Ian Pike 10:37 a.m., May 20
It's won numerous awards and become a big-time favorite among Alpine Beer Co.'s (http://www.alpinebeerco.com) hop-loving fan base. It's Duet, a West Coast-style India pale ale (IPA) made with two types of hops -- Simcoe and Amarillo. The aroma and exquisite bitterness of these botanical enhancers is celebrated in a big way in this brew, which manages to stand out in a county where dozens of other west coast IPAs are readily available...and quite good.
Now that you've heard all the good news about Duet, I must sadly deliver a bit of bad news I received from head brewer Shawn McIlhenney. Due to the current lack of availability of Simcoe hops, Alpine will not be brewing Duet for an entire year. It's particularly painful to have to announce this on International IPA Day (didn't know about it...well, now you do and there's still plenty of time to get out there and hoist a pint of hop-laced goodness). In one respect, this development is a bitter pill (way over 100 IBUs) to swallow, but once the shock has worn off, it's nice to know that Alpine would rather hold off for awhile than make some temporary Frankenstein-like version of Duet cobbled together using other hops.
As stated above, there are many other IPAs in the sudsy San Diego scene, so fear not noble hop heads (Noble...get it?), you have other options. On the substitute front, you can't go wrong with easy-to-find local libations including Alpine IPA, Green Flash West Coast IPA, Ballast Point Sculpin, Coronado Idiot IPA, and Mission IPA. Or keep it unincorporated SD and go with Alpine's numerous other hop-heavy brews such as Pure Hoppiness, Hoppy Birthday (which they'll be making more of in the interim) or or the seasonal (as in the current season) Exponential Hoppiness.