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AleSmith Brewing Company

Official Web Page 
Address: 9368 Cabot Drive, San Diego, CA 92126, USA
Tel: 858-549-9888
Fax: 858-549-1052

Opened: 1995
Date Visited: August, 2001

Head Brewer: Skip Virgilio

This is probably one of Southern California's best brewers that seems to go about its business quietly, letting the artesinal craftsmanship and quality of its ales do all the talking. An exciting range of bottle-conditioned Belgian ales appear at different times packed in corked champagne bottles, while a steady line of British/PNW style ales are equally as interesting. There's a casual laid back approach to the brewery, allowing visitors to pop in for a tour at any time, and taste a few of their ales. 

Read my full article on this brewer

Beers Reviewed

(click on beer name for full review)
Anvil Ale Type: ESB ABV: 5.5%
The brewery’s first beer and flagship. Having drank Fuller’s ESB the night before my first impressions were that this was every bit as good and indeed very similar in style. It had a good fruity and toasted malt palate, a clean fuity estery flavor and adequately balanced hop. As well as a a gold medal at the world beer championships in 1997 and silver in 1996 and 98, it was also First place, Strong Bitter category, San Diego Real Ale Festival 2000.
Ratings: Not Rated 


AleSmith Golden Anvil Ale Type:  ABV: 4.5%
My first taste was what seemed a little like an amber ale. There was a slight piney aroma, with a nice refreshing balance of tangy Cascade hops and smooth malt backbone, giving this something of a Pacific Northwest feel. This turned out to be “Golden Anvil Ale” a silver medal winner at the World Beer Championships in 1997 and 1998.
Ratings: Not Rated


AleSmith Horny Devil  Type: Tripel ABV: 10%
In the fridge awaiting consumption

(formerly known as Belgian Strong Ale which made Skip Virgilio San Diego's first gold medal winner at the GABF) is inspired by the curious beers produced by Trappist monks in monasteries across Belgium. The beer's dryness and strength are the result of a unique Trappist yeast strain in a warm fermentation. These attributes are subtly masked by the restrained use of premium low-alpha hop varieties. The malt flavors and fruity esters produced during fermentation create the initial impression, while authentic Belgian Candi sugar and fresh coriander add complexity to the palate

Ratings: Appearance: /5 Aroma: /10 Palate: /5 Taste: /10 Overall: /20 Score: 


AleSmith X Type: Pale (light) ABV: 5%
Sampled this at the brewery and reviewed from the bottle I brought home. Lively pour, pale golden color with impressive white foam and a multitude of tiny precise cascading bubbles. This pour had resulted in something cloudier than I had witnessed at the brewery, telling me that there was some yeast mixed in there. There’s a delightful fresh floral greeting on the nose with lemony citrus as well as piney and grassy notes, while there’s also a pale smooth malted background aroma. A spritzy refreshing carbonation tingles the front of the palate, gradually smoothing out in the middle. It’s certainly on the light bodied side for an ale, adding to this beer’s refreshing drinkability. The tip of the palate is pretty clean, while there’s a gentle sweetness in the middle with something of a biscuity malt and a honey-like flavor and texture. There’s a nice fresh lemon sweetness that plays well against the honey too. It does seem like this is about to rush up to a strong bitter finish, but the tangy citrus that results is actually a little milder with a perfectly weighted crisp dryness, making for a pleasant and agreeable finish. Some grapefruit tangy citrus does linger into the finish, but overall this is rounded out with a subtle smooth lemony sweetness.

A perfect thirst quenching ale, very accessible to newbies with enough craftsmanship to delight the aficionados.

Ratings: Appearance: 3/5 Aroma: 8/10 Palate: 4/5 Taste: 8/10 Overall: 16/20 Score: 3.9


BlackSmith's Blonde  Type: Belgian Style ABV: 6.9%
A pretty light and extremely quaffable ale, a little hoppy again while adding an interesting coriander flavor as well as notes of orange peel. The brewer described this as a cross between a hoppy west-coast style ale and a blonde Belgian ale. Interestingly this ale, as well as other AleSmith Belgian ales, is fermented with a yeast from a Trappist monastery.
Ratings: Not Rated 

Last Updated: 09/06/2001

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