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Review: AleSmith Brewing Company IPA

It's been too long since I've reviewed an IPA, so this week you're getting two of them. The first is young and grassy, and it's one of my new favorites. It was recommended by the beer buyer at Social Wines in South Boston, one of my neighborhood go-tos (as an aside if you like Rose wine, they carry about 40 of them). San Diego's Alesmith Brewing Company makes a concisely-named IPA with a clean label. The buyer Isaac said it was the freshest, most floral IPA he's had in quite some time. He pointed to the bottling date which was less than three weeks old, and it didn't take much arm-twisting.

alesmith.jpg Alesmith is best known for its "Speedway Stout", a sneaky-drinkable imperial stout clocking in around 12 percent alcohol by volume. Alesmith IPA is more approachable at 7.25 percent ABV. That's still potent, but compared to some West Coast IPAs it falls in the middle of the road.

The beer pours a faded orange into a tulip glass, though there's nothing muted about the electric white head. There's a truckload of citrus in the nose. Grapefruit and pineapple sing above a bed of damp earth.

The first sip is bitter and juicy and wet and floral. It's smooth, and it's supremely balanced. To me the contrast of bitter and citrusy elements most closely resemble that of Ballast Point's "Sculpin", an amazing beer in its own right. IPAs are my favorite kind of beer, so maybe it's a stylistic thing, but I could happily drink this one forever.

Alesmith IPA retails for around $7.50 for a 22-ounce bottle. It's distributed elsewhere in the state, but be careful of bottling dates. I saw a 6-month-old bottle on the shelf on the South Shore, which is just barely acceptable but definitely not ideal. Freshness is key to the aromatics of these types of IPAs, and you're going to appreciate this one more if you get a newer bottle.

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