817: AleSmith IPA

817 - AleSmith IPAName: AleSmith IPA
Brewery: AleSmith Brewing
Country of Origin: United States
City & State: San Diego, California
Style: American IPA
Alcohol Content (ABV): 7.25%
First Brewed: 1999
Price: $5.99

Tasting Notes
Pure bright hops on the nose, pine, citrus, and pineapple. Caramel and orchard fruit on the palate blends with hop flavors that are much like the aromas, plus a solid bitter punch.

Ricky’s Thoughts

I haven’t had a lot of AleSmith beers, but I am excited to try the IPA. I actually ordered the Speedway Stout the other day, but it was a small sample and I wasn’t focused on reviewing the beer. That beer is on the list, and we have a bottle in the fridge just begging to be consumed. That one is coming soon; I promise. Today we are reviewing the AleSmith IPA, and from what I can tell, it is an IPA that is just packed with citrus flavors all the way around. I was teaching a beer class earlier last night at Total Wine & More, and we talked about India Pale Ales and how the hops used can affect the aroma and the flavor of the beer. Just visit San Diego if you want a tour of hops, as San Diego is a region just exploding with hops right now. The beer manager said, “It’s hard to order a salad in San Diego without hops.” He’s right! Being a hop head, I’m OK with it… and I am curious to see what AleSmith has done with their IPA. Oh, and they are also located in San Diego. Coincidence?

In the Glass: I think they bottled a wheat beer. This doesn’t look like an IPA at all. I guess wheat beers are a little more hazy, but this is light in color and I can basically see right through it. The head is sticking around, and was a pillowy white when I first poured the beer. It is also producing a really nice lingering lace. Looks like something I could drink all day long, and with that ABV, I might!

Speaking of that ABV, it is not common seeing a bomber with a low ABV like that. Most brewing companies will toss their bigger (higher ABV) beers in bombers. Not sure why… but that is just a trend I have noticed in the craft beer industry.

Nose: Imagine taking an orange, a bag of hops, and tossing them in a blender. That is what this beer smells like. I am serious, if you haven’t smelled a citrus forward IPA before, do yourself a favor and grab a bottle of this. It’s only $5.99, and worth every penny just for the aroma. I like smelling beers because you can basically taste the beer without much effort. That is the case with the AleSmith IPA. Very impressed with this nose.

Flavor: That is exactly what I expected this beer to taste like. There are a lot of bubbles up front making way for all of the hoppy goodness. If you did a blind taste test with someone, and asked them, “Is this an American IPA or an American Double IPA?” I guarantee most palates would confuse this with a double. The finish is nice and the hops really linger. That is one negative thing about this style; it destroys your palate. Green Flash releases the Palate Wrecker every year, and I would like to see them change the name to Palate Destroyer. It’s more fitting!

Mouthfeel: Not a big fan of the mouthfeel. There are WAY too many bubbles here. I wonder if aging the beer for a few months, or aging this in bourbon barrels, would help. I am sure it would help… but I am not sure AleSmith does that. Anyway, the bubbles are almost too powerful for me to finish, and there is no way I am going to swish this around in my mouth to see what happens. (OK, I did. It did open up and produce a lot more flavor… but I almost had to spit it out because it was like swishing a mouthful of champagne. I do not recommend doing that on this particular bottle.) After you get past the bubbles, the mouthfeel thins out, and the beer slides down nice and balanced. If they could figure out the initial carbonation on this, it would become a top 10 IPA simply for the hop profile and the aftertaste.

Aftertaste: In the class last night, when we were talking about this style, I told the guy we could line up 10 different IPAs, and they all 10 would smell and taste different simply because of the hops they use. The aftertaste is also something that is affected by the hops used. I am not sure of the hops used in this, but this is one of the better aftertastes I have experienced with an IPA. It hits with a ton of fruity notes, then quickly becomes dry. It just sits there, and with every swallow, you just taste an intense amount of hops. Palate Wrecker is the same way. Drink that and try to taste anything for the next hour. You will simply taste hops. Lick a hop… that is the Palate Wrecker. The hops aren’t that bad here, but do leave me with a nice, lingering finish that I just keep wanting to taste.

This is one of my first beers from AleSmith, and I can’t wait to drink more. The Speedway Stout is coming up next, and we also have a bottle of Decadence in the cellar. That beer, along with several others we have stored, will get better with time. We are in no rush to finish the 1001 bottles list, so we will let those sit for a couple of years. If you are a fan of this style, I highly recommend this beer. Just a well balanced, sans the initial shock of carbonation, IPA that leaves a long and delicious aftertaste. Keep it up, AleSmith!

AleSmith IPA – The bottle says: “It’s pretty awesome, a San Diego classic. AleSmith IPA showcases the versatility of American hops. Aromas of grapefruit and tangerine lead into an abundance of fine and tropical fit notes followed by a crisp, resinous bitterness. The complex hop profile is supported by a firm malt presence to create an incredibly flavorful and well-balanced IPA”

“The beer’s citrus and pine notes pair well with fresh, aromatic herbs, citrus-based dressings, and Asian-inspired flavors. IPA’s refreezing bitterness and dry finish also help temper the heat of spicy foods and contrast the tangerines of farmhouse cheddars and spicy blues.”

Rating: 4/5

Sheryl’s Thoughts

My mind is about a million miles away right now.  Well, sort of.  It’s not on this beer, unfortunately.  Yet Ricky is insisting we review one right now.  I am actually working on getting our web hosting switched over.  But that’s another story.  Anyway, back to the beer.

This is another one that just kind of looks like orange juice to me.  I believe he said it was an IPA, so I know it won’t taste like orange juice at all.  In the glass, the beer is thick and pale orange colored.  There’s not much head at all.  And it obviously doesn’t smell at all like orange juice.  It doesn’t have much smell to it at all, really.  I can pick up a little bit of hops in there, but it mostly just smells wet and somewhat like bread.  It’s pretty thick, and there aren’t a lot of bubbles.  Anyway, let’s find out how it tastes.

The beer tastes a little hoppy, but not as hoppy as most IPAs taste to me.  There is also some spiciness and citrus in there (I feel like I say that about a lot of our beers these days.  Maybe we need to do more porters and stouts!).  I like the balance – it’s not overly hoppy to me.  It’s a good balance for an IPA.  I like the thickness and mouthfeel – it’s not too thin and slides down pretty smoothly.  If you were looking for an introduction to IPAs, this might be a good one.  It would tell you if you like IPAs or not without smacking you in the face with the hops like some IPAs do.  I think I would try this one again if an IPA was what I was after.  Not too shabby.

Rating: 3/5 

816 bottles of beer on the wall…

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