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Alpha Millennium: A Legendary Beer Reborn

Eight years ago, Hop Valley unveiled its first Imperial IPA to celebrate the brewery’s 100th batch of beer. Alpha Centauri became an immediate hit and quickly evolved from a specialty one-off creation into one of Hop Valley’s flagship offerings.

As Hop Valley has grown from a small brewpub in Springfield to include a larger production facility in Eugene, getting to 100 batches doesn’t generate much fanfare. But hitting 1,000 does.

To celebrate this year’s 1,000th batch, Hop Valley is releasing Alpha Millennium Imperial IPA for a limited time only. We sat down with Hop Valley brewer Todd Friedman to get the details on Alpha Millennium and how it all goes back to the original, legendary Alpha Centauri recipe

Q: How did the original Alpha Centauri come about?

A: “The first batch of Alpha Centauri we ever brewed was an idea I had based on batch number 100 at the original Springfield brewery. You gotta remember the original brewery only had a couple of fermenters so it took a while to get to 100. It was a year or something before we finally got to it. I had the idea to do a beer with all Golden Promise malt. So the original batch of Alpha Centauri was 100% Golden Promise malt, the most expensive malt pretty much you can buy as a base malt. So it was just supposed to be a one-off. It was just supposed to be a special for 100. It was the first Imperial IPA we did in Springfield. We had one IPA on the menu but we didn’t have an Imperial.”

Q: What was the reception?

A: “We figured it’d be a great one-off. And it was. Everyone loved it. The owners turned around and said, ‘You know, why don’t we just have a regular Imperial IPA on all the time? And we love this beer.’ And then me and Trev (Trevor Howard, Hop Valley’s Head Brewer) had to say to them, ‘Well we can’t bring in this expensive malt every time if it’s gonna be a regular beer.’”

Q: How did Alpha Millennium come about?

A: “So when we hit close to 1,000 in Springfield, I said to Trev, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to bring back the original Centauri recipe?’ And that’s when I came up with the name, Alpha Millennium based on 1,000 and not Centauri based on 100. It took us a long time to get to 1,000 batches in Springfield, but we got to it in the first couple of years over here in Eugene. Then we started speeding up to the point where I realized if we get to 1,000 batches once every year, this is gonna be a once-a-year release. I love the idea of getting it into a package because it’s something special we do and it’s unique.”

Q: Tell us about the beer.

A: “We spared no expense. Most expensive beer we could possibly make. It has similar hopping compared to Alpha Centauri as far as the varieties of hops, but quite a bit more hops at every addition. At the flavor addition, the aroma addition, the whole leaf hopped in the hop bag, the dry hop in the fermenter all wrapped up. It’s a little stronger, a little hoppier and a tad sweeter from the malt difference.”

Q: What’s the bottom line for beer drinkers?

A: “You just can’t squeeze any more hops into a beer than I did into this particular year’s batch. Each time I look at the recipe and revisit it, I ask, ‘Where can I squeeze a little more hop in?’ So I stepped it up again. And this year’s batch, have you tried it yet? It’s definitely the hoppiest thing I’ve ever put in front of my face.”

Available as a seasonal fall release only, look for Alpha Millennium Imperial IPA (9.2% ABV, 115 IBU) on draft and in 22oz bottles at select locations.