Alesmith San Diego Pale Ale in Honor of Tony Gwynn

Alesmith released a special Pale Ale in collaboration with San Diego Padres baseball legend Tony Gwynn called San Diego Pale 394 in honor of his best batting average. The beer was officially released on Saturday  June 14, 2014, just a few days before Gwynn’s untimely passing. When news spread widely on Monday June 16 of his passing I immediately wondered how Alesmith would respond. Through a post on their Facebook page, Alesmith announced that all proceeds from the beer would be donated to  The Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation.

I previously wasn’t going to rush out to try the San Diego Pale but once Tony Gwynn passed, I had to support his memory and get as many friends as I could to join. When I stopped by yesterday Alesmith also had two other special beers I wanted to try, the Baltic Porter and the Ethiopian Coffee Speedway Stout. The San Diego Pale 394 is a 6% pale ale so it is almost an IPA.

Specialty beers available as of June 17, 2014.
Specialty beers available as of June 17, 2014.

I started with tasters of the San Diego Pale, Baltic Porter, Old Ale, and Ethiopian Speedway. The San Diego Pale immediately impressed me with its smooth low bitterness and delicious bright hop profile. The beer is very crisp sporting primarily pine and floral flavors. It is a nice light-colored pale that should satisfy fans of Alesmith’s X extra pale and IPA.

Tasters from left to right, SD Pale, Baltic Porter, Old Ale, Ethiopian Speedway.
Tasters from left to right, SD Pale, Baltic Porter, Old Ale, Ethiopian Speedway.

The Baltic Porter was a bit disappointing to me compared to the previous small batch porter Alesmith had earlier in the year. The flavors of plum and ripe fruit dominate and leave any chocolate flavors hiding in the background.  I didn’t review the Old Ale because I’ve already realized that I don’t particularly care for Alesmith’s heavy malt beers (besides the stout). The Ethiopian Speedway was a fantastic combination of nutty and chocolate flavors that came from the coffee itself. This is one of the more interesting varieties of Speedway that I have gotten to try up there with the Vietnamese Coffee version.


To go along with the beer, Alesmith had a number of images of Tony Gwynn around the tasting room. I especially liked the full size shot of Gwynn in his earlier days on the wall. Though I am not a big baseball fan, I do have many fond memories of Tony Gwynn from the few games I attended with my dad as a child. He was the one player that I always noticed and admired.

After finishing the tasters I ordered a pint of the SD Pale. I was surprised to notice that the Summer Yulesmith was already sold out on tap so only bottles remained. This made the SD Pale my favorite brew currently available at the tasting room. The extra freshness really makes the flavors pop. Come by the tasting room soon to taste this delicious pale and help support The Tony & Alicia Gwynn Foundation by having a few pints.  If you can’t make it by the tasting room, the pale should eventually be released in 12 ounce bottles for you to enjoy at home. 

Paul McGuire

Paul McGuire is a craft beer enthusiast. He likes to travel with his husband and enjoy the great outdoors. In his day job, Paul is a divorce attorney serving clients in San Diego California.

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