Last night I played a justifiably obscure game called "sober darts in the basement of an American Legion post." I do not recommend the experience. Darts is a game best played at least slightly buzzed, and ideally quite drunk. But every now and then I have to force myself through a dry Tuesday night, because while playing darts sober certainly sucks, it's better than expiring medium-young and having the coroner's report read, "Cause of death: Being a beer blogger who refused to play sober darts once a season." (I also did not eat any of my teammates' extra French fries, even though they were abundant and reportedly excellent, which fact I would like noted in the coroner's report whenever and however I should pass.)
While I loitered around Post 19 looking at war memorabilia, playing darts poorly, and listening to classic rock, I came across the unhappy news that the local football team's best defensive player had had the gall to accept a better offer from another employer. This is disappointing, because the traitor in question, Darrelle Revis, has a cool beard and seems like a good enough guy, in addition to being great at football. But it's also the most reasonable, rational thing a person in his situation could have done. After living in Massachusetts for just 2 percent of his life, he got the hell out at the first opportunity—and with a fat raise, to boot! Well done, Darrelle.
Note: I like Massachusetts, but I'm out of patience with fellow residents who can't fathom anyone disagreeing; we're like an entire state full of St. Louis Cardinals fans or religious fundamentalists or any other group of zealots who think that all dissent is either a) insincere trolling, b) jealousy, and/or c) punishable by death. Some perfectly decent, intelligent, capable people just don't like it here!
Sports fans tend to deride such acts of naked practicality as "greedy" or "disloyal"; this is a sort-of beer blog, not a sort-of sports blog, so I won't bore you with the details of how embarrassingly childish so much of the local media and fan reaction has been to Mr. Revis's career decision. Here's some context for the non-sporting drunkards among you: It's like when a small brewing company dares to be acquired by a larger brewing company.
For whatever (plainly obvious) reasons, both sports and beer tend to bring out our most petulant sides. We demand some poorly defined "know it when we see it, i.e., whenever it happens to be convenient to us" loyalty from brewers and athletes. This is why brewers catch hell whenever they cash out and walk away for good, or even when they stay in business but relinquish independence, as Alpine Beer Company of San Diego County did last year.
Alpine had the nerve to be happily gobbled up by Green Flash, one of its dozens of larger neighbors. Alpine's staff and recipes stayed the same, but the surlier segments of the Craft-Beer Movement™ were dutifully appalled that the guy mashing the grain would no longer have his house triple-mortgaged, as fear of insolvency is apparently one of the leading drivers of high-end fermentation.
To be fair, I don't know that Alpine was in any financial distress. Word is they just wanted to grow beyond local-cult status, and hooking up with the Flash seemed like the best way to go. Now they can brew a bit more beer, and, just as important, can lean on Green Flash's distribution team. This means that for the first time since Alpine was established in 2002, certain lucky East Coasters have access to their beer. (I've seen it a few places around Boston, and have heard tell of it in New York; this very useful beer-distribution map hasn't caught up quite yet.)
Alpine Duet is a bright, floral 7-percent alcohol-by-volume IPA named for the pair of hops employed, Simcoe and Amarillo. It opens with aromas of lemon-heavy citrus and flowers, with undertones of tropical fruit, pine resin, and light mint. It's an inch or two over to the sweet side of the genre, with a vague lemon-cream flavor joining the more defined grapefruit and orange notes. A deep biscuit flavor ties the fruit together, and the earthy pine asserts itself once again on the drier-than-expected finish.
Thank you, Alpine, for being greedy, soulless, sell-out pigs. Or for having a kid who needs expensive orthodontia, or for just wanting to expand, or who knows, man, none of my business. All that should matter to the far-flung drinking community is that Alpine Duet is truly special beer that is now available outside of Southern California. I hope Darrelle Revis tries some in New York.
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Will Gordon loves life and tolerates dissent. He lives in Cambridge, Mass., and some of his closest friends have met Certified Cicerones. Find him on Twitter @WillGordonAgain. Image by Jim Cooke.
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