Draw the Label

I have never been a huge fan of the painted on bottle look from AleSmith (I would describe it as plain and utilitarian) and now if I had any (I mean any) art skills I could do something about it. But maybe someone out in craft beer land will and enter the Evil Dead Red Ale Bottle Art Contest.

Evil Dead Red Ale is an iconic beer on shelves and conjures up all sorts of Halloween imagery and I will be hoping to see not only the winning choice but also the runners-up too to see if I agree with which art makes it on the label.

Artists may submit as many entries as they like to creative@alesmith.com from April 8 to May 9. Check out the AleSmith website for all the rules and regulations.

Submission Period: April 8-May 9, 2016
Winner Announcement: During American Craft Beer Week, May 16-22, 2016

Sean Suggests for November 2015

Let’s play the numbers! We have .394, 22 and 6. Two beers from San Diego and an anniversary beer from Boulder, Colorado for your November beer shopping list.

AleSmith/ .394 Pale Ale 6.00% ABV
“In early 2014, Tony Gwynn’s team approached AleSmith to create a distinctive beer for the baseball legend. A meeting was called at the Gwynn household, which included a sampling of AleSmith beers to identify Tony’s preferences. He wanted the beer to be “light with a kick” which he elaborated further to mean full of hop character and light in body and color. The result of the Gwynn family’s feedback on test batches rendered a golden pale ale full of American hop flavor and aroma, with a subdued bitterness and a malty sweet finish. AleSmith San Diego Pale Ale .394 pays tribute to the city that Tony loved and the career high batting average that he achieved in ’94. Discover what happens when a Hall of Fame perfectionist crafts a beer with a world-class brewery. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation (TAG).

Avery/ Twenty-Two 6.80% ABV
100% Brettanomyces dry Fermented Dry-Hopped Wild Ale. While touring Belgium with the greatest of friends in 2006, the Avery family came across a stunning creation in a quaint countryside pub that we all agreed was the best brew of the trip. Secreting home a couple of bottles, they intended to cultivate the wild yeast that spontaneously worked its magic in Beersel and propagate our own projects here in Boulder.

Ballast Point/ Homework # 6 7.00% ABV
“A Hybrid-Style Ale with a rich, Oktoberfest inspired malt base and a slamming hop profile, very similar to an India Pale Ale. CTZ (Columbus/Tomahawk/Zeus) hops are added to the boil for bitterness, and copious amounts of Centennial hops are added during the late kettle hop addition and dry hopping post fermentation. In the Great American Beer Festival Style Guidelines there is a gap between the American-Style Amber/Red Ale and Imperial Red Ale. This beer fills this gap, whether you call it a Hoppy Red Ale or an India Red Ale, one thing is for sure…you will call it good.

Gypsy in L.A.?

Mikkeller SD

The news that Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Peter Zien are expecting to be brewing Mikkeller Beers in the almost old AleSmith facility by June was presaged by their collaboration on Beer Geek Speedway earlier this year.

But buried in the press release was this small sentence, “Bjergsø also foresees opening other locations throughout California.” Seeing as how there is already a Mikkeller bar in San Francisco and that the new AleSmith/Mikkeller tasting room is underway, that leaves where? The biggest city left would be us! L.A.

No offense to cities from Sacramento to Santa Barbara but it seems like the next logical choice. Of course it may have to wait for his Denmark brewpub and other enterprises to come to fruition but if I could get a bar as unpretentious and still artsty with a killer beer list like Mikkeller SF, I would be all in.

The other cool news is “the plan on having many brewers from around the world come through and collaborate, …. to set up a ‘collaboration of the month.’” That alone would be a big draw for beer geeks to head to Miramar.

Cream Ale from the Land of IPA

When you think of AleSmith of San Diego, you probably fall into thinking about their IPA or their Speedway Stout. But during summer you may want to choose from a third option, the Cream Ale. Some brewers have this in the repertoire and I am glad that they keep it coming. CA Logo Ad

Sean Suggests for June 2014


Last month was a little light on the ABV, for June, we are cranking it up a notch.  Starting with a dry hopped beer that is not to be missed followed by a pair of collaborations on the darker side.  Enjoy!


Brasserie Dupont/ Cuvee Dry Hopping 2014 6.50% ABV

“Every year Dupont’s Master Brewer, Olivier Dedeycker, makes a special dry-hopped  version of  the brewery’s world famous Saison Dupont. For 2014, he chose the famous English hop, CHALLENGER, renowned for its balance of bittering and aromatic qualities. Importantly, they were cultivated in Belgium by the farm that supplies Olivier’s Golding hops. Using only hop flowers (no pellets, please), he added them to the late boil and dry hopped in cold maturation. ”


AleSmith with Cigar City/ Ramblin’ Rye Brown Ale 8.50% ABV

“Alesmith and Cigar City have once again partnered up for our second coast-2-coast collaborative brew, a delicious rye brown ale.

Worn out and tongue-tied from rhyming countless beer-centric names with “rye,” we knew it was finally time to quit rambling on and figured “Rye bother”…let’s brew. The result is a rich, malty Roggenbier that is riddled with notes of chocolate and biscuit that perfectly compliment the soft spiciness of the rye. Grab a pint and toast to the coasts.

This balanced and complex brew pairs best with smooth cigars and life-long friends.”


Unibroue for Trader Joe’s/ Vintage Ale 9.00% ABV

“Unique and limited edition, this Belgian style ale is crafted once a year as a special treat for those of you who appreciate flavorful, bottle-conditioned ale with character. This year’s vintage: a rich, dark and full-bodied ale with a fine and generous coffee-colored, beige foam. It’s ready to enjoy right away and you may also wish to cellar a few bottles. It will evolve interestingly well, developing more complex flavors as the years go by.”

Review – Dairy Tank from Eagle Rock Brewing

The legend of the traveling dairy tank grows and is now immortalized in milk stout form with the collaboration of Eagle Rock with AleSmith.

As it was explained by the ERB, “Several years ago, AleSmith was kind enough to sell us their old brewhouse when they were upgrading to a new one and it seemed fitting pay homage to these tanks history by brewing a style that employs lactose sugar derived from milk.”


The new collab pours dark with a creamy head to it. Getting a mixture of chocolate and tar that really works together. But beware this does not taste 10% at all. It is a strong one that catches up with you while you are having your next round. It is also very smooth as opposed to lactose sweet. This is not only a pretty beer but a nice sipper. Makes me want more beers from both breweries.


Review – Evil Dead Red from AleSmith


What could be more perfect for Halloween?  For a SoCal hop fan, AleSmith’s Evil Dead Red is a perfect Halloween treat.  It pours a reddish brown and has a fragrant hop aroma coming off the glass.  The taste starts off with some chewy maltness that is quickly overcome by some sharp carbonation and a wild melange of hops.  I get a little citrus, some fruit punch and some floral notes.  And they are strong. But the whole thing is well balanced.  You get some more cereal notes at the end to really round the beer off.


And in keeping with the zombie theme on the label, my favorite Halloween film to watch is Shaun of the Dead (tragically mis-spelled).  Followed by the first Paranormal Activity, The Exorcist, Arachnaphobia and the Blair Witch Project.  I am not a big horror fan.  Don’t like the chain saws and knives and crazed pyscho’s on the loose.  I prefer a little more realism and some humor.  Maybe it is because I watched a Pinhead movie when I was young and was turned off the whole blood and gore thing.  Obviously, Evil Dead should be paired with it’s namesake movie but for Shaun of the Dead, I would go with Fuller’s Black Cab Stout.  Dark but light bodied.

Your 2013 Decadence


If you think of AleSmith and their Decadence Anniversary beers, and you had to guess as to what style they would brew for 2013, I don’t think that a dark lager would have been amongst your top 3 guesses. And I like it that a brewery can still keep people guessing.

“Decadence was first released in 2005 to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. AleSmith has released a new version of Decadence each year around our anniversary date in late fall. The style chosen each year is different, but you can be sure that it will always fit the description of Decadence!”

So kudos to AleSmith for the offbeat stylistic choice for Decadence this year.

FoodGPS Teaser – White Labs

Tomorrow’s FoodGPS post under the Brew & You banner is all about my recent trip to San Diego and the very important White Labs.

You will read about why they are important but for now, here are some photos by my beer compadre Richard taken during the beer adventure….

Outside the White Labs tasting room.
Outside the White Labs tasting room.
The "test tube" tap handles.
The “test tube” tap handles.
Two of the seven ESB collaborations with Coronado.
Two of the seven ESB collaborations with Coronado.
Part of the tasting room.
Part of the tasting room.