It hasn’t always been the easiest of relationships, SPEAKEASY and me. By all rights I should be a hootin’ hometowner about their beers, seeing as we’re both from San Francisco and all, but in my book you’ve gotta earn it. And Speakeasy just hasn’t done it to date, what with their mostly-barely-passable beers. Sure, I’ve always loved their packaging – I mean just look at the eyes on the top of this bottle pictured to the left – but any knucklehead with an advanced graphic design degree can do that, am I right? No, it’s all been a bit of teeth-clenching vis-à-vis the Speakeasy gang here at Beer Samizdat headquarters. Until now.
BETRAYAL is their brand-new, limited-run imperial red ale. It comes, as I said, in a beautiful bottle with a prohibition scene that is the brewery’s graphical stock in trade. The beer is packed to the gills with strong, juicy red malts and a low-to-medium hop bite. When I think of a hoppy red ale, a la Lagunitas Imperial Red, Oskar Blues Gordon or La Jolla Brew House Odin, I think I know what I’m going to be smellin’ – rich, chestnut-y malts, hop aromas and a hint of spice that you get when you go for a big whiff. BETRAYAL has it all in spades, and pours a deep ruby brown color that accentuates its other positives. Hops even grew stronger as it warmed. Oh yeah. Speakeasy’s finally got their mojo on, and I couldn’t be happier. 8/10.