San Diego, California’s Ballast Point Brewing just arrived in Oregon and Washington in June of 2013. Because I’d heard rumors they were coming to Oregon, I made an express point to try their beers while I was in San Diego in April and was happy to find that the quality of the beers matched the hype. I was excited for their arrival. While they have been brewing since 1996 and have expanded into several other states, they just made the decision to expand into the tough Pacific Northwest market. For many beer fans in the the Northwest, this means one thing: Sculpin IPA.
While Ballast Point is bringing a wide variety of beers into Oregon and Washington, Sculpin has become a highly sought after cult status IPA nearly in the vein of Russian River Pliny the Elder and The Alchemist’s Heady Topper. Fortunately for Hop fans, this beer is more available than either of the other two.
Appearance: Burnished gold with an off-white head. Solid head retention.
Aroma: Slightly dank hops, citrus, pine, grapefruit peel, orange, apricots.
Taste: Long, hoppy finish but without the overly aggressive bitterness. Slightly sweet balance added by the malt and a touch of hop sweetness. Finish leaves a slightly sticky feeling.
Overall Impression: This is a very hop forward IPA. While it is extremely hoppy, it’s not overly bitter. It’s a highly satisfying IPA. The hops are bright and flavorful with a good level of complexity and depth. There’s a reason this beer is compared to Pliny; it’s got a lot of similar hop characteristics. The 7% ABV also makes this one more on the “drinkable” side. This is a versatile beer. Hop heads will love its bold hoppy flavor while people who aren’t as into IPAs can enjoy this balanced and flavorful interpretation. This is definitely a must try beer.
Availability: California, Oregon, Washington, and various other states through out the US.
Notes: Best by date of 10/25/13