Founded in 1995, AleSmith is a microbrewery specialising in handcrafted ales. Firmly rooted in the amateur brewing scene AleSmith has continued to snaffle up national and international awards and acclaim, as well as a rabid following among beer enthusiasts.
AleSmith’s beers draw inspiration from the brewing styles of Great Britain and Belgium and are known for their depth of character and strength; nearly half of all AleSmith beers have an alcohol by volume measurement over 8.5%. Their trademark brew, Speedway Stout, is viewed as a high watermark of muscle flexing imperial stouts. Oil black and flavoursome as hell, Speedway is a sensational stout worthy of everyone’s time, attention and twenty quid.
Originally opened in 1995 by Skip Virgilio and Ted Newcomb in San Diego, the brewery changed hands in 2002. Purchased by Peter Zien, an accomplished and highly decorated home brewer, AleSmith continues to produce a variety of flavoursome styles.
His beers have earned over 400 medals and honours in competition. He is San Diego County’s only BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) “Grand Master” Level One Beer Judge, one of their highest ratings. Kind of like the Mr. Miyagi of beer judging.
AleSmith prides itself in hiring exclusively from the ranks of home brewers. This may explain why AleSmith’s beers have little text on the bottles as competition beers are always submitted unlabeled. Unlike most American brewers all of AleSmith’s bottled beers are bottle conditioned.
Learning of their affinity for British brewing styles I’ve gone for their most English of beers, Anvil. Not only is it the first beer they produced but an interpretation of the Extra Special Bitter which promises to come complete with the mineral qualities of the beers brewed in Burton on Trent.
It pours a bright and brilliant copper colour with a finger full of thick beige foam. A rich caramel malt aroma is served up with a well stocked buffet of dark fruit. The spice mill has been firmly twisted, complementing the earthy hop nose. It smells lovely and the hint of ginger would be the perfect stomach settler after you drink too many bottles.
This really is a bittersweet beauty and the flavour is brim full of nutty character. Ripe fruits are in attendance, in fact it’s a capacity crowd; mango, peach, plums and more. There’s more toffee than a Thornton’s factory outlet. Despite its fuller mouthfeel this is easier to drink than a complementary in-flight G&T and the subtle bitterness goes on longer than the final hour of the Return of the King. A British belter.