San Diego

San Diego's AleSmith Brewing Celebrates 24th Anniversary With Beer Bash

AleSmith, founded in San Diego in 1995, is considered one of the pioneers of craft brewing in America's Finest City

One of San Diego’s longest-running craft breweries will celebrate a big anniversary this weekend with a bash that includes the release of new beers created in collaboration with other small, local businesses and brewers.

As AleSmith Brewing Company turns 24, the tasting room in Miramar will host a party Friday through Sunday featuring an art festival, tasting events, live music and more.

Starting at 11 a.m. Friday, AleSmith will start rolling out new releases like Coastal Connect, a pale, dry lager brewed in collaboration with California-based Faction Brewing. This brew is described as having notes of tropical fruit, melon, citrus and wine grapes from New Zealand hops.

Also on tap: Small-batch series releases like a tangerine blonde called Crave of Wonders, brewed with local San Diego cookie brand, The Cravory, and Spirited Crew, a dunkles bock collab with Malahat Spirits. The Crave of Wonders will be paired with The Cravory's famous Lemon Bar Cookie.

In 16-ounce cans, craft beer fanatics will find the small-batch Local Perc, a coffee IPA collaboration with Bird Rock Coffee Roasters, and Shan-Guava, a guava IPA created with beloved San Diego sweets shop, Extraordinary Desserts.

AleSmith will also release four OG Barleywine Ales in a four-bottle pack made with AleSmith co-founder Skip Virgilio, the brewmaster who now helms the Gravity Heights brewpub in Sorrento Valley.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, the brewery will release its 2019 Barrel-Aged Speedway Stout – a new take on its signature Russian Imperial Stout. This 13% ABV version was aged in bourbon barrels for “extended” time and boasts notes of oak, vanilla and bourbon that add to the stout’s chocolate profile. Artisanal coffee and roasted barley round out the flavor. This release comes in a two-bottle pack.

In addition to the suds, AleSmith’s celebration will kick off with a toast by owner Peter Zien at 6 p.m. Friday. Saturday and Sunday will bring the Art, Music & Beer Festival to the tasting room, which includes art exhibitions and live performances. The free is free to attend and you can register ahead of time here.

AleSmith was founded in San Diego in 1995 and quickly made a name for itself in the city's rising craft beer scene and beyond.

This past January, the company was named the 6th best brewer in the world by the respected beer-ranking website,, as the website released its list of the “Top 100 Best Brewers in the World” for 2018.

AleSmith was the only San Diego craft brewer to crack the top 10; the list also recognized Escondido-based Stone Brewing (No. 22), Modern Times (No. 23), Alpine Beer Company (No. 45), Ballast Point Brewing Company (No. 61) and Mikkeller San Diego (No. 65).

AleSmith had landed on the list before. In 2017, the brewing company was ranked the 4th best brewery in the world and, in 2016, it snagged the No. 2 ranking.

Among craft beer aficionados, AleSmith is known for brews like its Speedway Stout, Old Numbskull American Barleywine and San Diego Pale Ale .394, a nod to late Padres legend Tony Gwynn. As of January, AleSmith's distribution reached 28 states across the U.S. and eight countries around the globe.

AleSmith Brewing Company held its annual “5.5 K” run Saturday to honor late San Diego Padres icon Tony Gwynn and raise money for his foundation. NBC 7’s Steven Luke reports.

The brewery, owned by Zien, operates a nearly 110,000-square-foot facility and tasting room at 9990 AleSmith Court in Miramar, a community known as one of San Diego’s hubs for craft beer. The tasting room is open daily, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

In April 2015, AleSmith worked with the City of San Diego to rename the street where the large-scale tasting room now stands from Empire Street to AleSmith Court.

In addition to his passion for beer, Zien recently launched an artisan cheese production venture dubbed CheeseSmith within the brewery's Miramar facility.

The brewery is working on securing a food license so that, eventually, cheese can be sold at the facility. Zien is working on classic cheese recipes, as well as recipes that incorporate AleSmith beers, including the "Speedway Stout Cheddar."

By the way, AleSmith is also one of the founding members of the San Diego Brewers Guild, which, to date, is comprised of more than 130 local craft breweries.

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