New Cans: Big Daddy IPA, Prohibition Ale & Betrayal Imperial Red Ale

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is excited to announce the release of three new cans this fall, including their best selling flagship beers, Big Daddy IPA and Prohibition Ale. By popular demand, Betrayal Imperial Red Ale will also return in a can to Speakeasy’s Limited Series lineup. All three beers will be packaged and shipped to distributors in October.

Speakeasy started filling cans in 2015 with the debut of their Session Series, followed by Double Daddy Imperial IPA in the spring of 2016. The success of those releases, coupled with more consumer interest in canned beer, made canning flagship and seasonal beers an easy choice. Moving forward, Speakeasy fans can expect an even larger portfolio of canned beer, excluding barrel-aged releases.

According to Forest Gray, Speakeasy’s founder and CEO, “We’ve always believed cans are a better package. They don’t allow light or oxygen into the beer, they’re portable, and easier to recycle. When someone goes into a market to pick up a six pack of beer, I can’t find a good reason for them to walk out with something that weighs twice as much and provides the same experience, if not better, in a can."

Prohibition Ale and Big Daddy IPA will be available year-round in cans. Prohibition Ale was the first beer Speakeasy bootlegged back in 1997. Year after year it’s been an award-winning staple, recently receiving a gold medal in the amber/red category at the 2013 Great American Beer Festival. Big Daddy IPA joined Speakeasy’s lineup in 1999, and helped establish the popularity of West Coast IPAs.

Returning after a 2 year hiatus, Betrayal Imperial Red Ale will be Speakeasy’s first seasonal can release from October to January. “It’s a celebration of rich malt in harmony with aromatic hops,” said Zambo, Speakeasy’s Director of Brewing. The recipe was slightly tweaked, adding more hops and layers of malt flavor to make it even more delicious and memorable.

Fans of Speakeasy’s Limited Series beers like Betrayal can also expect a more varied lineup in the year’s ahead. According to Forest Gray, “We’re looking at switching some of the beers around to provide diversity and variety year to year. While it won’t be made this year, look for the return of Butchertown India Black Ale in 2017.”

California Love: Smog City Brewing Collaboration Beer

Beautiful coastlines, bountiful harvests, and sunshine for days, our love of California runs deep. So we brewed a beer with Smog City Brewing to celebrate the Golden State and bridge the rivalry between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The result is California Love, an Imperial Red Ale made with pinot noir grape juice, orange peel, and oak chips.

Maris Otter, Crystal Malts, and a touch of Chocolate Wheat make up the malt base of California Love, giving it a rich body filled with caramel, biscuit, and dried fruit flavors. Orange peel zest and citrusy hops were incorporated to represent sunny Southern California, while American oak chips and pinot noir grapes were included to embody Northern California. The hop additions feature classic American Centennial, Amarillo and Citra. The beer is 7.9% alcohol by volume and finished at 65 IBUs. 

California Love will be released in the Speakeasy Tap Room on September 9th, the 166th anniversary of California statehood. History professor Steve Batham will tell stories about California history at 4:00pm and 5:30pm. The event is also a costume party. Wear whatever California means to you, whether that's a hippie, surfer, 49er, etc. Native Sons BBQ will also be here at 6:00pm, serving up some of the best smoked meat in the city. Join us and celebrate your California Love.


The Return of Payback Pumpkin Pie Porter

Grab onto summer and hold it tight. Fall is lurking down a dark cold alley. A devilish grin is ready to drain your spirit and fill it with pumpkin and spice. Payback Pumpkin Pie Porter returns with a vengeance to the Speakeasy Ales & Lagers lineup this fall. It will be released on Saturday, August 13th, in the brewery Tap Room, and be shipped to a limited amount of locations throughout the United States.  

Brewed with chocolate malts, rolled oats, and all-natural pumpkin, Payback Pumpkin Pie Porter pours a dark chocolate brown. The aroma and flavor yields a sharp bite of citrus and ginger, with notes of espresso, baker’s cocoa, sweet toasted maltiness, allspice, and nutmeg. The beer finishes with a creamy mouthfeel and a touch of sweetness. 


19th Anniversary Raise the Stakes Weekend

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is celebrating its 19th Anniversary with the release of two new beers at their San Francisco brewery and tap room. Bronze Anniversary Ale and Fixed Fight Barrel-Aged Old Ale will be sold for the first time during Speakeasy’s 19th Anniversary Raise the Stakes Weekend, July 14-17. In addition to the new releases, the four-day celebration will feature rare beers, a cellar sale, firkin festival, a ticketed VIP session, live music, food, and more. Check out all the celebration details

Bronze Anniversary Ale is a quaffable summer beer that’s bronze in color with balanced notes of roast chestnut, biscuit, lightly toasted bread, and orange zest. This draft only release is the first new beer created by Zambo, Speakeasy’s new director of brewing. The beer is 6% alcohol by volume with 24 IBUs. The malt bill includes Two Row, Biscuit, Carafa, English Amber, and Crystal Malt. The beer is low in bitterness, achieved using Magnum hops, with a touch of Cascade to produce a crisp clean citrusy finish.

Fixed Fight Barrel-Aged Old Ale is one heavy hitter. It pounds the taste buds with a wide range of rich and complex flavors, including dried stone fruits, raisins, caramel, anise, toffee, and dark wheat bread. Twenty percent of the beer was aged in American bourbon barrels from 12 to 24 months, adding oak, whiskey, toasted coconut, and vanilla overtones. The beer is 10.5% alcohol by volume and contains just 19 IBUs. The recipe includes German Munich, Carafa Type 2, and European Crystal Malts, while German Magnum, Merkur, and American Chinook hops dial down the sweetness and add a touch of citrus to the warming finish. Fixed Fight Barrel-Aged Old Ale will be available on draft and sold in 22oz bottles, exclusively in the Speakeasy Tap Room.


Bronze Anniversary Ale will be served on Thursday, July 14. Fixed Fight Barrel-Aged Old Ale will be available on draft and 22oz bottles Friday, July 15. Both release parties will take place in the brewery’s tap room and are part of Speakeasy Ales & Lagers 19th Anniversary Raise the Stakes Weekend, July 14-17. Additional festivities include the seasonal release of Blind Tiger Imperial IPA, the Old Godfather VIP Session, an IPA Day, and firkin festival. 

Face Behind the Bottle: Designer Josh Emrich

Great beer starts with great design. First the brewer creates a recipe. Then the beer needs a name and artwork for the bottle or can. When it comes to the label art we’ve been fortunate to work with independent designer Josh Emrich. 

We thought it was time for you to meet Josh and learn about his creative process, how he developed the Speakeasy style, his favorite label, and the future of package design in the beer industry. Watch our video interview.  

Below are early sketches for Metropolis Lager, Vendetta IPA, and Black Hand Chocolate Milk Stout. Josh develops these images in Photoshop with a digital pen and tablet.