Ballast Point Brewing Company’s “Sculpin IPA”

January 29, 2013

Y’all will have to excuse me for a second. I tend to get a little giddy when new breweries become available in our little slice of the world, especially when those breweries are making nothing but highly-rated beverages. Thanks to Ballast Point Brewing out of San Diego, I’m a little verklempt right now. Talk amongst yourselves.

Ballast Point is pulling high ratings for such a, relatively, young brewery. Across the board, it seems as if everyone loves their beer. It’s a nice reputation to have, especially in the highly competitive market that is craft beer. Very few breweries can take pride in knowing that they’re all that and the proverbial bag of salty fried potato slices.

They started out as a home brewers’ supply store in 1992 when founder Jack White decided to take his love of making his own beer commercial. Everyone deserves a local resource for the essential ingredients in home brewing, right? Home Brew Mart, as it was called, became a gathering point for Southern Californians to share their enthusiasm. It was in this time Jack met a fella by the name of Yuseff Cherney.

Yuseff is an avid fisherman. When he and Jack made the move from amateur to pro, they reasoned that their product should reflect their innate passions: beer and fishing. It makes sense; most fishermen I’ve ever met marry the two pastimes anyway. Luckily, it proved to be more than shtick or gimmick. Ballast Point’s beer is legit.

The brewery’s been running since 1996 and can now be found in at least 13 states and as far away as Denmark and Japan. They’re even getting into the distilling game with Yuseff serving as lead distiller, too. While I’d dearly like to try their Three Sheets Rum or Fugu Vodka (cue Homer Simpson shouting for the deadly puffer fish liver!), it’s a different type of venomous fish I’m after.

Sculpin IPA is named after the Scorpaeniformes Cottoidea whose spines deliver a painful sting. Unlike the eponymous salt water fish, however, Sculpin causes nothing but pleasure to the palate. Its color is pretty apricot orange with a great pillowy head that sticks around for a long time thanks to abundant hop oil and carbonation. Terrific scents of lemon, grapefruit, pine, peach and mango more than do the hops justice. Loads of bright citrus mingle with tropical fruit flavors building up through the malt backbone and finishing with an intense but not overpowering bitterness.

A testament to the brewers whose inspiration was drawn from the sea, Sculpin’s bite won’t hurt you too much at a respectable 7% ABV. Welcome to our waters, Ballast Point. Happy fishing!