Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sf Beer Week: Alesmith at City Beer Store

Alesmith Tasting Event

Saturday Feb 6th
$25 for 5 tastes ($20 if you bought then earlier)

We were there by 3pm and were expecting it to be packed. It was busy but not too annoyingly crowded, which is always a good thing especially considering it is SF Beer Week. They actually held the event across the street at Triptych to accommodate more people- smart move on their part because the City Beer store itself can get pretty crowded. Plus they gave you a free tasting sniffer glass which has the city beer logo on them- pretty cute.

So we walked right in- got 2 red tickets for the 'special rare beers', which included Alesmith's Decadence and their Bourbon Barrel Aged Speedway Stout. Alesmith's Decadence is a Anniversary beer that changes in style every year since since they started making it in 2005. This year it was a dark weizenbock featuring malted wheat and a unique German yeast. Alesmith's Bourbon Barrel Aged Speedway Stout is very rare beer that they make less than 200 bottles of it per year.

So we walked in and right to the rare stuff- first up, a glass of their Decadence. Being 9%, it is their lowest ABV that they have made for this beer yet. It poured a dark mahogany with a thin creamy oatmeal colored head. It smelled like stewed raisins, fresh vanilla beans, roasted malts, some yeast and some cereal. It tasted like dried plums, raisins, some toffee and malt. It was not too heavy and was a bit interesting for a dark weizenbock. It was not an barrel aged Speedway Stout, however and we quickly realized our mistake. We should have just gotten 2 pours of the Speedway Stout since we could have gotten a bottle of the Decadence and have had more of the rare stuff.

So then we went to try the event of the afternoon. The Bourbon Barrel Aged Speedway Stout is 12.5%, just a .5% more than their regular Speedway Stout. It poured an eclipse black with some light cream. It smelled like bourbon, malt, espresso, but not too overwhelmingly bourbon. It tasted like toasted malts, bourbon, but no burn. It was incredibly smooth for 12.5% and seemed more like it was created using Irish whiskey barrels perhaps? You don't get much vanilla or coconut flavors out of it- just a hint. Seems reminiscent of the Deschuttes XXI. Overall, pretty tasty.

Next we went onto our 3 blue tickets which were vouchers for the less rare stuff. First up: Evil Dead Red Ale. This beer is an Imperial Red and 6.66%. It poured a beautiful deep copper red. It smelled like hops, grapefruit, citrus, and grass. It tasted very floral, citrus, with some sweet malt character. It was not that bitter- it was more malty than bitter. I enjoyed it while finally meeting a fellow female in the beer world- Gail Williams. She is Beer Judge as well as a fellow Bay Area Beer Blogger with her blog: beerbybart.com. She is also hosting her own SF Beer Week event for women this Saturday Feb 13 at Beer Revolution in Oakland from 2pm-5pm: 
A toast to Women in the Beer Community

It's always great to meet such fabulous women in this world of beer!

Next up: Yulesmith, which is an Imperial IPA and 8.5%. It wasn't that floral and I didn't get much nose out of it- a hint of hops. It tasted like citrus hops- it had a great bitterness to it and was a bit dry. It left a dry grapefruit skin bitterness on your tongue and throat. Someone next to me at the bar said it was reminiscent of a greyhound- in a good way. It was pretty drinkable.

After all of these, we didn't have another one we want to try besides the Barrel Aged Speedway Stout, but we had used up all of our tickets. Then Dave went up to the woman who was pouring and asked for the bourbon barrel aged version again, which she then poured for him and me out of the goodness of her heart- bless her soul. MMMmmmm bourbon coffee stout!

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