The co-owners of AleSmith Brewing Co. are passionate about beer — and each other. Visiting this Miramar brewery, PACIFIC interrupted Peter and Vicky Zien’s lovefest with a few romantic questions.
PACIFIC: A lot of couples have “meet-cute” stories. Does yours involve beer?
PETER ZIEN: You know that it would! Vicky was an officer in the San Diego Beer Club and I was pouring AleSmith samples at the Green Flash Anniversary Festival in 2008. During a break, I approached Vicky and a friend and chatted them up. She was shy and super complimentary about AleSmith. I had a strong feeling that our paths would cross again and they did: our first official date was at The Cheeky Monk in Denver. Both of us were attending The Great American Beer Festival, me representing AleSmith and Vicky as a beer fan.
Some ask Vicky if I got her into beer and the answer is always no. Vicky has been homebrewing since 1995, a BJCP (Beer Judge Certification Program) Beer Judge and the founder of the homebrew club, Mash Heads. She is currently the COO/Co-Owner of AleSmith.
Do any beers describe your courtship?
PETER: Old Numbskull American-Style Barley Wine. I was very impressed to find out that this 11% strong ale was Vicky’s favorite AleSmith beer. It’s still our “go-to” when celebrating any event.
How about your marriage?
VICKY ZIEN: Decadence 2005 English-Style Old Ale. Besides being one of our favorite AleSmith beers, we toasted our wedding in Hawaii with the Barrel-Aged version. Bottle No. 1, of course.
Beer is sometimes portrayed as a macho, frat house beverage. But have you found that certain beers match the moods of love?
VICKY: AleSmith’s Belgian-style offerings carry a certain romance: Lil’ Devil when we’re up for some innocent fun, Grand Cru is saved for romantic dinners for two in front of the fire, and Horny Devil for… uhmm, perhaps we move on to the next question!
AleSmith’s unique beers include My Bloody Valentine. What was the inspiration behind that beer?
PETER: We designed this beer for “Single Awareness Day (SAD)” for all of the singles out there to enjoy on the most romantic day of the year. The majority of the AleSmith team members, including myself, were single at the time, so we had a lot of fun with this one.
Can you — each of you! — describe your mate in beer terms?
VICKY: Sweet and earthy, and not bitter. Complex, although a little nuttiness is perceived. Warming at the core, yet hot overall. A world-renowned offering that is amazingly delicious!
PETER: Breathtakingly beautiful appearance with a solid head, very sweet but balanced, absolutely no bitterness and a very firm body. Enticing aroma and a complex, effervescent character. I absolutely love this one!