A Visit to Ballast Point Brewing’s Tasting Room in Scripps Ranch
On a recent quick brewery tour in San Diego County, one place my compadres and I knew we had to visit was Ballast Point Brewing. So, we went to their Scripps Ranch facility and tried a bunch of their beers. We skipped their main production and went straight to the limited list, doing three at a time, and also skipped several of even those (there were 17 on that list, we had 12 (we were getting quite drunk at this point in our first day of brewery-hopping,* so we refrained from drinking all 17 of them)).
We started off with the Grunion (5.5% ABV), a hoppy pale ale, which features a danky and fruity nose, with a quick tail that drops off. This beer was quite yummy and awesome. We then tried the Fathom (7.0% ABV), an india pale lager, which was very pleasant, and a little spicy. We then had the Black Marlin Porter (6.0% ABV), a porter, which I found to be a solid porter, with some noticeable coffee notes and, yet, it still had a light-ish body.
We then moved on to a very anticipated beer, the Habañero Sculpin (7.0% ABV), a habañero version of their popular IPA, in which one does not get a lot of spiceyness at the beginning of the palate, but it picks up on the palate and really stays with the finish. It’s intense and really fun for folks who like spiceyness – wow! It’s slightly unfortunate that the spiceyness is what takes over and doesn’t allow for the full deliciousness of the Sculpin to be featured, but if one likes spiceyness, this beer certainly has it. Fortunately, we then had Victory at Sea (10.0% ABV), an imperial porter with coffee and vanilla, to help us follow up after that spiceyness, as well as serving as a great complement to it. I found this beer to be very smooth, with nice vanilla flavors, as well as some nice coffee flavors.
We then had Indra Kunindra (7.0% ABV), an export curry stout, which was very tasty and one also got toasted coconut flavors. We then had the Grapefruit Sculpin (7.0% ABV), a grapefruity version of their popular IPA, which had quite a grapefruity nose and it was deliciously both grapefruity on the plate and fruitily hoppy. We then had the Dorado Double I.P.A. (10.0% ABV), a double IPA, which was fruity, citrusy, a slight amount of dankiness, and a significant body; it was good. We then had the Serrano Pale Ale (5.2% ABV), a spicey pale ale, which had a peppery nose, and the palate is peppery, but not as spicy as the Habañero Sculpin. The finish is spicy and peppery, but not as spicy as the Habañero Sculpin. It’s quite tasty and more approachable than the Habañero Sculpin.
We then drank three more beers, Piper Down (5.8% ABV), Scottish Ale; Brother Levonian Saison (5.4% ABV), a saison; and R&D Single Hop I.P.A. with experimental hops (6.4% ABV), an IPA; but since we were in a rush to catch a brewery tour and I was also probably drunk at that moment, I didn’t record my tasting notes on these beers….
The brewery tour was led by an energetic guy and it was pretty neat, since he was speaking to three people who have homebrewed, so he didn’t need to tell us how brewing works. He also told us about the distilling of spirits that Ballast Point has been doing, about which I hadn’t known, which made me curious to try their spirits. He also told us about their new facility which opened up in the past year and is three times the size of this location. So, we decided we would visit it the next day.
The beers at Ballast Point were very solid and quite tasty, and we tasted more the following day (stay tuned for that post).