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Ballast Point Sculpin IPA

May 13, 2011

Ballast Point, like many good breweries, has that wonderful story of beer-tasting and self-exploration that lead to the birth of a pretty good brewery. I personally didn’t know of their existence until I stumbled in to Barcade’s West Coast Beer Night expecting to drink some Rogue, or Sierra Nevada, or maybe even something from the Bruery. Instead, I find that these guys had taken over at least a third if not half the taps, barely leaving room for the two or so other lesser known west coast breweries present to muscle in. Needless to say, I found that their claim to however many taps they held was quite justified as I drank several delicious brews that night. Of course, a weekend after west coast beer night I had yet to see Ballast Point tapped again.

This is why you can understand my excitement, when I read Barcade’s tweet that they had just tapped the Sculpin last evening. I was of course somewhat saddened when I found out that though it was apparently an award-winning beer it was an IPA and as previous posts have suggested I am not a big hop fan. Still when someone suggested it to me on the ground that, “Who cares about the hops. It tastes like mangoes, it smacks of mango.” I knew that I had to go for it, probably because my love for mangoes is only beaten out by the subcontinent of India’s.

What the bartender sat before me was a clear orange beer with a clean white head. The beer had an aroma that I can only describe as hops and cream, which I imagine is some sort of popsicle that only exists in the dreams of IPA brewers. That first sip provided a well balanced mixture of spicy hops, citrus flavors like orange and lemon, and then a surprisingly crisp mango aftertaste. As I tried the nose trick on the tropical paradise that was this beer in my mouth, I found that it accentuated the hop and mango notes more than anything. The beer had a bit of watery mouthfeel which was balanced out by the fact that it lets you drink it smoothly and easily. Finally, the largest downside of this brew is as it warms over a session, the hops start to overwhelm the other flavors. This leaves you with more of a standard hoppy IPA flavor rather than the fruity flavor explosion that you get when it’s freshly poured. Still, this is definitely one of the better IPAs I’ve had in my beer drinking experience.


From → Beer

One Comment
  1. The Wookie permalink

    This is one of my favorite beers. I had a chance to try a special release of it during Philly Beer Week in 2010 and it was love at first sip. I will agree that the temperature of this one has to be right to take the edge off the powerful hoppy flavor and let the subtle flavor notes come through.

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