Beer Wednesday: Prohibition Ale, Big Daddy IPA, and Payback Porter by Speakeasy

Recently I've had three different beers by Speakeasy Ales & Lagers brewing company (by the way, their website is, how cool is that?) and I have enjoyed them all. They were the Prohibition Ale, the Big Daddy IPA, and the Payback Porter.

It's fun to have multiple beers from the same brewer. It helps you get a feel for when a brewery has a distinctive style, like Alaskan Brewing and Russian River do. Speakeasy has their own style for sure. I would describe it as well balanced with a smooth hoppiness. Does that make sense?

The hops are present in the flavors of every beer, but whereas hoppy beers sometimes get too sharp or bitter, Speakeasy's hops are always smooth. The beers are also well balanced and stay delicious from the start, on the mid palate, and through the finish. I find them to be complex while still being very drinkable.

For instance, the Prohibition Ale has a slight malty flavor and a freshness that I like, while having much more hops than I'm used to in a typical amber ale. Typically hops in my ale turn me off, but in the case of the Prohibition Ale I like it. As you can tell from the two reviews I linked, it appears pretty popular in general. I got it for $6.99 for a six pack and it was well worth it.

We have talked about the Big Daddy IPA at length in our IPA tasting recap, so I won't belabor it. I'd say it represents Speakeasy's style very well and I recommend it particularly to people who don't normally like IPAs. (Aside: I think the ratebeer score of the Big Daddy IPA is interesting and summarizes this beer pretty well... IPA fans might not find it in their wheelhouse, but fans of other styles may enjoy it.)

I had the Payback Porter most recently and I really liked it. I really enjoy porters and I've never had one quite like the Payback... it has a very good balance of hops and malt flavors that keeps the balance, the smoothness, and the hops of Speakeasy's trademark style while adding typical (but delicious) porter flavors like chocolate and especially toffee. I think it was $3 or $4 for a 330mL bottle and I recommend it to any beer fan who wants to try a different take on a porter, or to anyone who has had a Speakeasy beer and likes their style.

Have you had any Speakeasy beers, and if so what did you think?


  1. I've had the prohibition ale a time or two - not bad! May have to try the Payback.
    Driving down the 5 this weekend; we should arrange a meet-up this summer - since we'll be neighbors and all!

  2. Ya Santa Monica meet up! Hey maybe we can taste some beer or wine and do a joint write up too.

    Enjoy the drive!

  3. By the way Scott, thanks for posting a tweet saying it was Aaron who wrote the 3 reviews. I get no respect, no respect I tell ya.

  4. I couldn't tell if Royce was informing me via Tweet or giving me credit.

  5. Follow up on Speakeasy, I had their Double Daddy double IPA over the weekend and was not nearly as impressed with it as I was with their other beers. Granted I'm not a huge IPA fan, but this had the overbearing, acidic, hoppy style of the really heavy double IPAs without having the balance and nice mouth feel of the best IPAs like the Stone Ruination, which I like in spite of the style.

    It has the characteristics of most imperial IPAs, and the flavor is nice and fruity (although too much hops for me, as usual). Unfortunately the transition from the flavor on that initial taste to the mid-palate wasn't very pleasant for me. The finish also left a hoppy and bitter taste in my mouth, the opposite of smooth.

    I can appreciate what it's going for, but it's not my style at all. Aaron if you ever have the Double Daddy I'm curious to hear what you think.

  6. Another Speakeasy follow up - I had their White Lightning white ale over the weekend and found it lacking. It lacked balance and its flavors were a little too rich for a white ale on my palate. Needed some light, crisp components to help balance it out a little.