Tomorrow (December 20, 2013) I will be getting married to a man. My husband was a bit slow to come around to enjoying craft beer but now enjoys a good stout and porter. If it had been up to me, the reception would be just beer, but he and others convinced me to have some snacking food. Though my selections aren’t perfect I had to keep in mind the varying tastes of my guests because not all of them love the bitter sting of an IPA. So I thought I’d share with everyone the beers I chose for the wedding.
San Diego beer drinkers will recognize that most of the beer here is from San Diego breweries. First off, two ballast point brewer’s selections. These multi-packs first became available this year and help satisfy guests who like a good pale ale and amber while including one of San Diego’s top IPAs, the Sculpin. Big Eye IPA is also solid and rounds out the pack. From Stone, another San Diego Brewery, I have six 22oz bottles of the 2013 Vanilla Bean Smoked Porter. This is for my husband and anyone else who prefers a good porter. Those same people might also appreciate the Full Suit Belgian Brown from Karl Strauss, one of the bigger San Diego breweries. Also from Karl Strauss is their Tower 10 IPA, a favorite of mine that looks like it was freshly released. To top it all off, I have two (though only one pictured here) of the delightful New Belgium Folly Pack 2013 (as I reviewed in my earlier post). This set is nice because it has some lighter seasonal brews and some IPA and even a Double IPA (the strongest beer of the night).
This gives us a total of 108 12oz bottles of beer and 6 22oz bottles of beer. Assuming 30 out of our 40 guests drink beer, that is about 3 or 4 drinks per person.
[NOTE: I purposefully did not get a bunch of Green Bullet or other beers over 9% because I want to be able to enjoy myself without going overboard. I also purposefully did not buy a bunch of growlers or a keg. It is better to have a variety than to assume that everyone will love my favorite IPA.
If you happen to notice that the boxes are empty, you are correct. The beers are all chilling in the fridge so I don’t have to put them on ice.]
I’ll be the first to admit that the Nut Brown at Alesmith is a solid beer but doesn’t really impress me. I have learned though that it is never a good idea to pass up a chance to try a barrel aged version of a beer even if you are not a big fan of the underlying beer. Most of the time this means the beer is aged in a bourbon barrel. This gives most beers a hint of bourbon flavor, and so works really well with brown ales and ambers.
I was so impressed by the flavor of this beer that I had two pints. Usually the beers I enjoy are so strong that this is not possible without stumbling out on the street but since this is only 5% I really enjoyed having two pints. The bourbon flavors are relatively mild with this one so that it does not overpower the flavor of the nut brown. If you stop by the brewery and see this available, be sure to order at least a taster so you can see if this is the beer for you.
I’ve been going to Alesmith for so long that I can’t remember exactly when I first tried their beers. It may have been when the guy at Bevmo suggested I try their Speedway Stout. Over the years I have been to the brewery a number of times. This time, I stopped in to try their new collaboration beer with Monkey’s Paw Brewing called Ashes of the Dead, a brown ale at 6.66%.
I only had a taster of Ashes of the Dead. It had a solid flavor for a brown ale and the smoky flavor wasn’t too much to become overpowering. Still, I was craving some hopps so I had to have an 8oz of Evil Dead Red. I had this one before in a bomber (22oz bottle) but I had to try it fresh on tap. It is hard to explain exactly the difference but every beer tastes better fresh on tap.
On tap you could really taste the hop flavors in the Evil Dead Red. It has a nice citrus kick to it that balances out the otherwise malty flavors of the beer. I asked whether these two beers are exactly 6.66% and was told that they get as close as possible. There is a certain amount to which you can’t control the percentage no matter how much you try but it is close enough.
Alesmith has long been one of my favorite San Diego breweries. If you like stouts and don’t mind them a little sweet, the Speedway Stout is always worth drinking. They have some solid darker Belgian style beers and occasionally some seasonal beers that highlight the hopps. Come by the tasting room to see what tickles your fancy.
Alesmith brought back the Evil Dead Red for 2014 in 22oz bombers and on tap around town. As always, it is slightly more hoppy in the bottles than on tap and still the same great beer!