Monday, April 16, 2012

Sculpin IPA – Ballast Point Brewing Company

So, I am out in Santa Clara California this week and thought that while I was out here I would love to find some Pliny the Elder, so I went to the only liquor store within 30 miles that actually carries the stuff and was informed that they were out of it.  Apparently Pliny the Elder is so popular that they sell out the same day that the distributor drops off the shipment.  Fortunately the clerk at the liquor store was very helpful and pointed out an IPA that he highly recommended and suggested might be even better than Pliny the Elder.  I guess I am going to take his word for it since I don’t have any Pliny to compare it to, but the beer that he recommended was Scuplin IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego, CA.  Apparently Ballast Point started out as a home brew shop called the Home Brew Mart, and the owners decided in 1996 to branch out and open a brewery and distillery as well.

On Ratebeer, Sculpin has a 100 for style and a 100 overall.  On Beeradvocate it has a 98.  So, the ratings are definitely high and on the same level as Pliny the Elder, are they warranted?

From the bottle, they say:
People simply cannot get enough of Scalpin – a deceptively light bodied, yet very hoppy IPA that is brimming with bright apricot, peach, mango and lemon flavors which are imparted by the skillful use of a variety of hops.

The Sculpin is a testament to our humble beginnings as Home Brew Mart. It showcases bright flavors and aromas of apricot, peach, mango & lemon. The lighter body also brings out the crispness of the hops.

This delicious Ballast Point Ale won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup 2010 in the International Pale Ale category. The Sculpin fish has poisonous spikes on it’s fins that can give a strong sting.

Ironically, the meat from a Sculpin is considered some of the tastiest. Something that has a sting but tastes great, sounds like a Ballast Point India Pale Ale. 
Alc. by Vol.
7 %
Serving Temperature
40-45 degrees

I say:

                Ballast Point Scuplin pours golden with a very creamy white head that has excellent retention.  I was very impressed with the creamy head and that the head remained full and creamy throughout the entire glass.  It appears to be extremely carbonated and bubbly, like a glass of champagne.

                There are tons of fruity esters, mostly peaches, mangos and apricots.  It is definitely a very pleasant, unique and refreshing hoppy aroma, and unusual compared to the citrusy and piney hops that are so common in American IPAs.

                The flavor is very smooth, and betrays no notes of the hidden 7% ABV.  There are distinct peach, mango and apricot notes with a lemony finish.  This is definitely a very refreshing IPA with a very low bitterness, that seems uncommon in the style.  It was however entered into the World Beer Cup as a Pale Ale, which it most certainly is closer to.

                This is an excellent beer, I don’t know how it compares to a Pliny the Elder because I have yet to try it, but Scuplin IPA is definitely an excellent beer that I thoroughly enjoyed and would happily drink again if I could find it in Wisconsin!

That's all for tonight.. Stay tuned tomorrow for a review of the Fault Line Brewing Company in Sunnyvale, CA.

Happy Drinking!

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