I took a recent trip to San Diego and was blown away. Seriously, I was beside myself. Let me set the stage.
Imagine the long drive from Phoenix coupled with my lady looking up Yelp! reviews for 3+ hours as we traveled across the Sonoran Desert and reading them all aloud. She likes to find the "perfect restaurant." It was hot, there were government check points that slowed traffic and I was short on sleep from the night before. Needless to say, when we arrived at our swanky hotel that had “naughty time” written all over it, I was ready for a drink.
We walked a few miles (you can’t walk anywhere in Phoenix!) to a place that had great reviews and was located in the Italian district. A lovely walk, complete with street light banners picturing Nick Punto and other Italian MLB players, paired with an empty stomach had me really hungry. We arrived at the restaurant right in front of the Saturday farmer’s market and it was a great vibe. Coastal breeze, local businesses, fresh produce, and so on. To top it all off, they had the Alesmith IPA on tap.
Now, I had read about the Alesmith IPA on twitter and the rest of the interwebs for a while, so I was amped to give it a try. I ordered it immediately, even before my lady had a chance to scan the menu, which drew me a crooked look. When it arrived, the first thing I did was smell it. The next thing I did was photograph it.
I gave it a drink and said, “Oh man, now this is different!” The lady couldn’t understand why I was geeking out, and I tried, and likely failed, to explain it. You see, the IPA’s that I consumed from the Northwest when I was forming my pallet, were much more dry and bitter. They usually were overwhelmingly hoppy and left a long, lingering aftertaste. This, though, this Alesmith brew, was different.
This beer was really floral and smelled utterly delicious. I’ve never had a beer entice me so much by scent alone. The citrus notes poked up as well, and by the time I was done snapping the photo, I was ready for a sip. Or two. Or five. Of course, it taste like it smelled: fantastic.
Here’s the rundown:
- Appearance: a yellow/orange amber (3.5)
- Smell: floral, hoppy, citrus notes that were very exciting (4.5)
- Taste: plenty of hop, earthy citrus, some toasted malt (4)
- Mouthfeel: crisp with a limited aftertaste, very minimal lingering aftertaste (4.5)
- Overall: excellent balance given the abundance of hops, lots of flavor, a true joy to drink (4.5)
The beer struck me as almost “wet” as opposed to “dry.” There was no bitter aftertaste without sacrificing the hop experience. When compared to many of the Northwest and Northern California IPA’s that I had gotten used to, this beer was awesome. It made me think that if all the people I knew back home that had been turned off by a bitter IPA had tried this first, they might love IPA’s to this day.
As I sampled more brews from San Diego over the weekend, it became clear that this was a common trait of their beers. The hop profile was different than anything I had previously experienced and it was delightful. I hope more people from around the country get a chance to experience these IPA’s as I think they are truly unique. The hops, balance and lack of bitter aftertaste made for magnificent beers.
*You can follow me on twitter at @outfieldgrass24 and on Untappd at jwise224!