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Ballast Point Sculpin India Pale Ale

Ballast Point Sculpin India Pale Ale
Erin Petrey

Ballast Point Sculpin India Pale Ale

ABV: 7%

IBU: 70

My usual process of discovering a new beer to review generally involves perusing through the beer aisles of my favorite stores and picking out new, interesting brews (confession: I’m a sucker for fancy labels). I also tend to gravitate toward more local brands (which for me is the DMV area). Tonight, however, was an exception. My roommate, who has not yet developed the taste for beer (the cause is not yet lost! I will be victorious!), picked up a bottle of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA out of San Diego, CA from the Whole Foods shelf and brought it home. Another confession: I had already enjoyed a glass of red wine before delving into the Sculpin. Though I doubt this ruined my palate, I feel full-disclosure is called for.

This IPA pours a nice, frothy  head and gives off a mild hops aroma. The first swig is fairly easy, with a notable punch of lightly juicy fruit at the end (like a stone fruit). Once you take a few sips, the full hoppiness really comes to the fore, accompanied by a stronger taste of lemon and grapefruit. Once the fruit dissipates, your palate is left with a strong taste of hops that lingers long after the beer has gone.

Sculpin is not an in-your-face IPA (which is honestly what I prefer) but it is very drinkable. It paired well with the Drunken Noodles I ordered in for dinner. Sculpin does, however, live up to its namesake, as Ballast Point describes: “The Sculpin fish has poisonous spikes on its 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 […].” I agree that the intense hops at the finish do sting a bit (in a good way), but the flavor isn’t one that is so unique; I’d like to see a Fugu IPA. Now THAT would be an interesting beer: “A delicate, highly sought after beer…but drinking it is like spinning the chamber in Russian Roulette.” I’m sure the FDA would not be thrilled.

This is a perfect day drinking IPA, as it is light but presents plenty of hops, and rings in at 7% ABV. And of course, I give the label a nod of approval, because that is one snazzy looking fish.

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