Met a fellow writer, Alan Harrison of the Fantasy Fix (and also RotoGraphs) for a few tasters at the AleSmith brewery, and we agreed: even the worst times we’ve had provide content. The worst baseball players, the worst baseball games, and the worst beers are all still worth talking about writing about.
Funny thing for us to decide while we were drinking three of the best beers I’ve had in recent memory. Yes, their Lil Devil Belgians weren’t my favorite, and yes, I’ve known how good AleSmith’s IPA is for a long time, but no, I didn’t know about AleSmith at its best.
AleSmith had a Java Nut Brown on tap while I was there, and the fact that it was only the fourth best beer I had there was amazing. Coffee taste without the heaviness of a stout is rare and the Nut Brown tasted like a smooth Newcastle-type brown, but with a little coffee added in. Just a really nice beer.
But then I had the YuleSmith, which is AleSmith’s seasonal Christmas beer, and it was immediately the best Christmas beer I have ever had. And the best amber ale I’ve ever had. I’ve only had one amber/red I’ve ever really liked — Believer Double Red Ale from Ninkasi — so that’s saying something. The YuleSmith had an extreme hoppiness in common with that Ninkasi, so I guess that’s what I like from my ambers — IPAs plus a little extra. One review said the winter YuleSmith “might as well be a red IPA” which, yeah, I guess that’s why I liked it.
The last two beers that were just amazing were actually one beer. AleSmith’s Speedway Stout is an elite coffee stout, just a great beer, that I already knew. But they had it on cask at the brewery and it was even more creamy and beautiful that way. Just smooth, coffee, stout, beer goodness. Really amazing. And they also had Speedway Stout with Vietnamese Coffee (no, no condensed milk), which added another aspect to an already great beer. If you have a chance, the next time you are in San Diego, you must not forget AleSmith among the giants of the industry down there.
At the very least, you’ll get some content.