Tag Archives: Ballast Point

Ballast Point bash

If you missed out on the recent batch of Sculpin IPA, you have another chance to get it. Its brewer, Ballast Point, is having its 12th anniversary party Oct. 25 and I’ve been told they will have kegs of all the specialty beers they’ve made this year, including Sculpin as well as Schooner, their tasty wet hop ale.

This year’s party is at a new location, Liberty Station on Point Loma. And while there will be more than enough great Ballast Point brews to make the fest worthwhile, this year’s edition is also for the first time featuring other brewers. The list of those brewers is below. Details on the event can be found at the Ballast Point Web site.

Alesmith Brewing Co.
Alpine Brewing Co.
Backstreet Brewery
Brew House
Coronado Brewing Co.
Firehouse Brewing Co.
Gordon Biersch Brewery
Green Flash Brewing Co.
Karl Strauss Brewing Co.
La Jolla Brewhouse
Lightning Brewery
Mission Brewery
Oceanside Aleworks
Oggi’s Pizza & Brewing Co.
Pacific Beach Ale House
Pizza Port/Port Brewing
Rock Bottom Brewery
San Diego Brewing Co.
San Marcos Brewery & Grill
Stone Brewing Co.


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Sculpin release date announced

I recently posted the very good news that Ballast Point is making more Sculpin IPA. Now I’ve got the release date information, via the Ballast Point blog. I was under the impression it would only be available in growler fills, but apparently they’ve bottled some as well. (They’ve also upped the per-bottle price by two bucks over the last time.)

Anyway, here’s the info:

Ballast Point Brewing is proud to announce the release of our world famous Sculpin IPA in 22oz bottles and on draft.  Beginning Saturday 9/13 10am at our brewery in Scripps Ranch only and on Sunday 9/14 12pm at our Linda Vista location.  This beer will only be made available at our two brewery locations, not anywhere else, so come visit us.  As always, supply is extremely limited, so be sure to get here soon.  When it’s gone, it’s gone until we’re not sure when.  Thanks to all of San Diego for their continuing support of good beer and of Ballast Point.  See you this weekend.  Cheers!
22oz – $7.99 (limit 12; no case discount)  1/2gal growler fill – $20.

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Slow ride

The other night Mrs. Beer & Burritos and I popped in to The Linkery in North Park and found one of the more unusual beer lists around, along with perhaps the highest beer prices I’ve ever seen.

The Linkery is a different kind of place. It does the whole slow food thing, for one. It also has an unusual tipping policy where they automatically add 18 percent to your bill whether you want them to or not, and if you want to tip more than that, it goes to charity.

We didn’t eat there so I can’t comment on the food, but we did drink. The place has six taps and when we were there, two were devoted to Ballast Point Sea Monster Stout — one regular, one cask-conditioned. The other taps featured Alesmith Nautical Nut Brown, Trumer Pils, Green Flash Trippel and another Belgian-style brew. No pale ales were available, Indian or otherwise. The draft beers are sold in 5-, 10- and 15-ounce glasses, with the large glass going for about $7.50 for most brews. That’s at least $3 more than you’d pay for 16 ounces of the same thing at most beer bars around town.

Then there was their bottle list, which had some nice selections at amazingly high prices. A bottle of Alesmith IPA, which goes for about $4 at your average bottle shop, was available for $13.50. A bottle of Alesmith Speedway Stout, which costs $10 at a store, was available for $23. A bottle of barrel-aged Speedway Stout, admittedly a rarity, could be had for $38. A relative bargain was the excellent and pretty hard to find 2006 Alesmith Winter Yulesmith, which was available for $12.50. Why a bottle of two-year-old, limited-edition beer costs $1 less than a bottle of brand new, commonly available Alesmith IPA makes no sense to me.

We had a couple draft beers and a bottle of the 2006 Yulesmith and they all were good. One problem, though, was that the service was very slow. With each round we sat with empty glasses for several minutes before we were able to catch a bartender’s attention. I understand slow food, but slow beer? Getting the check took a bit of time and effort as well. I have to wonder if the poor service is a result of the automatic tipping policy.

It’s cool that The Linkery is trying to do something different, but I won’t go back unless I have a lot of extra time (and money) to spend.

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Sculpin to resurface!

OK, so I don’t usually have exclamation points in headlines here, but then again, I don’t usually get to say that one of my favorite beers is on its way back.

Ballast Point recently announced on its MySpace blog that it is fixing to brew some more Sculpin IPA. This is great news because Sculpin is a great beer. The fish it’s named after might sting you, but the beer will treat you just fine.

Ballast Point bottled the Sculpin IPA for the first time ever earlier this year, and it was a treat to be able to drink it at home. It sold out fast, though, so if you see it on any store shelves in the coming months, I’d recommend snapping some up.


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Stone 12th Anniversary = kinda disappointing

OK, so I mentioned the other day that I was pretty excited about going to the Stone 12th Anniversary Celebration that was held last weekend. But you know, it ended up being rather disappointing.

First, it was too crowded. It seemed like every one of the 40-plus beer lines was either long or super long. Getting from one line to another meant pushing through throngs of people, too.

Second, the breweries didn’t post their offerings anywhere, so you had to either wait in a long line or push your way through the crowd and go up to the front of the line to find out what they had.

Third, with few exceptions (notably the Bruery, which had some great offerings), the breweries didn’t bring very interesting beers. You’d find more special brews at O’Brien’s or the Tap Room almost any night of the week. Case in point: Ballast Point, which makes a lot of specialty beers, had only their widely available Yellowtail Pale Ale and Big Eye IPA on hand.

Add to all this that the taster glasses have shrunk down from 6 ounces in the past to 4 ounces this year, that every tent was vigilant about taking your taster ticket (meaning there were no bonus pours) and that they no longer sell extra tasting tickets and it adds up to a rather unsatisfying beer experience.

And we won’t even complain about the things we knew going in — that the fest was in San Marcos, which is a haul, and that it was very hot in the sun.

Stone Brewing CEO Greg Koch has said that they will make some changes for next year and possibly sell fewer tickets. Here’s hoping he follows through on that.


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How to taste beer

You might think beer-tasting is as simple as putting it in your mouth, gulping it down and saying, “Delicious!” You would be wrong.

The following is excerpted from info provided by the good people at Ballast Point and offers a guide to beer-tasting the, ahem, proper way. You can get the long version at the Ballast Point Brewery Web site.



Here are some points to keep in mind if you are getting set to do any kind of serious beer tasting.

Baby your taste buds. The taste buds and aroma receptors are complicated instruments that need to be in prime condition to properly identify the myriad flavors in beer. Spicy, acidic, or thermally hot foods and beverages can all do temporary damage to your taste buds. Smoking will also deaden the taste buds. Optimally, you should guard your taste buds carefully for a full day before you plan on tasting.

Similar precautions should be taken to maximize your olfactory capabilities. Aftershave, cologne or perfume will interfere with your ability to detect subtle aromas. And if you have a head cold, it is advisable to forego the tasting session.

Pour the beer properly. Pour the beer down the side of a glass held at an angle, taking care not to disturb the yeast cake in the bottle. Gradually rotate the glass to an upright position and finish in the center of the glass. These steps will ensure sufficient, but not excessive, head foam — usually one to two inches.

Check the initial aroma. Immediately sniff the beer upon pouring because many aromatics will dissipate quickly. Just a couple of normal sniffs will suffice.

Check the beer’s steady-state aroma. Sniff the beer again, noting any components that have appeared or disappeared. The aroma will generally be less lively, but the background malt and hop character should be perceptible.

Now you get to taste the beer. Take a small sip and note the initial, intermediate and final tastes. Most beers have an initial maltiness that carries throughout the flavor until it is attenuated to different extents by the hop bitterness. Flavors that result from esters, hops, and aromatic compounds will generally be perceived in the middle of the flavor, while the aftertaste will be the sensation that lingers in your mouth. Be sure to swallow the beer to allow the hop alpha-acids to flow across the bitterness receptors on the back of the tongue. Take another sip, swishing the beer through your mouth to evaluate the temperature, carbonation, viscosity, and alcoholic warmth. One or more additional sips may be required to identify subtle flavors, but most beers can usually be properly identified by imbibing two to three ounces.

Evaluate the style. Reflect upon the beer, considering its positive and negative flavors and how close the beer matches the style and/or your expectations. In beer and wine tasting, the overall impression is often more or less than the sum of the parts, but in any case, a good tasting experience should make you want another.

Cleanse your palate. In most tastings, water, unsalted crackers, and/or bread are usually available to help absorb and rinse flavors in between beers. Keep in mind, however, that this introduces different chemicals into the mouth, which may in turn affect the next beer. Any solids should be thoroughly rinsed with water before you proceed to the next beer.


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