Saturday, March 10, 2012
Ballast Point | Sculpin IPA
This next beer up for review is the Sculpin India Pale Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company, based out of San Diego, CA. While I don't know much about Ballast Point Brewing, I have heard plenty of hype about how "world-class" this IPA is. It certainly seems that San Diego is quite a hotbed of IPA brewing super powers though.
Poured into a chalice glass, Sculpin has a translucent pale golden color. The foamy white head piles up nicely at first, but recedes quickly to a moderately thick ring around the glass with some surface foam. While there is some lacing, it's definitely not the full on spider web effect that Stone IPA has.
After a good swirl, the aroma is all hop, not surprising since the beer is so pale. Fruity apricots, citrus, mango, grapefruit, as well as some bittering pine resin, pack a serious punch of hop aroma that is mouthwatering. This is seriously one of those beers that smells so good you wish you could have it as a candle or air freshener.
At first sip, Sculpin actually has a bigger malt presence than I anticipated. While not exactly "malty," there is definitely some sweet malt upfront to lay a bit of a foundation before the onslaught of hop deliciousness. The hop flavor starts out very juicy and sweet with lots of mango, apricot, pineapple, and grapefruit. Bitter and crisp grassy and pine hop finishes it out with a slightly dry finish. Even with all that bold flavor, Sculpin is remarkably light in body, extremely crisp and refreshing. Yes, many of us like our IPA's backed by a serious malt bill, but this one is truly special for packing such a punch, while maintaining the easy drinking mouthfeel of a pilsner. Not an easy feat!
It must be said that at my first sip, I thought this beer was a little watery and not all that special, but about 3 sips in, I realized how wrong I was. Not only is Sculpin IPA worthy of it's position at the top, but it's also just a regular IPA, not a DIPA. And to judge it against other IPA's truly proves how awesome it is. A great showcase of hops.
Personal 9/10 - for the style 9.5/10