AleSmith Speedway Barrel Aged Stout
Every Monday night the Cigar Brief staff gets together at one of our local smoke shops to sample all of the cigars, craft beer, and fine spirits we’ve accumulated throughout the previous week. Recently, our meetings have gotten dramatically better with a substantial influx of high end and relatively rare craft brews. Thanks to our extensive and rigorous testing process, we here at Cigar Brief can unequivocally say that the Speedway Barrel Aged Stout by AleSmith Brewing Company out of San Diego, California is one damn good beer!
The bottle itself is sharp looking with a silver tinfoil wrapper afixed to its neck, similar to a champagne bottle. From the info emblazoned across the bottles base, it was fairly clear to all of us that we were about to get our coffee with a side of beer. Just as expected, the nose of the stout delivers a rich and bold coffee profile that’s just slightly mellowed by sweet chocolate and warm malt notes. The Speedway Stout’s bold dark roasted coffee profile immediately captures the palette. AleSmith uses pounds of Ryan’s Brothers Coffee when brewing each batch of their 12% ABV heavyweight. Following the coffee profile, notes of sweet chocolate and rich malts started weaving their way into the mix and were soon joined by a hint of vanilla that originates from the bourbon barrel aging. What I particularly found incredible was the smoothness and balance of the finish. Often times, craft beers that utilize coffee to such a heavy extent end up with a product that has a slightly bitter finish. Of course, this can be corrected through the addition of sweet profiles, which results in the mellowing out of the coffee’s bitter notes. However, finding that perfect balance is where the real art lies and AleSmith Brewing clearly has some masters in their stable.
Now just so there isn’t any confusion, this is a powerful beer and it may not be for everyone. That being said, everyone needs to try this beer! Don’t just take my word for it, the Speedway Stout has been rated “the #1 BEST BEER IN THE WORLD by ratebeer.com” and has birthed a tenacious cult following. The brew has won numerous awards, “including Silver in its category at the California State Fair, and Brewer’s Choice and People’s Choice at the San Diego Strong Ale Festival, World Beer Championships Platinum.” Now that I have your attention, I probably should have prefaced all of this by saying that this is another notoriously difficult gem to find. To make things a little easier AleSmith’s website provides a handy product locator. So go now and find the Speedway Stout, you won’t be disappointed!