. Clobbered by hops in finish. Clean overall.

M - Good carb and balance. Med to light body.

D - The very definition of session.

Photo of GJ40
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at the Toronado in San Diego.

A light golden ale with great clarity and a creamy white head. The aroma is bursting with tropical fruit and citrusy hops. A touch of yeast comes through as well. The flavor follows with huge tropical fruit and citrus notes. The bitterness is low and there's a hint of toasted malt. The consistency is very creamy for a lower alcohol beer and it has a nice low carbonation.

This was quite a surprise. It's got all of the hop flavor of an IPA but is much more of a session beer. Alpine is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

Photo of Arbitrator
3.97/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chilled growler into a glass.

A: Pours a golden, peach-colored body with an off-white head that leaves some tendrils of lace.

S: This has a grassy, leafy, citrusy hop nose that is a departure from the usually bright citrus pith aromas of West Coast pale ales. The malt is restrained and lends a bready accent to the beer.

T: Tuatara evokes a natural comparison to Nelson, being that both have NZ hops, but this one doesn't shine as brightly as the latter. I notice the bready malt in the background, and the citrus is weak in favor of grassy, leafy flavors; the overall combination makes for a drinkable, but not standout, profile. I like it but find myself reflecting on how much better most of Alpine's other beers are. That being said, a poor showing for Alpine is still an excellent showing against just about anyone else.

M: Light-bodied; the beer is crisp and clean. No lingering bitterness or any sort of sticky aftertaste. Each sip is as fresh as the one before it.

O: I'm not completely blown away by the beer, but I enjoy it and find the growler diminishing rapidly before my eyes. I love the flavor to ABV quotient; I wish I could find a comparably tasty, light beer like this closer to home. That's a big selling point for me.

Photo of OlieIPA
4.47/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a growler into an Alpine pint glass at roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

A: Pale gold body that supported a 1-finger head and mild lacing.

S: A sweet wheat character along with a very unique hop profile. The New Zealand hops, which I believe are used in the hop bill, create a very sharp pine-like aroma.

T: Mild sweetness with a decent amount of hop-kick. Unlike anything I've tried, but closely resembles either a hopped up Pale Ale or California Common.

M: Light and dry on the palate with robust amounts of carbonation.

D: Perfect for a warm afternoon, this beer was easy to drink and exhibited tons of flavor.

Overall: Alpine...how do you do it? A must try. Cheers!

Photo of mithrascruor
4.17/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's, San Diego.

Pours a light copper color with a bit of light white lacing. Light but pleasant aroma of hops, some grains, and a bit of apricot. Similar flavor, with some bitterness building up towards & into the finish. Light bodied and generally smooth, with mild carbonation. A pleasant session ale, though I thought it was a tad too bitter.

Photo of Sean9689
3.76/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes to Alex for scoring this one for our 5 growler showdown. Poured from growler into Sierra Nevada Pint Glass. Notes from iPhone, so they're not all that good.

A - Light golden color, two fingers worth of white fizzy head, some really nice sticky lacing.

S - Light hoppy notes, very light citrus, kinda bland.

T - Muted hoppy notes, super light citrus, some floral characteristics.

M - Light bodied, nice carbonation, refreshing.

D - Super-easy to drink, but I'll take something from Town Hall or an Alpha King any day of the week.

Photo of mdfb79
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 08/21/11 notes. Big thanks to Nugganooch for sending a growler of this one my way; always interested in trying new Alpine beers. Poured into my Bell's tulip.

a - Pours a hazy golden color with two inches of white head and moderate carbonation evident. Light lacing left on the glass and not much head retention.

s - Smells of citrus hops, fruit malts, light pine hops, and light tropical fruits. Nice and fruity and not overly strong in the hops department, but very enjoyable.

t - Tastes of citrus hops, tropical fruits, and fruity malts. Again, nothing too strong but still very nice.

m - Medium body and moderate carbonation. Smooth and easy to drink.

o - Overall a really nice APA. Not nearly as strong or hoppy as some of their other beers, but at 4.2% ABV you can definitely have a few glasses of this one. A really easy drinking enjoyable APA; would like to have it again. Thanks again Dane!

Photo of yourefragile
4.12/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler shared with a few friends. Thanks Rich for continuing to satisfy my unending need for all things Alpine.

Pours a nice golden apricot color with a massive, frothy white head and good lacing and retention. Fairly sweet, citrus NZ hop aroma with light tropical and sweet malt notes. Flavor starts initially sweet and juicy, with surprising amounts of citrus and tropical hops before finishing with stronger pine bitterness. Pleasant toasted malt body throughout, with a mild herbal and floral presence that becomes more potent in the finish. Light bodied, soft and creamy, with moderate carbonation. Very easy drinking and enjoyable, but lacking the excitement of Hoppy Birthday. Nothing wrong with that and would happily have this again.

Photo of MasterSki
4.13/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up at Alpine - shared with friends.

A - Two fingers of soapy that dissipates slowly and leavings a solid cap with nice rings of lace. Transparent light golden body with a few stray bubbles.

S - Interesting hop aroma on this one - lots of peach and lemon, with touches of flowers and peppery spice. Not much malt character at all.

T - Taste is pretty similar to the smell, with more peach and less of the pepper flavor. Maybe a touch of cat pee. Again, negligible malt character, which is unsurprising for a 4.2% pale ale.

M - Thin, with light carbonation tingle, a touch of dryness and bitterness in the finish, but this is very clean.

D - A session pale ale that goes down easy. Nothing super special, but solid.

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Tuatara from Alpine Beer Company
91 out of 100 based on 64 ratings.