803 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road #107, San Marcos
9368 Cabot Drive, Miramar
When I first heard the name “The Bellowsman,” I assumed the Societe Brewing Company beer bearing that handle had been brewed especially for local publican Ivan Derezin. After all, the brew debuted around the same time Derezin was putting the finishing touches on his new North County restaurant, The Bellows, and Societe is known for celebrating local industry figures. Alas, it was mere coincidence. But no need to shed a tear in your beer over the would-be Bellowsman, Derezin eventually got a specialty beer brewed for his new spot: AleSmith The Forge.
A smoked stout, the beer is perfectly suited for the wood-fired oven-centric eatery it was designed for. It also fits nicely with the blacksmith’s anvil logo of Miramar-based brewery AleSmith, for which The Bellows’ executive chef, Schuyler Schultz, served as a culinary consultant before coming to work for Derezin. During that time, Schultz became very close with AleSmith owner and brewmaster Peter Zien, who even penned an introduction and provided a homebrew recipe for inclusion in the chef’s book, Beer, Food and Flavor.
Friendship is the secret ingredient in The Forge, but the more overt components lend a great deal of character as well. Flaked barley makes for a nice, coating mouth feel, while chocolate and peat-smoked Rauch malt lend cocoa-like bitterness that marries with English hops and a light touch of smolder that pairs well with The Bellows’ wood-fired menu options. The beer also presents with a subdued woodiness from partial aging in Heaven Hill bourbon whiskey barrels. At 6.5% alcohol-by-volume, it’s sessionable enough to be enjoyed over a course or two, the ideal consumption scenario for this food-friendly newcomer.