Brew Review

Beer Review – Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA

Speakeasy Big Daddy IPA

San Francisco. It’s been on my short list of places to visit for quite some time, but for whatever reason, I just haven’t made it there yet. The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf, and numerous other sites are all on my “things to do in San Francisco” list, but what really intrigues me are the multitudes of food and drink experiences that I simply must try. I’ll blame TV shows like Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover for this. Show me enough bars and restaurants serving tantalizing drinks and mouth watering food, and I’m gonna want to go there. And if you’re a city that is home to two of my favorite breweries, i.e. Anchor Brewing Company and 21st Amendment, then the sooner I get there the better!

Speakeasy Ales & Lagers is yet another brewery that is located in San Francisco (they’ve been brewing in San Fran since 1997). I’m not exactly sure when they first hit the shelves in South Jersey, but after hearing mostly good things about them over the interwebs, and after seeing their very cool label art, I decided to pick up a few of their beers to see what all the fuss is about. Here’s hoping that Speakeasy is yet another reason for me to visit San Fran in the not too distant future!

Before we get to my review, here are a few words about the Big Daddy IPA taken directly from the Speakeasy website:

No lightweight, Big Daddy IPA tips the scales with a huge hop flavor and a clean, dry finish that leaves the scene without a trace.

And now for my impressions of this beer…

  • Appearance: Clear, pale orange color with soft, off white foam that peaks at about an inch and then dissipates fairly rapidly, leaving some light lacing behind.
  • Aroma: A much more subtle nose than I’m used to these days. Light citrusy notes of orange zest and pink grapefruit coupled with some honey and lightly toasted biscuit scents.
  • Taste: Light to medium carbonation with some fizzy bubbles that tickle your tongue. The flavors are fairly consistent from start to finish. The mildly bitter hops and sweet malts are definitely working together. As you approach the middle, the bitterness builds up a bit, but it never gets overwhelming. The finish is crisp and clean with a slight lingering bitterness that I find very appealing.
  • ABV: 6.5%

Here we go again! Yet another superb IPA to add to my Craft Beer drinking repertoire. This is my first experience with a Speakeasy beer, and if their other stuff is as good as this one, then there are definitely good times ahead. Overall, I found this to be a lightly hoppy and easy drinking IPA that reminded me (if my memory serves me correctly) of the Three Floyds Zombie Dust and Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA. Not a mind blowing IPA, but definitely one worth trying. I’ll be seeking this out again.

4 replies »

  1. Ah.. San Francisco. A spectacular city in so many ways. Only weakness I’ve personally experienced there is the quality and capability of their muggers. One selected me as what he thought would make a fine victim circa March 1987 only to find that I was then only a few years seperated from my otherwise misguided boxing days at Syracuse. Suffice it say he wasn’t in any condition to think about mugging anyone the rest of that night.

    So aside from the poor quality of muggers, its a great place. I’m sorry I haven’t been there recently and even sorrier that I’ve never been to Toronado or any of the breweries, including the Speakeasy Tap Room. I have; however, visited The Foodery in Center City Philly where I first encountered Speakeasy brews during a detour from the Car Show in 2004. I was there in search of Stone Ruination (before they distributed to NJ) and just a few feet away I noticed Big Daddy, Double Daddy, and Prohibition Ale. Of course I was compelled to pick them up to add to the 2 huge bags that I had to haul back to a pre-arranged rendezvous at the Reading Terminal Market. Suffice it to say I loved all 3 of the Speakeasy brews but aside from occasionally picking up another at The Foodery or Beer Heaven, I hadn’t had or seen them until they began to appear in NJ a few months ago.

    I’d put them on par with some of the other top notch West Coast (CA) craft brewers. Their Payback Smoked Porter is excellent and even the Scarlett amber is well done (not a Stone Levitation but still quite nice). Glad they’re available on this side of the Delaware because sooner or later all of those bridges are going to go the way of that one from the Mothman Prophecy in West Va.

    Who’s up for a friendly game of stickball?


    oh – and that may be a Top 10 G-Lotograph…


  2. Nice review. I suspect this would be an IPA more in my wheelhouse (hot quite a hop bomb but hoppy enough). Of course, with the bottle art, I would buy it anyway.

    As respects San Fran, it is a great town with lots food and beverages. My Benevolent and I went there for our 1st anniversary and it stands out all these years later as one of our best trips (at least to me). You would love Sausalito as well!


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