Total Score: 7.95/10
Been looking forward to this one, it rates highly in the great pantheon of West Coast IPAs and I can still appreciate a decent American IPA (even if I do get bored of them at times). So what do I know about AleSmith? Very little… they’re another San Diego brewer, so expecting a real piney/citrus walloping from this fine brown glass bomber. They’ve been around since 1995 so that makes them one of the forefathers of the modern American craft beer revolution (not unlike fellow San Diegan Stone which has been around since 1996)… it’s amazing how long craft beer has been around in the states and how as late as 2005 it was impossible to find anything remotely craft in Australia, we really have come a long way, cheers beerethren!
Poured from a 650ml US bomber bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Hella cloudy [Hell yeah!] Gamboge body with a nice firm 2 centimetre cream-coloured head. Great head retention in a 7.25% ABV brew! Sanskrit lacing on in the side of the glass like all the great American IPAs that spring to mind (Founders, Deschutes, Victory, Sierra Nevada Torpedo, et al.), yep this is going to be a corker! 9/10.
S: Worryingly malty straight up with a caramel/biscuit nose – I’ve recently had major hop fade in the last few US IPAs I’ve reviewed so I’m pretty wary of that happening now. Absolutely no dating on the bottle either, so no idea how old this one is. Piney/grapefruit notes struggle to overcome the malt base, not off to a good start here. 7/10.
T: Dry cracker and piney hops from the off mingle with an earthy overtone, caramel and biscuit malts come in but thankfully don’t dominate the palate… but the big question is: Hop fade? A bit of that, nothing outrageous like the last 2 IPAs (though they were East Coast which adds an extra month to the container ships). I imagine the tropical notes described on the label suffered with the sea voyage most. Finishes with an assertively astringent woody/piney hop bitterness. Unabashedly West Coast IPA right here! (reminds me of Ballast Point Big Eye actually). 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a soft but dense carbonation. 7/10.
D: Pretty decent example of a San Diegan IPA, not quite as good as the Stone stuff (they’re definitely more out there as a brewer, and hence why I like them). However a solid American IPA for sure. It doesn’t rewrite the rule book on IPA, but it also doesn’t disappoint in any way. 9/10.
Food match: Get it India! Curry that is.