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. 

Meet Zambo: Speakeasy’s New Director of Brewing

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is happy to announce that David Szamborksi has joined the brewery as its new Director of Brewing. Szamborksi, better known as Zambo in the beer industry, arrives with over 10 years of high quality, award winning, brewing experience. The position was recently vacated by Kushal Hall, who decided to return to Southern California.

Zambo started homebrewing at the age of 19. He’s a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Siebel Institute in Germany. Zambo has held brewing positions at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewery, Karl Strauss Brewing, and was head brewer for the last six years at 21st Amendment Brewery in San Francisco. In his previous role, Zambo’s efforts led to numerous awards at the Great American Beer Festival and World Beer Cup.

According to Zambo, “It was an easy choice for me… to lead a team of people that have achieved 19 years of success. Speakeasy makes great classic styles and is continuing to explore new horizons in beer, all while expanding their reach in the craft beer market. I’m looking forward to working with the team, growing, and taking the brewery to the next level together.”

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers will celebrate Zambo’s arrival with a Brewer’s Picnic on Saturday, June 25, at the brewery Tap Room. During the event Zambo will lead a beer and food pairing session, tap a special firkin, and mingle with attendees. More info about this event will be published on the Speakeasy website as details are finalized.