Friday, May 18, 2012

Ballast Point Tasting

Happy American Craft Beer Week!  

This is THE week to drink local beer and praise brewers for all their hard work.  This Monday the Golden Gopher Beer Society was host to Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits from San Diego.  We sampled a ton of beers!  Aside from their classics like the Pale Ale, Big Eye IPA, and the Calico Amber, they brought along some specialty high-flavor brews. Here are two of my faves:

San Salvador
Saison Farmhouse Ale
7.5% ABV

Brewed with local white sage, curacao, and elderflower, this Saison is a pleasant balance of malt and earthy grassiness.  It reminded me of Bootlegger's Chocolate Mint porter, the herbs giving a fresh aroma and a tingly mouth feel.

Tongue Buckler
Imperial Red Ale
10% ABV
107 IBU

Man, oh man.  I am in love with Imperial Styles.  They pack a punch, and the Tongue Buckler is no exception.   A fruity, malty explosion with a serious resiny hop backbone.  I swear to you, to me it smelled like Haribo Gummi Bears. Yum!

So what's the deal with Imperial Styles?  

Think high.  Brewers bump up the hops for high bitterness, but then round it out with more malts, making it high alcohol (whee!) with a ton of flavor.  What's an IBU?  It's an International Bittering Unit, or a measure of the bitterness in beer, a scale from 0 to 100.  The next time you find yourself in the beer section at the liquor store, keep that in mind when you want to try a new IPA.  A great super bitter ale is Moylan's Hopsicle Imperial Ale, or Green Flash Palate Wrecker, both with 100+ IBUs.

Ballast Point Brewing is a mere 16 years old, growing from its origins at Home Brew Mart (built in 1992), and has taken the San Diego beer community by storm.   Ballast Point is available in many pockets of the country: Boston, New York City, and of course San Francisco, L.A., even internationally in Japan and the Philippines.  Come to the Golden Gopher for a few pints of Sculpin or Wahoo Wheat, and take home some bottles from 8th Street Bottle Shop.  Many thanks to Sales Reps Matt Wilson and Laura Slayter for leading the tasting.


Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits
10051 Old Grove Road
San Diego, CA 92131

"Real beer lovers, making real good beer." 

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