Melonhead IPA - Alpine Beer Co / Fat Head Collaboration
Alpine Beer Company

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American IPA
3.86 | pDev: 7.77%
Alpine Beer Company
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Reviews: 20 | Ratings: 32
Photo of BearsOnAcid
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Gold color with a packed pillowy off white head.

Grassy, grapefruit, and slight melon (maybe cantaloupe) aroma. Cantaloupe follows into the flavor but isn't very prominent. This is just more grassy/floral and grapefruit-like than anything. Bitter on the finish but not tongue ripping. Similar to grapefruit pith.

Toasty, bready, light cracker-like malt profile. Not much sweetness. Dry finish. Light mouthfeel. Decent beer but this hop isn't something I'd solo in a beer. The description is a little misleading too. I'm not getting anywhere near the amount of melon I expected.

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Photo of ehammond1
3.78/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5


O'Brien's Pub
San Diego, CA

Hazed, burnished, golden yellow with a frothy, big-bubbled off-white foam head that leaves the glass coated and messy with sticky splotches and spiderwebs of lace.

The aroma is quite unique, and definitely the best aspect of this beer. The hops are vibrant, though not tropical or citrusy, like many Aline beers seem to be. The hops here are very floral and yes, a lot like melon--honeydew and cantaloupe to be particular.

The flavor too is quite floral and has definite melon qualities, especially at the colder temperature. As this warms to complete room temperature, the onion/earthy qualities dominate the sweeter floral and melon elements, unfortunately.

Medium bodied, creamy.

An interesting melon/floral IPA, though disappointing only because of the other world-class IPAs Alpine produces. I'd much rather drink Duet, Pure, or Nelson before ordering another Melonhead.

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Photo of srandycarter
3.79/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Went to the Expo release expecting a nice growler. They sold out while I was in line! ARGH. My only recourse was to get the Melonhead.

A - Pours very clear, light copper, small head, thin micro layer over beer. You can see the effervescent bubbles tumbling upwards. Small sudsy lace.

S - Hoppy! Floral hops with a candy flavoring fruit nuzzling up with it.

T - Yeah, melon, fruit candy and bitter, bitter hops. A very interesting combination.

M - Light bodied, still well carbonated after sitting in the fridge for 4-5 days. Medium bodied with a coating and viscosity more than I expected around the back of my tongue top. Strange twist of flavors, the bitter finish is still mixing with the candy flavor fruit. Good , but could get tiring.

D - Pretty interesting and glad to have tried it. Will try again.

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Photo of Arbitrator
3.61/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Chilled growler into a glass, courtesy of Sideswipe. Thanks, John!

A: Pours a clear, goldenrod body with a steady stream of bubbles up the glass. My pour produces a finger of nice-lived off-white head that leaves huge register marks down the sides of the glass.

S: I opened the growler at a tasting, and everyone remarked at how un-aromatic the beer was. I put the second half back in the fridge and finished it the next day, when it turned out to be more expressive in the nose. It has a tropical fruit presence that emits, among other things, elements of honeydew and cantaloupe. Nice sugar malt character with some pine backing it up.

T: This is very sensitive to temperature; on both days, it needed some warming up to come out. It has a nice cantaloupe flavor and a light backing of pine bitterness. Malt doesn't seem to be very defined other than a light, crackery sugarness.

M: Light-medium bodied. It falls off in the finish pretty quickly. It's dry and clean, with just a little lingering bitterness.

O: The first half of the growler (on the first day) was unspectacular, but I guess it opened up overnight. I'm more impressed with the second half. I still think Alpine's other beers blow this out of the water, but it's fairly good.

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Photo of pmarlowe
3.7/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Alpine during 01/27 EH Release. Tulip glass.

A: Pours clear pale golden, with a few centimeters of snow white foam. Good retention and some nice sticky lacing.

S: Whoa, watermelon. Familiar Alpine citrus and pine mix. Overall, the smell is pretty faint, unfortunately.

T: Definitely getting melon, but more like honeydew or cantaloupe than watermelon. Citrus (tangerine), pine and spice, and a mild to moderate bitter pine finish.

M: Medium body and medium-light carbonation.

O: The melon flavor is really, really interesting, and I think it holds great promise. But I don't think they've nailed it yet. Nelson and Duet are far better options.

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Photo of MasterSki
3.98/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ArthurPendragon for this one. Served in a Surly pint glass.

A - A giant creamy foam rises up and eventually settles to a thick cap, leaving splotchy lace all over the place. Transparent golden body with a few slow-moving bubbles present.

S - It's a West Coast IPA alright. Big tropical fruit presence, with some pine, and perhaps a touch of cat pee and onion. I don't think I would say watermelon, but there's a cantaloupe & honeydew presence among the tropical fruit bouquet. A mild amount of sugar cookie malt rounds things out.

T - Initially the flavor is a bit understated, although when it warms up there's definitely an under-ripe cantaloupe flesh flavor that grows along with some moderate bitterness. There's some pine and chive flavors in the periphery as well. Malt character is slightly crackery, with a touch of sugar to it.

M - Medium body, soft moderate-to-low carbonation, some definite oily and resinous residual hop character. Dry texture and quite crisp and clean. No alcohol presence at all

D - Not Alpine's best offering, but eminently easy to drink. Mike and I crushed a growler with ease and I'd certainly order this if I saw it on draft somewhere. A bit more oomph in the flavor department would elevate this to the next tier, and I'm probably being too hard on it - that's the problem when your brewery already puts out a whole stable full of high-quality IPAs.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.71/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - An orange beer with a huge foam head that popped up. Probably a little too big, although i think that could have been mitigated by using a wider glass. Tons of sheets, lacing, and stick left on the sides of the glass.

S - There is a tropical fruit note to this right off the bat. It turns into some resinous pine on the back end. Fairly crisp malt profile. I think there might be some sort of melon in there, it's something sweet, but it might just be me trying to smell melon as well.

T - The taste of this beer is good, but nothing super exciting. There are sweet malts and tropical fruit hops notes on the front, and a fade to resin and pine on the back just like the nose. There is some faint melon, possibly cantaloupe that comes up as it warms, but if no one had said melon I don't think I would have picked it out.

M - Medium bodied, pretty crisp, active carbonation.

O - A good beer. Not one of Alpine's best, but still a great IPA. MasterSki and I drank the growler easily between the two of us.

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Photo of biglobo8971
3/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

was very excited to try this beer, was a new one for me.
A = beatufil beer, nice 1 inch head, with perfect lacing the whole drink. Sad to say, the best part of this beer.
S = almost nothing, which is very disapointing in an IPA
T - very muted, not much kick or punch that I was looking for.
M = easy to drink, was diving back in trying to find something worth writing about.
Sad to say that the appearance is the best thing, not much else to say.

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Photo of callmemickey
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear orange-gold body. Moderate sized white head, good retention, decent lacing.

S: Yup, watermelon is there. Also get some grapefruit, a bit of resinous notes ,a vegetal component as well, and perhaps a dash of Simcoe-like "cat piss."

T: Nice balance between fruity notes (watermelon and grapefruit mostly) and a bitter, resinous character. Quite tasty and unique!

M: Spot on. Medium bodied, assertive carbonation, aggressive bitterness, clean and crisp finish, and interesting to the palate.

O: An interesting, and ultimately successful single-hop IPA. While it's not my favorite of the Alpine offerings, I'd certainly love to see this hop used again (as Melonhead) or combined with something like citra.

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Photo of notchucknorris
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at O'Brien's

A: Clear golden color with a very thin tan head.

S: A good amount of citrus hops, grapefruit, hints of watermelon, a slight touch of pine and hop resin and something that smells a little like horse feed. Hay or alfalfa maybe? I saw that other reviews mentioned onion in the smell, so that's probably what I was picking up here. Onion powder maybe?

T: Definitely lighter than the IPAs I'm used to from Alpine, but it's still a pretty good IPA. A pretty tasty grapefruit character with a slightly chalky citrus bite. A touch of bready malt before a lot of smooth caramel flavor on the finish. Glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of stakem
4.06/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thank you BdubleEdubleRUN for hooking me up with a growler of this! Poured into a snifter, this brew appears a fairly clear color of golden copper. More than a finger of thick frothy head sits atop the brew. As the cap slowly fades, it leaves a webbing of sticky lace coating the glass. A light swirl agitates bubbles from solution back to the surface which remains seemingly throughout the entire duration.

The smell of this brew has a very rindy hop aspect about it that is somewhat fruity and herbal. More smell reveal almost a catty simcoe aspect with mild funky cheese, dirty feet and a touch of sulfur. There is a slight tingle of alcohol felt through the nose which is more bold than what you would imagine for under 7%. The grain backing to the aroma comes out as it warms with a toasted biscuit appeal. The last thing I notice about this brew's aroma is there is a vinous aspect almost like white grape skins that intertwines with the other hoppy aspects of catty quality, fruit and rinds. This is a very interesting smelling brew.

The taste is bitter with herbal hops and it is quite rindy in flavor. I get a bit of fruity pulp flavor mixed with the bitter zest of grapefruit. The aftertaste includes a mild amount of sulfur coupled with a very strong vinous aspect that is very familiar to chardonnay grapes with a bit of tannin aspect. Just like the aroma led on, as the brew gets warmer, there is a bit of cheesy aspect, mildly stinky feet and toasty grain flavor. This is my first experience with the experimental hop HBC 342 and while I know it is referred to as having watermelon character, I really don't really pick up on that. Well... sort of. The watermelon aspect is present but instead of the pink fleshy and sweet portion of watermelon, it is more prevalent as the the white unripe/green rind portion of the melon.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. The alcohol is very well integrated and it boasts a pleasant amount of bitterness. Overall it is very well balanced and offers a unique set of characteristics to enjoy. I really enjoyed the opportunity to give this brew a try. While I would have really been shocked to have more watermelon character, I was equally impressed with the vinous aspects. Cheers and thank you for this treat Brett!

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Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to the ever generous, late, great, ArthurPendragon for this growler. Much appreciated!

The pour is a slightly cloudy orange color with a couple fingers of white head. A nice nose, but not quite as over the top as many Alpine beers. Lots of cantaloupe and honeydew notes with good grapefruit peel and a fair amount of pine. The flavor is fairly bitter. Lots of pine with citrus peel being evident as well. A touch of fruity sweetness in the background. There is a touch of melon flavor, too. Good beer, enjoyed a couple glasses, but not Alpine's best.

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Photo of FosterJM
3.38/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

1053rd Review on BA
Growler to Snifter

2011 Vintage

Thanks to ???? for sharing
Shared at MrHirschybars tasting

App- A solid color on this one. A bit orange with a bit of yellow with a good puffy white head. Looks quite nice and inviting in the glass. Falls to a couple dots of cling. A little scattered.

Smell- Not sure if my nose was broken on this one but I didnt find it all that aromatic or good. A little bit of pine and a a little bit of something I cant fiqure out. Just a tad off putting.

Taste- I was kinda thinking this would be right up there with Zombie and Daisy as bright, juicy and clean. This seemed a bit muddled to me and wasnt as bright as I thought. The onion flavor just surprised me and I guess I dont like it. The malts did a nice job trying to balance out this unique beer.

Mouth- Leans itself to a bit more light-medium with some good carbonation on top of the body. Leaves a tad of that melon flavor but not enough.

Drink- I was excited to see the growler as I didnt have to drive down to SD/Alpine to be a tad let down on this one.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.89/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Growler shared at a tasting at MrHirschybar's place.

Pours a slightly murky golden color with an off-white head that settles to a film on the top of the beer. No lacing on this one. Smell is of citrus zest and some melon-like fruity aromas. Taste is pretty much the same but there is also a nice malt backbone. There is a medium amount of bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a pretty good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good IPA that has a nice bitter and fruity hop presence.

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Photo of largadeer
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks for the growler, Arthur.

Clear orange-gold pour with a big fluffy lasting head. Great looking beer.

Definitely getting some watermelon on the nose, along with a bit of pine and onion that reminds me of summit. Semi-sweet malt backbone lends some caramel.

There's a distinct but not necessarily huge melon note on the palate, milder than on the nose. It's pretty resiny and bitter, with a moderate caramel malt backbone beneath. The finish lingers with firm bitterness, leaving a trail of watermelon that's pretty nice. Very solid stuff that showcases an interesting new hop.

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Photo of Sideswipe
3.88/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Growler from the brewery.

The beer pours a deep golden color with a finger of dense white head. The foam recedes leaving sticky lacing and a thin white coaster. The nose is citrus fruit, hemp and onion. Taste showcases the melon characteristics for which it is named. Mild bitterness and a bit of onion flavor are also present. The onion is most noticeable up front, and just as it's about to become too much it is overwhelmed by honeydew melon flavors. The finish is semi-dry with a lingering bitterness. The beer is medium bodied with a nice effervescent level of carbonation. Overall this is a solid IPA from two great breweries. As others have noted, the beer gets better as it warms, and while I'm not a huge fan of the onion characteristics, the melon flavors are great, and quite unique. As a whole, the beer works and I'm having no problem killing the growler. Kudos to Alpine and Fat Heads for going out on a limb with an experimental hop variety. Glad I had the opportunity.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


Growler shared by Arthur at our monthly strategic planning meeting. Snifter. Arthur surprised us all with this toward the end of the stressful meeting. Fortunately, I had a snifter on hand.

A: It's an attractive beer. The white head exhibits great retention and the body is a nice honey gold with perfect clarity. Lacing is scattered and a small foam collar resides around the edges of the glass.

S: The aroma is dank and somewhat herbal with weedy notes. When the beer warms, the hops are effusive, giving off honeydew, watermelon, tangelo, nectarine, grapefruit, and a pleasant amount of onion. I really like the nose.

T: The flavor of the HBC 342 hop does indeed remind me of watermelon. There's a dash of onion in there, and though I'm not usually a fan of onion in my IPA this is quite tasteful and is a positive for the beer. To a lesser extent, the hop gives of flavors of honeydew melon. Malt imparts a little saltine cracker. The beer is quite dry, with notes of orange pith and flesh, as well as grapefruit.

M: The beer showcases an upper light body with an upper medium level of carbonation. The mouthfeel is crisp, dry, and sticky.

Overall: I liked this a lot more after allowing it to warm toward room temperature. This hop seems delicate and feeble at colder temperatures. I really enjoyed the growler. It was extremely drinkable with a nice hop flavor. HBC 342 is no substitute for simcoe, amarillo, or nelson, but it's nice to see a beer showcase a single hop like this, especially when it's one I've never before tried.

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Photo of rand
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Just grabbed a growler from the brewery, poured into a nonic pint glass

My understanding is that this was brewed with experimental hops in lieu of a fairly sever hop shortage that's affecting the entire industry (I sampled Kern River's Lost Hop IPA last weekend, which was basically Just Outstanding's recipe with their own experimental hops). Alpine said they may not brew this again.

A: Straw-yellow in color, clear, with an effervescent complexion that forms a thick, pillowy head. As it slowly recedes, lacing covers the inside of the glass.

N: The nose is malty sweet for an IPA - not malt-forward but the malts stand out almost as much as the hops. And it could be that the hop bouquet is just unique and not as floral and pungent as Cascade or Amarillo hops produce. Still, the melon essence is noted, more rind-y than sugary sweet. And there's plenty of citrus as well, and just a touch of something like a spoiled apple - it's a subtle funk, but not horse-blanket-y - definitely from the hops. It's smells unique and delicious.

T: Diverging from the nose, the hops really take over as they hit the palate. More citrusy than piny, the melon-y aspects are quite faint. A unique touch of nondescript ripe fruit is noted that matches the ample malt-backbone. A cracker-y middle works nicely against a gentle bite of alcohol. The hop's bitterness is little too earthy and astringent toward the end, though, leaving an unusually dry finish for an IPA.

M: Medium-bodied and nicely carbonated, keeping the palate clean between sips. Not as oily slick as some of Alpine's brews.

I began to warm up to the hop profile the more I sipped this. The earthy finish was slightly off-putting at first, but I think the name through me off - I was expecting something honey-sweet like a lot of Alpine's brews, where this is zesty and rind-y. That being said, this would make a great mid-range beer, as wattershed noted below - 'bigger' than Alpine Ale but a smidge 'smaller' than Duet. This is going to be on tap around San Diego this weekend and next week, I'll definitely try this again if not simply for it's originality.

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Photo of wattershed
4.05/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

20 minutes from keg > growler > glass.

Appearance: Not too frothy on the pour, I went slowly and kept it small but it didn't want to foam on me much at all. A cantaloupe/orange color, pretty clear.

Smell: Not the melon I was expecting, more like a soft orange. Nor was it particularly pine-y, that Alpine staple. The single hop used doesn't seem to give off that crisp resinous scent, but more like a light citrus, a bit nebulous as it's not a punch-in-the-face IPA so everything's a bit more tempered.

Taste: While I'd stop short of saying it's full-bodied, there's a creamy sense to it - there's not an overwhelming malt presence here so I get the hit of fresh fruit, then a bold yeasty dryness in the back of the throat which lingers. It's impressively balanced between the light creaminess and the dry yeast from pour to last drop, though it definitely opened up toward the end of the first glass.

Mouthfeel: Dryness, which I really enjoyed here. The overwhelmingly dry finish begs for another sip, and another, and another. This is a good thing!

Overall: I don't know if they plan to bottle this ever, but at 6.75% it would fill a needed place in Alpine's bottle lineup for something beyond a sessionable pale ale but short of the IIPAs we all love so much from them. Think warm summers, this would suit the bill terrifically.

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Photo of BdubleEdubleRUN
4.08/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

"This is our collaboration brew with Fat Head’s Brewery’s Matt Cole, a hell of a nice guy and a fantastic brewer. We used a new experimental hop HBC 342 exclusively in this 6.75% IPA. The descriptors indicated a citrusy, watermelon aroma which seems pretty accurate from our initial assessments."

This beer pours a very clear, crisp, clean looking golden color with a nice white head and bubbles, the head is fairly "sticky." The aroma doesn't present itself until the beer warms a bit, but there is a definite melon character along with citrus and pine resin. Taste follows with a cantaloupe esque flavor along with lemon and grapefruit citrus. Medium body that clings to the mouth with good carbonation, really like the mouthfeel on this. Very unique and well done beer.

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Melonhead IPA - Alpine Beer Co / Fat Head Collaboration from Alpine Beer Company
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 32 ratings