California Uncommon | Alpine Beer Company

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10 Ratings

Brewed by:
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States

Style: California Common / Steam Beer

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.70%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-25-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 10 |  Reviews: 7
Reviews by seaoflament:
Photo of seaoflament
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Joey for the assist on this growler. It's a rainy day in San Diego, nothing but grey clouds, gusts of wind, and wet streets...sounds like perfect weather for a hoppy beer!

The beer pours a copper color, kind of a medium amber tone. Then there is a massive, two finger thick layer of soapy foam on top. Incredible retention and sticky lacing on the sides of the glass.

Woohoo! Does this beer smell like an Alpine meadow! Just layers upon layers of juicy citrus, pineapple, papaya, a touch of herbs, grass, pine needles, and so far a subtle caramel and cracker malt backbone. I know this one is way too cold. I had this growler in the fridge since Friday and poured it straight into a glass today, but the hop aroma is still very impressive. Clean, resiny, and full of hop character. A little bit more of caramel and toast seem to break through as the beer has now sat in my pint glass for about 5 minutes. Sweet orange, peaches, nectarine, and a bit of mango and guava as well. Hints of cherries, lime, and easily many more I can't think of at the moment. Very fruity as it starts to get to a more proper temperature. The malt also starts to intensify but doesn't dominate the beer, it is still driven by the hops but the malt helps to create a balance and harmony. The sweetness begins to play around and change the aroma into candied fruits. At times I also detect a mustiness which I'm thinking comes from the yeast but can't be sure. Brown sugar and sweet whole wheat bread.

Interesting, very bready on the front of the palate with some sweetness, toast, almost rye spiciness in the finish with a delicate hop bitterness that is herbal, spicy, piney, and with a hint of bitter citrus. The finish is quite different than expected too and I guess this is when you know you are not drinking an IPA but something different and where the yeast influence seems to be more apparent. This beer maintains the Alpine trademark of having a high hop flavor but with a very delicate and clean bitterness near the finish...doesn't seem as dry as I first anticipated. Starts to get very fruity in the end of the sip after a few samples. Dry and bitter toast in the finish but lacking astringency, which is very good. The bitterness is actually quite reserved on this one. There is a good amount of hop flavor that balances really well with the toast maltiness with just enough bitterness near the end to keep things in line.

This one feels full-bodied, a little syrupy at first and the finish almost "chewy" with some lingering presence on the palate. Carbonation would be on the low side. That said, it goes down incredibly smooth. As soon as I finish my sip and I try to think of what I taste and how it feels I am ready for the next sip.

Loved this only complaint would be that I would prefer a tad more carbonation but I'm pretty much nit-picking.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ the brewery on 11/11/09.

Pours a hazy copper, with a 1/2 finger of slightly off-white froth. Really sturdy retention here, that leaves some thick foamy lacing behind, the whole way to the bottom. The aroma is just loaded with rich West Coast hop character. Deeply floral, herbal, piney, spicy, and jam packed with tropical fruits. There is a lot of sweetness coming from the citrus, that when mixed with the backing bready malts, give this a real sharp tang in the back of the nose.

The taste is just dry-hopped to hell with Cascade, being sharply bitter with resins and to a lesser degree spice. The resins just stick in the mouth, along with (but with less sweetness than the aroma) citric hops that give off a blast of tropical fruit in the middle of this. Things end with a flush of crisp bready malts towards the back, but man, fresh feeling hops just dominate, leaving a bone dry finish on this. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a sharp prickly creaminess to the carbonation, which fills the mouth. Flows very well overall.

Very interesting take on the Steam Beer style, just loading this up with fresh West Coast hops. Unfortunately, I think that this could have used a bit more sweetness to counteract the extreme dry-hopping that this received, as it kept the drinkibility down a bit for me.

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Photo of largadeer
4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The late ArthurPendragon was kind enough to provide this before his untimely exile. Thank you, friend.

Caramel-colored, topped by a huge frothy white head that lasts and lasts, ultimately settling to a quarter-inch cap that leaves behind a web of lacing.

The aroma is hysterically hoppy, encompassing everything from pine to tobacco, grapefruit to fresh herbs. Fresh and floral with virtually no malt presence.

The taste is an explosion of hops - this is over the top yet surprisingly mellow at the same time. Flowers, pine, tobacco, grapefruit, mint - the hop flavor is all over the place. Bitterness is reserved, and malt is non-existent. Hops steal the show here and provide all the complexity, yet the beer somehow tastes balanced. This is a true testament to Alpine's craftsmanship. The body is light and crisp, possibly too light for the massive hop flavor, but I really can't complain; this is a phenomenal beer. It finishes clean and dry with only a hint of lingering bitterness. Another brilliant from this great brewery.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.62/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was fiending for this beer since I heard of its concept - an Alpine beer with more hops per barrel than any other beer they'd done. It took one of Southern California's finest new traders, ArthurPendragon, to get this to me, since my regular hookups were unable to help me out. And it didn't take much too, he was just super generous! Thank you, Arthur!

After this long day at Twilight Tavern, I now sit on my Heathen Throne and contemplate this mildly hazy copper-colored beer with a dense off-white head that forms with a great reverse-cascade effect. Retention and lacing is about average for an Alpine beer, which makes it one of the most gorgeous pours out there - dense sheets of lace along the sides of my Moonlight glass.

The nose is a riot of hops. A smorgasbord of hop character, this has resiny pine by the boatload, spruce and some tropical fruit. Pungent grapefruit, orange peel, concentrated orange juice, a little mint. Unusual for an Alpine beer is the mild caramel malt backbone but the delicate sweetness just intensifies the hop character. Juicy, pungent and resiny, this is nothing short of spectacular.

Opening with sheets of hop flavor and bitterness, the melange of pine, grapefruit and citrus open things off, with the blend of pine and grapefruit bitterness, juicy orange with some orange peel. Distinctly cracker-like with a touch of rye-like bready spiciness, I wonder if there actually is some rye in here. Malt sweetness is low, easily beaten into submission by the massive hop character. Finishing dry and resiny as hell with plenty of bitterness, this beer is excellent. Carbonation is moderate, and lends a creamy mouthfeel to this beer. While the carbonation is a little low for the style, I can see too much (or any more, in fact) negating the gorgeous resiny finish. Not your dad's steam beer, this. The hop character beats about 98% of IPA's and DIPA's out there. An excellent beer, one that I am going to enjoy quaffing the hell out of.

Note: Despite my glowing review, I have to admit I am a little disappointed. I was hoping for a revelation of a beer, like Younger or Humulus Lager, but this beer isn't quite there yet. However, on more objective consideration, this is the 3rd best hoppy beer of the year for me, after the aforementioned beasts. Truly spectacular, and Arthur, I owe you my left nut for this.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.72/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanksgiving dinner was in full swing when I heard a knock at the front door. When I opened it, who should I find? None other than ArthurPendragon bearing various growlers in his hands. Arthur, your generosity and ubiquity never cease to amaze me. Thanks a lot, old friend. This beer is a "steam beer" created using lager yeast and fermented at ale temperatures. The supposedly used twice as much hops per barrel than any beer made at Alpine. Consumed on 11/26/2009 and poured into my Moonlight pint glass. The beer is amber with a thick two finger off white head. Retention is outstanding and lots of lacing is left behind.

The nose reeks of hops. There is a nice mixture of tropical and citrus fruit. Pineapple, passionfruit, mango, papaya, grapefruit, orange rind, lemon, peach, and a touch of mint. It's a cornucopia of hop delight. Pine resin is evident and there's a touch of spiciness. I'm not sure where that's coming from, but it's at a low level and nearly overwhelmed by the hops. The malt is far off in the distance and crackery.

The taste opens with a high moderate level of bitterness and an explosion of hop flavors. Grapefruit, pine, pineapple, lemon, orange, papaya, mango, and more. There's a subtle spiciness on the back of my tongue and the malt imparts no flavor that I can discern. There's a whisper of sweetness midpalate that is almost immediately obliterated by a dry, crisp, bitter, and clean finish. This is exceptional stuff and highly drinkable.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Chilled growler into a glass. Generously shared by largadeer. Thanks, Chris! Huge props to the guy who hooked you up.

A: Pours an amber body in the glass; it's a little hazy with a touch of rose. The head is 1.5 fingers of fluffy off-white foam. What amazes me is that it lasts indefinitely, maintaining at least a half-finger cap at all times and depositing substantial lace down the sides.

S: Fruity tropical hops, a touch of pine and grass. A little lemony cracker in there.

T: I made a puckering face when I first sipped this, and it kind of ruined the Two-Hearted I was double-fisting with it. This. Is. Hoppy. Lots of tropical fruit in there, but the pine I smelled doesn't really come out much. It's a touch grassy, and I get lemony biscuit / cracker toward the end of the taste (specifically, animal crackers). It's a bit prickly in the finish. I was expecting this to be an unapologetic hop-bomb that could pass for an IPA. Actually, that's pretty much what it is.

M: The finish here is lightly dry, mostly clean. I guess that's the lager yeast contribution. Light-medium body; high carbonation.

D: A really solid brew. I guess I'm not sure what to expect in terms of it being a steam beer, but did I enjoy drinking it? Would I mooch further growlers off Chris? Yes.

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Photo of radshoesbro
3.48/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to Nate for coming over and splitting a growler of this with me!

Pours a cloudy orange/gold with a fair head that leaves spotty lace. This looks reminiscent of a homebrew that got a slight amount of chill haze.

This smells very strongly of grapefruit hops with very very little malts. There are also floral hints that are present. This smells sort of one sided, but I'm really hoping for more than just a hop assault.

The taste of strong hops is very "punch in the face" which is great. Unfortunately, there's a strange backbone of yeast and very little malt present. It doesn't have very good balance and again, this reminds me of a homebrew that has very little in the back end. Yes, it is a Steam Beer, but I feel like in other Steam Beers that I've had there's been enough malts to back up and accentuate the hops.

This beer really seems all over the place. It's really hoppy, and occasionally there's that killer hop spice that is almost undrinkable (at least for me). I guess if you're a huge hop head you'd be really into this, but I just can't get into it. Yes, it's a pretty unusual idea, and I applaud Alpine for such a cool idea, but when it comes down to it I don't really like that all that much.

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Photo of jaa1222
4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -9.9%

Photo of xraided81
5/5  rDev +12.6%

California Uncommon from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 4.44 out of 5 with 10 ratings