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Aug 7, 2013 09:51 AM

Best or Favorite Local IPAs?

We're headed to LA this weekend to visit some friends who are really into IPAs. I'd like to bring them a few bottles as a thank you for hosting us. Any recommendations for local bottles? I'd like to bring them something that they may not be able to get in LA. I enjoy beer, but am more of a casual drinker so any guidance is appreciated.

I've been hearing good things about Alpine lately and am interested in giving them a taste. A quick look at their website shows that they have quite a few IPAs. Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. It's pretty difficult to fine Alpine reliably in stores - you'd have to drive up there to ensure you were able to get some bottles. Nelson, Duet, and Pure Hoppiness are what you would often, but not always, find up there. I'd check out their Facebook page, and/or call first, to check:

    Sometimes Bine & Vine in Normal Heights will have their beer; you'd need to call first.

    I'm not sure I'd have a bottle suggestion otherwise - most of what you can find in bottles here you can there. Most of the interesting/rarer stuff is only going to be on tap at the breweries. You could go buy a growler or two to take up to them, but that can get a bit pricey depending on the brewer in question.

    3 Replies
    1. re: RB Hound

      What RB Hound said.

      Best Damn Beer Shop downtown has Alpine sometimes too but you kind of have to luck out with it. Palm Springs liquor in La Mesa too.

      Another option is Societe. They're putting out IPAs are that are arguably as good as Alpine these days. No bottles for sale but you could get a growler filled.

      1. re: RB Hound

        There is a bottle shop in Santee, of all places, Beverages 4 Less (Mission Gorge at Fanita) that always has Alpine in stock. Admittedly, it is often sold out of the IPA's, but every time I've been they have the Captain Stout, Willy and Alpine Ale. However, I have bought Duet, Nelson and Pure Hoppiness in the past. It's honestly the best selection of beers I have found in San Diego, for San Diego beers. It's not exactly a convenient location, but they definitely have a great stock of choice bottles.

        Last time I was in the neighborhood, I picked up a "Homework Series" Red IPA from Ballast Point that wasn't even available AT Ballast Point!

        Bonus is, they share a parking lot with Sab-E-Lee 2. So, make the trek, buy the beer, have some Thai food and refresh your palate with said beer (making sure to pick up extras for home).

        1. re: CampySD

          Some of your more serious beer geeks have serious problems with the ethics of the guy running Bev4Less, but they undoubtedly have a good selection of local bottles and often will have Alpine.

          I agree with DougOLis's suggestions, too. I've never been to Palm Springs Liquor, but have heard good things about it. And with Best Damned Beer Shop, being friendly with the proprietor may help you increase your chances of finding out in advance when that Alpine will be coming in.

          Societe's growlers will run you $25, empty - that might be beyond the commitment somebody wants to make, especially if that will be going out of town (now, if they wanted to keep it for themselves to refill as needed, that changes the math :).

      2. Alpine Brewery's Pure Hoppiness. Hands down.

        1. With over 5000 user reviews on's website, Ballast Point Brewing's Sculpin IPA has an average rating of 98 out of a possible 100 points. It's an excellent American IPA by any standard, it's made here in San Diego, and it's available in bottles or cans (which is actually better for the beer). Available all over town.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sandiegomike

            Op wants something not available in LA though.

            Any IPA from Alpine will fit the bill but my preference is for Nelson.

            1. re: JRSD

              Agree here. Sculpin is one of the best but it's showing up everywhere lately. If you can get something from Alpine (Duet, Pure Hopiness, Full Nelson, etc) that would be a better choice. Or if you could get a Stone "Enjoy By" IPA, that might be something hard to get in LA. Or another of the Stone specialty IPA. Haven't tried it yet but there's an R&D Coconut IPA from Stone which is a collaboration beer.

              Nice of you to bring beer to your friends!

              1. re: steveprez

                Stone has a storefront in Pasadena and I think all of their offerings get significant distribution in LA.

          2. Wow, thanks for all the respones, everyone. Really appreciate it! I'll report back what I can find. Thanks!

            1 Reply
            1. re: aloha925

              Thanks for all the great responses and suggestions. I had a successful trip to the Best Damn Beer Shoppe - what a great place, and super helpful staff too. I picked up a six-pack (cans) of Sculpin, and bottles of Port Wipeout, Rough Draft Double IPA and the Stone Coconut IPA (which sounds a little scary to me, but I think my friends will be into it).

              No luck on Alpine. I was told that Alpine bottles are not currently available at any bottle shops, but there may be deliveries in September. I wish I had time to make the drive to Alpine. I looked for Societe as well, but was told that they aren't bottling.

              Thanks again for the great suggestions. I really appreciate your thoughtful responses!

            2. Just tell your friends to have what Fakey is having!