A Visit to the Gorgeous Ballast Point Facility in Miramar
Last month, on a quick trip to San Diego with a couple of other guys, we visited over a dozen breweries in the matter of two days. We started off day two of the trip by going to the Ballast Point facility in Miramar. Having opened within the past year, it is such a gorgeous facility!
Since we were on a beer-drinking mission, we decided to get beers that we hadn’t had the day before when we visited their Scripps Ranch location. The bartender proceeded to bring out all of the beers – in lovely Ballast Point-branded tulip glasses. While this might typically lead to confusion as to which beer is which, each glass came ringed with a paper, upon which was the name of each beer written on it. Wow – that was so helpful to our experience and identifying which beer was which.
We started off with the Thai Chili Wahoo White (4.5 % ABV), a peppery white beer. While I’m not a fan of wheat beers, typically, the addition of limes and fresh ginger root are welcome and definitely exciting with the thai chiles with it. Next up was the Pale Ale (5.2 % ABV), a kölsch style, which was decent. Following that was the Longfin Lager (4.5 % ABV), a helles style lager, which seemed somewhat atypical of a lager, as it had a cerealness to it – corn and bready.
We then moved on to some hoppy action, beginning with the Even Keel Session IPA (3.8% ABV), a session IPA, which was lightly-bodied with citrus hops; pleasant, but not overstated dankyness. It seemed that it would be tasty and good for the summer. By the way, something seemed off with the beer; it turns out there was an issue with the line, which they fixed and they got us another one, which was significantly better. Next up was the Fathom IPL (7% ABV), an IPL, which didn’t seem to have a lot of aroma; it was also big-bodied.
Following that we got the very special Sculpin IPA (7% ABV), an IPA. However, I had had it before and enjoyed it, but for some reason, it tasted off. Well, apparently, it was off; we sent it back, they fixed the line, then we got another glass. This time, it tasted right. And it is really gorgeous! With its big grapefruit nose and citrus and piney notes, it’s gorgeously awesome throughout, even its clean and crisp finish. Wow. As one of my drinking buddies pointed out, “the malt stepped out of the way and let the hops shine.”
Then we had the Big Eye IPA (7% ABV), an IPA, which had a very pleasant hoppiness, yielding pineyness and citrus notes. Next up was the Tongue Buckler Imperial Red (10% ABV), an imperial red, which was pleasant; its bitter, yet malty backbone provides for a solid balance with its hoppiness. We then had the Homework Series #5 (6.7% ABV), a Belgian-style pale ale, which was so delicious and calm. It was hoppy, yet smooth and with nice light fruits (maybe peaches, white wine-y), and round and soft.
We then had Sextant Oatmeal Stout on Nitro (6% ABV), a stout, which was smooth (well, it was on nitro) and a significant amount of coffeeness. Then we had the Calm Before the Storm (6.2% ABV), a cream ale brewed with Café Calabria coffee and vanilla, which was pleasantly not too heavy, yet creamy, and very delicious. We then had the Pumpkin Down (5.5% ABV), a Piper Down with pumpkin spices, which was really tasty. This beer was not crazy with the pumpkin, but it’s noticeably there, with some cloves, and a malty backbone from the Scottish ale.
While we had enjoyed the beers, our bartender mixed the Pumpkin Down with the Victory at Sea (with a 3 Pumpkin Down to 1 Victory at Sea ratio), which was really nice, with the vanilla, rounded coffee taste of the Victory at Sea, with the pumpkinny Pumpkin Down. It was a nice treat for us, especially to taste what could be done with the various beers offered.
All of the beers served were solid – even the two beers that were not good turned out to have had issues with the lines, which the bartenders promptly fixed, which was great. It seemed also to have helped that they had a lot of taps – it looked like they had three taps of everything. This is even more impressive when one realizes that we refrained from drinking a lot of the beers on-tap, since we had drank them the previous afternoon at another location. It’s a really impressive facility and the beer is great!