San Diego’s best craft breweries – Part 2 – Alesmith

by Daniel on June 3, 2012

AleSmith EntranceDuring my short trip to San Diego, I wanted to see as many of its esteemed/most popular breweries as I could.  After getting off to a great start with Stone, Port Brewing, and The Lost Abbey, I was so excited for what the next days would bring.  For my next day trip, on my radar were AleSmith and Ballast Point Brewing Co, about 20mins north of San Diego.  They make for a perfect trip to visit  both because they are only 3.2mi apart, and both are fantastic.  I’m putting up the AleSmith review now.  Ballast Point Brewing Co. review will come later this week!

AleSmith is packed into a somewhat small space, but what they lack in square footage they make up in beer-itude.  Their tasting room is beautiful and their staff are helpful and knowledgable.  They also have some barrels aging some beers they’ll be releasing later on.  I certainly wish I could be there when they do!  Here’s what I tasted from them:

  • Anvil ESB (5.5%)
  • IPA (7.25%)
  • Horny Devil (10%) Belgian Golden Strong
  • Wee Heavy (10%) Strong Scotch Ale
  • Old Numbskull (11%) American Barleywine
  • Speedway Stout (12%) Imperial Stout
  • Double Coffee Speedway Stout (on specialty at the time)

tasting bar at ale smith

AleSmith did not disappoint, and I had pretty high expectations based on the raving reviews my friends gave when they told me I absolutely couldn’t miss it.  Each one of their beers were fantastic, but a few really left a lasting impression.  The Wee Heavy was the best scotch ale I’ve ever had, with amazing flavors of dark fruit, plum, caramel, and toffee.  It was so rich and smooth, yet so drinkable and not heavy like the name suggests – hard to believe this one’s 10%.  The Horny Devil golden strong poured light orange with a big head, and packed a punch of flavor from the pale malt and Belgian yeast spiciness, with notes of citrus and coriander.   The depth of flavor the came out of the Speedway Stout & Double Coffee Speedway Stout was truly impressive.  You can smell a touch of the heat from the alcohol coming off along with that deep, malty & chocolaty aroma you’d expect.  Then the flavor hits you and sits around on your tongue, so many things for your taste buds to sift through: dark bitter chocolate, espresso, rich burnt malts, and a distinctive warmth in the chest.  It inspired me to make my next brewing attempt an Imperial Stout – so come back and visit or subscribe to my blog (top of the side bar on the right) to see next week when I start the process!

Also see my San Diego’s Best Craft Breweries Part 1 where I review Stone, Port Brewing & The Lost Abbey, and Part 3: Mission Brewery and Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits.

bottling line at AleSmith

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