HopTango by Smog City

10609563_10102027168180680_3889994075577652665_nRating: 5.25/5

HopTango by Smog City is a 7.3% ABV India Pale Ale brewed with Mango.

HopTonic in Mango


Got this beer on tap at the local brewery, Smog City in Torrance California near work. They only have this for a limited amount of time. I almost didn’t get a growler of this until I tried it and while going home I regretted not grabbing a growler. The next day, I went back to get one and left so I can definitely take my time with this one but also sharing this with my friends. Fruit IPAs seem to be something that is typically not released often. Especially for those that taste really awesome. There was something special about this one because it seems to have stuck around with me for a long time. So if you are definitely in town, you should take a visit to Torrance and pass by Smog City this labor day weekend!!

From the moment you take the first whiff is nothing but sweet sweet mango!! It then follows grapefruit, flora, grassy, herbal and piney hops, orange candy, mango candies, pineapple, tropical fruits like honey dew melon, biscuit bread, vanilla, caramel hints, lemon peel, stone fruit peach and apricot hints, honey and dragon fruit.


Rich Mango forward but still balanced with the tropics and hops. Grapefrui, floral, grassy, piney and herbal hops, biscuit bread, lots of passion fruit, dragon fruit, mango candy, dragon fruit, papaya, prickly pears, vanilla, caramel, honey dew melon, stone fruit peach hints. Cherries, raspberries, mango tang, mango tampico juice, garlicky and oniony dankness and slight spiciness.


Ending with a linger of mango still, mild tropical fruit, herbal and piney hops and fading with bitter citrus. No alcohol in the taste, easy to drink, light to medium mouth feel, clear body as well as crisp and refreshing.


Something about the way this beer is made with the mango makes this one just above perfect. There is a great balance of sweet and bitter and nothing overwhelmingly bitter which will definitely make an IPA lover of some people that don’t like bitter IPAs. This is extremely delicious and it is a damn shame they only have it for a limited time. This is one I think they should definitely continue to make. HopTonic on its own was a very good IPA and I might give a run down one of these days. I highly recommend this one if you are by the tap room this weekend or if they decide to bottle this some day.

Anime Corner:

Milla Maxwell from Tales of Xillia was used in this beer pairing because she is the embodiment of this beer. The colors of different fruits and flavors are what HopTango is all about. Smooth, easy to drink sweet, but still dangerous, is what it is all about. Her long flowing hair with the streaks of green represent the mango skins which run from reds, greens, yellows and oranges. You also get a glimpse of cherries here as well. Overall a great pairing.



2012 Barrel Aged Grand Cru by Alesmith

1780896_10101691111371220_926055113_n 1911609_10101691110507950_886143519_n 10001516_10101691105972040_729515033_nRating: 5.75/5

2012 Barrel Aged Grand Cru by Alesmith is a 10% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale aged in Red Wine Barrels.

This Belgian-Style Ale has been matured in American and French Oak Barrels for a year to add layers of complexityย to its rich flavor profile of dark fruit and Belgian caramel malts. The oak and red wine flavors by the barrel-aging process blend seamlessly with subtle hints of raisin, plum, and bitter-sweet chocolate from the beer. Enjoy now or continue to age in a cool, dark place. Serve in a goblet at 50-55%

Obtained this one through a donation to the site. This is the 3rd Barrel-aged beer I try from Alesmith, being that the best one was the Kopi Luwak Bourbon Speedway Stout. A chance to try one of my favorite beers from them in barrel aged form and bring it forth to you guys is an honor. Hopefully it is good enough for a recommendation, although I can already tell you, it will be since I loved the regular grand cru.

Very rich red wine grapes, chardonnay, port wine, merlot, oak, dark fruits like figs, raisins, prunes, plums, currants, cherries, raspberries, cranberries, Dulce de leche caramel, dates, leather notes, vanilla, bourbon hints, milk chocolate, coconut, pecan and hazelnut pie, cloves, bananas in caramel, toffee, butterscotch, candi sugars, brown sugar, peaches, apples and apricots.

Lots of dark fruits like figs, prunes, raisins, plums, currants, raspberries, cherries, cranberries, dulce de leche caramel, flan, brown sugar, port wine, red wine, merlot, leather, milk chocolate hints, bananas, clove spice, vanilla, bourbon like notes, coconut, oak , pecan pie, hazelnut cream, butterscotch, rye bread, rock candy, candi sugar, peaches, pears, apples, apricots, good wine and cheese party and lychee.

Dark fruits, caramel, wine notes, oak, tart fruits and slight buttery rye. No alcohol in the taste yet has a smooth character which is kind of dangerous as I can easily try to finish such a good thing in one sittings. Savor her as much as you, she will love you for it or feel the full wrath.

Exceeding the expectations of its predecessor, the Alesmith Grand Cru, providing even richer fruitier flavors along with more caramel and candi sugars. I already loved their Grand Cru, but this is taking it to a whole new level with the oak wine characteristics that already bring something very interesting to the table. Especially since most Grand Crus already have an aspect of wine aging. This is not sour in any way and really is an incredible beer.

Anime Corner:
Milla Maxwell is back from the original review to show case the power of the beer in a form of complex flavor and strength animated by her ultimate powers. The fire, earth, water and air elements are a way to artistically show the improvement in the variety of flavors that this beer has. Especially after it aged for 2 years. In the picture where the guy tries to break her out shows that the beer has matured well and is ready to take on. Either that or he just wants to get her now. Regardless, she is damn stronger, maybe not ABV wise, but flavor wise for sure. Any other pairing ideas you can see in these pictures?

Grand Cru by Alesmith Brewing

487395_10101297402412130_346199578_n 1000856_10101297404702540_549048764_nRating: 5.35/5*

Grand Cru by Alesmith Brewing is a 10%ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale

25.4 fl. oz. – First place California State Fair. Grand Cru is a term designating excellence and is reserved for the finest offering from a brewery. AleSmith Grand Cru is brewed once per year in small batches for limited vintage release.

AleSmith Grand Cru is a complex, amber-colored, malty Belgian-style ale. It is brewed using only the finest imported malts, hops and candi sugar, along with an authentic yeast strain from a Belgian Trappist Monastery. Traditionally bottle-conditioned, the secondary fermentation occurring in the bottle gives this ale a natural effervescence.

Taste this truly Grand Cru and you’ll agree: AleSmith’s hand-forged ales are crafted to perfection. 10% alcohol by volume. Brewed & bottled by AleSmith Brewing Co., San Diego, CA.

Been passing this one up for a quite a while. Alesmith makes really great beer but I never got around to try this one. No longer though. I was able to find this one to give it a try and do a review. Grand Cru is sometimes a complex type that doesn’t really fall into a particular style other than some type of Belgian beer that is really awesome. I’ve considered some of the Grand Crus I have tried in the best as very Epic, this one is no different. In fact, it rates outstanding to world class in some of the beer rating websites.

Aromas a complex conundrum of good stuff. Dark fruits like figs, raisins, plums, wine grapes, cherries, raspberries, Dulce de leche caramel on rye toast, dates, vanilla, somewhat bourbon vanilla character, chocolate, coconut, pecan and hazelnut pie, cloves, bananas in caramel, toffee, butterscotch, candi sugars, brown sugar, apples and apricots.

Flavors are simply phenomenal! Lots or dulce de leche caramel, pecan and hazel nut pie covered in vanilla cream, chocolate Almond Joy with coconut, figs, raisins, plums, slight wine grape notes, dark cherries, raspberries, dates, caramel covered bananas, toffee, biscuit bread, phenols, clove spices, nutmeg, apples, peaches, candi sugar and butterscotch

This beer is kind of crazy as it reminds me a bit of the St. Bernardus and to some extent, hints of the Westy 12. The beer has definitely has a lot going for it. It is a little boozy but that is quite fine as the bready caramel and rich fruits cover that all up nicely. This is a great beer and many Belgian beer lovers will love this one. Alesmith, very well done.

*I Love sweet and Complex beers, this one put it over just a bit. This is my highest rating for a Grand Cru so far