There’s a reason that Alesmith Brewing Company continues to stand near the top of the almighty beer mountain in San Diego. Their selection of beers may not be in the dozens like other breweries, but the brews that they do put out are always stellar, well executed, and without question, world class. This includes their no frills, perfectly balanced IPA. It’s so good, and so perfect that it doesn’t even require a catchy name, or some fancy packaging. It’s simply Alesmith IPA.
Cracking open a 22oz bottle of this stuff is always a major treat. Whether you are sitting in a dark, tavern-like bar, or have it wrapped up and ready to rock and roll in a beer bomber koozie, having this brew is always a treat. Immediately upon cracking it open, you will get some nice grapefruit aromas escaping from the top of the bottle. The smell hits even harder once being poured straight into a glass. There’s more grapefruit, but not a big time hop bomb like many IPA’s.
The color is a beautiful burnt orange and honey-like, and after a nice hard pour, there is a pretty decent sized white head that lasts for quite some time. Sitting in the glass, it’s truly a thing of beauty. It’s your typical West Coast IPA, and it’s been brewed to near perfection. After staring it down for a moment or two, just admiring the beauty of this masterful beverage, it was time to say hello.
The taste is everything you would expect in a traditional West Coast IPA. There’s some nice piney notes that come through, the pineapple or some other type of citrus dances on the tongue, and the light bready malt balances it all out perfectly. There’s no doubt about it, that this brew right here is a classic and a must try for anyone and everyone. Yes, you might have some other IPA’s that a big, bold, loaded with hops and pack a major punch. However, Alesmith IPA is the type of IPA that just seems to exude this incredibly sense of confidence. It’s as if the brewers took note of older brewing traditions that did not require any types of gimmicks. This is just a clean, although a little bit hazy, well-balanced beer that continues to be one of the flag ship beers by one of the very best breweries in San Diego (and the country for that matter).
At 7.25% abv, this is the perfect beer to take on a trip, to a party, or to a pre sporting event tailgate. Wrap it up nice and cozy in a hop-covered Bomber Jacket, kick back and enjoy a beer that does not have to try very hard to be world-class. Thank you, Alesmith! Your IPA might not be a monster imperial with eight different hops, but this is what makes you a classic.
Portland, Oregon continues to rise to the top of the beer geekdom world, as places like Hopworks continues to turn out one good beer after another. As we settle in on winter, the lighter beers have drifted off into old hangovers, and have been replaced by thicker, darker, more aggressive stouts like the Organic Motherland Russian Imperial Stout. This seasonal brew is quite the beast at 9.8% abv, so sit down, relax, and prepare to drink this dark, roasted monster.
Hopworks has pretty much run the gauntlet in different types of styles and tastes, and this winter they have released a solid, Russian Imperial Stout. The Motherland is part of a revolving series of imperial ales that are released throughout the year. They’re not meant for the chug and fall down type-of-a-crowd, but are better meant for the slow-sipping, sniff and smell type of connoisseurs.
A nice pour into a pint glass delivers a dark color, not quite the ‘black as a Siberian winter’ as mentioned on the brewery website, but more-so a dark, intense cola color. A one finger tan head fills the upper part of the glass, but dissipates somewhat quickly. It’s a nice looking beer, and from a foot away, it’s easy to smell the loads of cocoa, some anise, and dark chocolates. It’s a solid looking beer, and it’s now time for consumption.
The taste is a bit unexpected, after initially smelling the chocolate and cocoa. As the liquid bounces across my taste buds, I’m greeted with more of a roasted barley, some nice toffee notes, and a generous dose of alcohol, thanks to that aggressive 9.8% abv. It delivers a nice warm feeling in the gut, as the booze flows around and swishes throughout my insides. It makes me want to put on a nice warm hat, some thick winter clothing, grab another bottle of the Motherland, and wrap this bad boy up in my favorite 22oz bomber jacket and take a seat by a raging fire. This is a cold weather beer, no doubt about. You won’t be sipping this guy at your next raging pool party, or kick back barbecue with the in-laws. Nope. This beast is meant for the winter months, so seek it out because it won’t be long before this one is off the shelves and the next in the series of imperial ales shows up.
Overall, the Organic Mother Land Russian Imperial Stout was a solid beer. Does it stand up against some of the world-class stouts of the world? Probably not, but that would not stop me from grabbing a few of the 22oz’ers and knocking back a couple (slowly of course, because as mentioned, this is not a chug-a-lug-lug type of beverage). This is for those looking for something big, bold, and something that will provide a nice punch of alcohol to fire up the evening. Nostrovia!