The Observation Room at AleSmith Brewing

The Observation Room at AleSmith Brewing
AleSmith Brewing Company
9368 Cabot Drive | San Diego, CA 92126
(858) 549-9888

AleSmith Brewing Company, founded in 1995, is located in San Diego, California. Specializing in craft ales inspired by European classics, AleSmith has won several national and international awards. Needless to say, it was a “must stop” on our California Beerventure.

The original location opened in 1995 in the commercial district of Miramar and included a 15 barrel brewhouse and tasting bar. They caught the attention of the brewing world in 1998 when Horny Devil, their Belgian Golden Strong Ale won a silver medal at GABF.


In 2002, Peter Zien took over ownership, and in 2003 they released their first barrel aged beer, the 12% ABV Barrel Aged Speedway Stout.

More accolades came in 2008 when AleSmith won Small Brewing Company and Brewer of the Year at GABF, and they graduated to a 30 barrel brewhouse. New branding came in 2012, and by 2014 AleSmith was rated Best Brewery in the World on

Celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, AleSmith will be opening a new state-of-the-art brewery in Miramar at 9990 AleSmith Court (Empire Street), just two blocks from the original location.

The new spot will feature a tasting room and a brewhouse capable of producing over 100,000 barrels of beer annually on the Steinecker 80 barrel brew system.

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The temporary tasting room, known as the “Observation Room,” is open while they finish up the new tasting room. The Observation room has 12 AleSmith taps, a behind-the-scenes keg walk for cellar viewing, and a 75 inch monitor featuring footage of the new space.

Updated logo and bottle art visually defines the AleSmith brand and a Premium Prospero bottler was installed to increase efficiency, quality, and reach a new output level of 15,000 bbls/year.

We visited the very crowded location at 9368 Cabot Drive. There is a large bar in the room where you first enter. As you head towards the back of the building and the brewing area, a table was set up for the flight of the day.

I enjoyed the flight of the day, which included…

  • Barrel Aged Nut Brown – Nut Brown Ale infused with Coffee and Coconut
  • Vietnamese Speedway Stout – 12% ABV Russian Imperial Stout with Coffee
  • Peanut Butter Vietnamese Speedway Stout – 12% Russian Imperial Stout with Coffee and Peanut Butter
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Speedway Stout – 12% ABV Russian Imperial Stout aged in Bourbon Barrels


Other beers available on tap included…

Year-round Offerings

  • X – 5.25% ABV Extra Pale Ale
  • Lil Devil – 5.75% ABV Belgian Pale Ale
  • Nut Brown Ale – 5% ABV Brown Ale
  • Anvil ESB – 5.5% ABV Extra Special Bitter
  • IPA – 7.25% ABV India Pale Ale
  • Horny Devil – 10% ABV Belgian Strong
  • Grand Cru – 10% ABV Belgian Dark Strong
  • Wee Heavy – 10% ABV Scotch-Style Ale
  • Numbskull – 11% ABV Barleywine Ale
  • Speedway Stout – 12% ABV Imperial Stout with Coffee


  • .394 – 6% ABV San Diego Pale Ale
  • Lil Devil Tart – Belgian Pale Ale
  • Bourbon Barrel Aged Nut Brown – 5% ABV Brown Ale
  • Hall of Fame .394 – 9% ABV Imperial San Diego Pale Ale
  • Speedway Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels – 10% ABV Imperial Stout
  • Session IPA – 4.5% ABV IPA
  • Cream Ale – 5% ABV Cream Ale
  • Double Hammerhead Speedway Stout – 12% ABV Imperial Stout on Nitro

Beers less than 8.5% ABV are available in 4-ounce, 8-ounce, and 16-ounce pours. Beers greater than 8.5% ABV are available in 4-ounce and 8-ounce pours.

In addition to the flight of the day, there is also the Hop-Centric Flight, Belgian Flight, High Gravity Sipper Flight, World Tour Flight, and Dealer’s Choice Flight.

Outside in the back was a food truck, as well as an additional area for patrons to enjoy their beers.

The chalkboards above the bar clearly labels which beers are available in 32-ounce growlers, 64-ounce growlers, 5-gallon kegs, and 15.5-gallon kegs. Several beers are also available in bottles to go.

The tasting room is open Monday to Friday noon to 9 PM, Saturday 11 AM to 9 PM, and Sunday 11 AM to 7 PM. Check their website for updates on the new location.

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