AleSmith Brewing Company — San Diego Pale Ale .394

AleSmith Brewing Company, San Diego, CA

San Diego Pale Ale .394

6% ABV, 13 IBU

Tasting Date: 7/18/16

Both Gwynn and AleSmith make it look so damn easy.

AleSmith’s San Diego Pale Ale .394 is like an opposite field single off of a high fastball: it seems deceptively simple, but it’s the product of masterful skill and expertise, knowing how not to overcomplicate things and let the ball do the work. Lesser hitters, and lesser brewers, may chase it while trying to swing for the fence, making contact with nothing more than warm summer air and their own embarrassment. But this beer knows how to work with the pitch and take full advantage. In this regard, it’s a fitting tribute to the great Tony Gwynn (whom I love and for whom this beer was made and named after), especially in his later years when he no longer had the speed or power of his golden glove days, but who could masterfully hit virtually anything an opposing pitcher had to offer. It’s also a kind of apotheosis of AleSmith itself — a brewery that produces damn near impeccable beers that are each exemplars of their particular styles. Count yourself lucky to taste something with this level of accomplished ease.

Pairings: stadium hot dogs and, if one could take this beer and travel back in time, a summer afternoon at the Murph (but really any ballfield will do)

Score: 94, of course