By Julia Burke, Beer Editor

Alpha I love this description: "A Hoppy Upstate Ale Brewed With Barley Malt, New York State Grown Cascade Hops, Local Alfalfa Honey, Pure Cayuga Lake Water and American Yeast."

Visually appealing, Ithaca Brewing Company's AlpHalpHa pours cloudy amber orange into a goblet  with a puffy one-finger head and elegant lacing.

A floral, spring-like nose of orange peel, fresh-mowed grass, and dandelions is inviting and balanced. 

The mouthfeel, on the other hand, is intense: good carbonation, powerfully bright citrus fruits, and the mouthwatering prickle of Cascade hops.

The sweetness of the honey is hard to pick out on the nose but drenches the palate, and it's needed — that hoppy finish is not meek.

Simply lovely with an appetizer of lemon-and-dijon drizzled sardines on rosemary crackers on New Years Day, this beer drinks like late spring but warms and overwhelms like a winter ale.

An innovative and tasty alternative for those hooked on the brewery's well-known Flower Power IPA.

Producer: Ithaca Brewing Company 
ABV: 8.5%
Sample Size: 750 mL25 oz. bottle 
Stemware: 16 oz. wide goblet
Price: $11* 
Score: A-