Posts Tagged ‘alesmith’

san diego beer tour (ballast point, hess, alesmith)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

with family in carlsbad, my trips to san diego are usually limited to stops at north county heavy hitters including pizza port, lost abbey/port, and stone (not that there’s anything wrong with that lineup).  however, last weekend AP and I decided to venture a little further south to check out a few more of san diego’s numerous brew locales.

  • our trip started with a brewery tour of ballast point’s old grove facility and distillery.  their distillery was especially impressive in that it was technically separate from the brewery (it was fenced off from the rest of the brewery and had its own entrance and exit to the street).  word got out that in addition to their gin and rum, a young (3-year) bourbon-style whiskey was in the works…
  • after our tour, we enjoyed tasters of fresh sculpin, even keel, piper down, and sextant.  the tasting room was packed at one in the afternoon, with tour buses full of visitors and locals filling growlers.
  • we managed to avoid the crowds at out next stop – hess brewing (although I did spy a beer tour van leaving the parking lot as we arrived).  hess had a very relaxed vibe and a great bartender to match.
  • with AP tagged as the designated driver, I ran through a flight of tasters, including grazias, jucundus, intrepidus, trinitas, brunus induresco, brunus robustus, and ex umbris, while chatting up some locals.  all of their offerings were very well made, and a high level of attention was evident in their 1.5 barrel “nanobrewery” batches.  hess was definitely my favorite stop of the trip, and I’m bummed to be missing out on their first anniversary celebration this upcoming weekend.
  • our third stop of the day was alesmith, which was a quick five-minute drive from hess (ballast point is only a few minutes away as well).  a spartan tasting room with a lineup including classics such as speedway stout, grand cru, horny devil, X, and wee heavy had me ready for an afternoon nap in no time.
  • other trip highlights included newport pizza and olive tree marketplace in ocean beach, and the super jr. market downtown, which had an absolutely amazing temp-controlled beer selection.
  • despite running through a half dozen beer spots in SD, only a fraction of my list was checked off.  it will take at least a few more trips south to cover all my bases down there…

strong beer session #2

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

last weekend, the sequel to the first strong beer session went off without a hitch.

  • the plan was to sample brewery to brewery across california, then across the country, and then the rest of the globe.  however, so many breweries were represented that we didn’t even make it out of the state!
  • session brews included (with notes/* indicates a crowd favorite):
  • we also tried to pull off some food pairings as well, so in addition to the stilton and sharp cheddar we had mixed charcuterie including liverwurst, head cheese, and prosciutto, as well as smoked bacon-wrapped brats mopped with brown shugga and some spicy roasted chicken and potatoes.
  • the meal was topped off with desserts including AP’s cheesecake with a belgian date barleywine cream cheese topping and ML’s killer bourbon barrel-aged old rasputin imperial stout pecan pie with bourbon crust and malted whipping cream(!).  both were awesome and complemented the rest of the meal perfectly.
  • despite wrecked palates and tons of food, everyone persevered, and by the end of the night I’m pretty sure barleywines were a little better understood (albeit not on the top of anyone’s drinking list for the near future).

alesmith yulesmith winter 2009

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

alesmith yulesmith in the glass

when I was organizing bottles for the strong beer session, I came across a bottle of yulesmith by alesmith down in san diego that PB and NB donated to the cause a while back.

  • I assumed this brew was a strong winter warmer or barleywine based on the packaging, but further research revealed that it was in fact a highly-hopped double red.
  • in fact, the beer comes out twice a year, and is a double IPA in the summer and a double red in the winter.
  • truthfully, when I cracked open the beer and took a sniff, I thought it was a double IPA – the hop aroma was very intense and citrusy.
  • only the dark pour gave any indication that this was something else in addition to a straight up hop bomb.
  • the beer was fantastic – very well balanced, with plenty of malt to counter the hop aggressiveness.
  • I’m a big fan of alesmith – their founders started as accomplished homebrewers and made their dream a reality.  plus, it’s easy to support their cause when they put out kickass beers!

alesmith yulesmith bomber

alesmith yulesmith