Food, Beer, and Travel

a dump from the mind of Jon Piper

Posts Tagged ‘Alesmith’

Alesmith Speedway Stout

Posted by jwpiper on February 27, 2009

On my recent visit to San Diego, I had to stop into Alesmith. I ended up shooting the breeze with Peter, Jessica, and the rest of the folks for a couple of hours before they left to judge the homebrewer’s competition. Along the way, I picked up on what the new Decadence will be, their plans to release some cheeses in the future, and even some long term dreams they’re cooking up. Some pretty exciting stuff going on there – it seems my favorite brewery isn’t only thinking of brewing excellent beer: they’re stretching themselves and even coming up with some pretty original and exciting ideas.

While I was there, I grabbed the better part of a case of Speedway Stout. I’d recently cracked a bottle of Speedway from a previous trip which I guess is about 6-9 months old at this point: the first batch in their new digs. It proved it would be difficult to keep my hands off it, so I figured I’d better replenish my supply. Being brewed with coffee, I figured I’d better give it a try fresh (they didn’t have any on tap while I was there). I split it with my wife at cellar temp into a couple of snifters.

Appearance
5
It pours thick and black with a 3.5 cm mocha head which clings to the glass as it recedes. Just beautiful.
Smell
4.5
Smells of roasted malts with tons of coffee. A definite sour note, kind of like Black Albert. A bit of milk chocolate and some bittersweet aromas.
Taste
4.5
So smooth and so much coffee. This fresh example just has tons of coffee and roasted flavors. A ton of warmth, but mostly from the warm flavors and integrated sourness rather than high ABV. I prefer this with 6-12 months on it to dial back the coffee and meld the flavors together a little more. It’s definitely rich and sweet with coffee bitterness in the finish.
Mouthfeel
4
Crazy smooth. This batch may be less carbonated than most batches I’ve had.
Drinkability
4.5
This is an incredibly easy beer to drink. No alcohol bite or noticeable alcohol presence. It’s a sipper, but very sippable.
Overall
4.55
Easily one of my favorites. Similar in some ways to Black Albert, and not quite as good fresh. But with some age, this beer really comes into its own for me.
Price
$10/750ml fromt he brewery. $13 locally when they happen to have it. Jessica let me know that she finally put a good amount on a pallet headed our way.
Advertisements

Posted in Beer, Beer Review | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Decadence 2007

Posted by jwpiper on January 10, 2009

This is my first post about anything Alesmith. Where to begin? Alesmith was the first of my American brewery obsessions. The first brewery in America to make me go several hours out of my way to visit it. The first American brewery to force me to fly cases of their beer back to my home. Indeed, even since discovering some distant stars including Russian River or Deschutes, and even with delicious breweries so nearby and available, I would call Alesmith my favorite American brewery. They truly are craftsmen.

I consider myself blessed to have opportunity to partake of their special offerings, including the Barrel-Aged releases and the yearly Decadence offering. I recall when they announced that Decadence would be an Imperial Porter. My anticipation was palpable. Fresh, this beer was incredible. I enjoyed several at the time and bought a case for the cellar.

Now I revisit it after nearly a year to ruminate, and I am not disappointed in the return on my investment. The 750ml bottle at cellar temperature was split into 3 snifters.

Appearance
4.5
Pours black (very, very dark brown) with a large khaki head which turns to a thin lacey layer.
Smell
5
The smell immediately introduces itself and quickly dominates the room. It is concentrated with smells of very sweet fruits, particularly dates. There is also chocolate and tootsie roll.
Taste
4.5
The flavor borrows from the aroma. It is very sweet at this point, but with excellent balancing bitterness. The booziness of the offering is still there, but more subdued than last year. There is plenty here to carry this one further into the future.
Mouthfeel
4.5
This beer is thick and full-bodied. It is smooth and the carbonation lends a light airiness to it at cellar temperature.
Drinkability
4
This beer is very much an introspective sipper, but there are very inviting smells and flavors through the session. Very drinkable for 10% ABV.
Overall
4.55
Fresh, this was a special beer. I wanted this one to develop a bit, and I should have tried it at 6 months because it seems to have evolved pretty quickly. At this point, though, it is better than fresh, in my opinion. It has taken on some additional barley wine characteristics, and it is an excellent beer which will continue to mature in the cellar.
Price
$10/750ml, if I recall. A good value on an excellent beer. Of course, finding this for sale would be difficult at this point since it was a one time release almost a year ago.

Posted in Beer, Beer Review | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »