It all began in 2014
When Tony Gwynn, now otherwise known as “Mr. Padre,” was introduced to AleSmith Owners, Peter and Vicky Zien, after expressing interest in crafting his own beer to a mutual friend. The process of crafting a beer was kicked off at the Gwynn’s home with an informal AleSmith beer tasting, and the Ziens and Gwynns enjoyed getting to know each other. Integrity of brand and crafting a beer of the highest quality were discussed, and Tony shared that he wanted the beer to be “light with a kick”.
They worked together to hone a brew that comprised a flavorful, malty profile showcasing a tropical fruit and citrus-forward hop character, and slight caramel sweetness to add complexity and balance. The Gwynn family was enlisted to provide feedback on each test batch, and the resounding winner was a golden pale ale full of American hop flavor and aroma, balanced with subdued bitterness and a malty sweet finish. Named in honor of Tony’s record-setting, single-season batting average, San Diego Pale Ale .394 has since won the hearts of craft beer fans near and far.
After a four-year battle with cancer, Tony passed away on June 16, 2014- just 10 days after the official release of his dream beer at the Padres Brewfest. His daughter, Anisha Gwynn, shared that he spoke proudly of how the beer had been received by the festival goers. The collaborative gift of .394 Pale Ale to the San Diego craft beer community marked one of Tony’s final projects prior to his passing. The AleSmith team mourned with Tony’s family over the loss of the city’s beloved baseball legend, and out of respect, awaited their decision on the future of Tony’s signature beer.