Each year I try to reserve a special brew for New Year's Eve. This year I put aside a bottle of AleSmith Speedway Stout. I have been very impressed by every beer I have tried by this San Diego brewery and I was really looking forward to tasting it. This beer did not let me down.
Speedway Stout is brewed with pounds of Ryan Bros. coffee beans and weighs in at 12% abv. I should tell you all that I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, but this is the closest I will ever come. The blend of beer and coffee flavors in this beer is amazing. It has a strong coffee aroma and the first sip is like shoving a fist full of chocolate covered espresso beans in your mouth and then maybe some tiramisu.
The beer is full-bodied, creamy, exceptionally smooth on the palate, and an utter joy to drink -- I mean a truly amazing mouthfeel. I was so overwhelmed while rating this beer that I began second guessing how good it was -- as soon as I finished, I went online immediately to look at other reviews to make sure I was not overdoing it. Nope, this beer gets a resounding thumbs up from just about everyone who tries it. As I expect from all AleSmith products, this beer is complex. I noticed espresso, chocolate, caramel, citrus and licorice flavors -- and maybe even a touch of rye (or maybe that is a touch of coffee acidity). It finishes a touch dry with a pleasant warming in the back of the throat -- but you would never guess 12% abv. This is one of the biggest and certainly best beers I have ever tasted. I am in the process of hunting more down for cellaring -- if you see it, ignore the price tag and buy it -- trust me, you will not regret it.