Alesmith Brewery .394 Pale Ale
Alesmith Brewing’s 394 Pale Ale is a special beer. Special because it isn’t a regular wide release beer. Special because it honors the late Padres great Tony Gwynn, and was developed in collaboration with him. The .394 represents Mr. Gwynn’s highest batting average as a MLB player.
But before I take a sip of the Pale, I take a sampler of the Alesmith Speedway Imperial Stout with Vietnamese Coffee. I can’t explain except say, “Wowza! Now that’s a flava!” Alesmith sells tickets to get this beer in bottles and describes it as such:
“This Vietnamese coffee version of Speedway Stout is and continues to be AleSmith’s most popular variation of the ever-growing Speedway Stout collection. Since 2012 we have been adding this blend of four Vietnamese coffees, known in Vietnam as cà phê sa đá, to our popular imperial stout. The coffee beans were slowly roasted at low temperatures and then brewed by AleSmith with a traditional phin-style filter that gently percolates water through the ground coffee. The result is an intensely aromatic and bold tasting coffee that complements the notes of chocolate and roast in this massive stout.”
So…yeah. It is sticky sweet & mouth altering. I need half a glass of water just to get my palate back to normal.
.394 looks pretty good in a tall glass on a hotter than normal SoCal February afternoon. When I cup my nose to smell it like a damn beer nerd I smell the West Coast hop profile but only faintly. The first sip is more of a glug. For a pale ale it is more sweet than hoppy. That alone sets it apart from a lot of the pale ales I’ve had recently that taste more like IPA’s. Alesmith went subtle with this beer.
Back in November 2014 when this beer was released Alesmith owner, Peter Zien, told the San Diego Union Tribune about his collaboration with Tony.
“He wanted a light body and while he loved hops, he didn’t want a lot of bitterness. He wanted the beer to end sweet, not bitter.”
They definitely followed that to the letter.
It drinks clean with a light, fizzy mouth feel. A slight aftertaste of dankness coats the mouth. It is neither offensive nor pleasant. It merely exists to remind you that you are, in fact, drinking beer. As a side note it is at this point in the beer that I realize if I accidentally have a child in the future I will name them “Captain Falcon.” Boy or girl. Captain Falcon.
As I come to the end of this lovely happy hour beer I take a moment to admire the lace coating the glass. 394 is a well made beer that would be perfect for session-ing on a hot summer day. Even at 6% ABV it drinks a little lighter. Will be refreshing cold and not devolve as a flavor even as it warms to room temperature. Cheers to the Gwynn’s & to Alesmith.
I give this 4 of 6 Lighting Bolts of Awesomeness. Solid as she goes.