Total Score: 7.9/10
I was going to review another beer but Ballast Point with their endless nautical references and their 7% ABV IPA caught my eye (the big one) and you know what? F**k it! Let’s do this (s)hit! Let’s give this highly rated brewer a stab at glory (in my mind – which is another deeply philosophical discussion for another day, but the jist is: I think = I exist). Apparently this beer put West Coast San Diego IPAs on the map… which is in South California, near Mexico (in case you were wondering).
Poured from a 355ml bottle into a nonic pint.
A: Hazy (with yeast sediment floating around doing its thing – making beer awesome) orangey/coppery/amber body with a chunky off-white 1cm head that appropriately reduces to a spider web of lace. 8/10.
S: Harsh San Diego hopping (think K-S Tower 10 IPA) produces an aroma that is 99% hop goodness with notes of: Pine resin, forest floor, earthy and grapefruit hops. A bare glimmer of some sweet caramel malt peeks through the dense hop fog. 8/10.
T: Clever bastards! The bold hopping (both wet and dry) in the aroma covers up a nice dense caramel malt base which balances the aforementioned aggressive San Diegan hops. The hop characters, as expected, are: Pine resin, earthy/forest floor, grapefruit, and a woody/dry note comes through towards the finish. It’s San Diego in a glass, impressive. I didn’t find it all that bitter, but then I’ve wrecked my taste buds with hundreds of IPAs now, and I’m a fairly bitter/cynical person to begin with. 8/10.
M: Medium bodied with a nice (but not Founders nice) carbonation. 7/10.
D: This was a big one for me as a mate did rave on about how good it was, expectations were high, there is a lot to praise about this brew but ultimately if you’re going to compete with the likes of Founders Centennial IPA or Sierra Nevada Torpedo (not to mention the amazing beers that I haven’t tried like Heady Topper), you had better bring the big guns to the table. This is a bazooka to Founders/SN’s 88mm Anti-tank gun… close but not even in the same vicinity. 8/10.
Food match: This piney/earthy brew would be just at home with a Pad Thai as it would with a Recette de Côte de boeuf sauce bordelaise et cèpes en persillade (Prime rib with porcini mushroom and parsley).