Monday, April 15, 2013

Ballast Point Brewing Company - Habanero Sculpin IPA

Yes, I drank those sake shots, too...
We're still on our San Diego beach vacation and it's still raining. No worries. We're still having a good time. If there's one thing living in Portland, Oregon will teach you, it's how to deal with less than perfect weather.

I walked my wife over to a yoga class this afternoon and on the way back to the beach house, I spotted OB Noodle House. It looked like a cool little bar, so I decided to drop in and wait there while my lady pretzelized herself.

Oh, what kind of craft beer radar do I have? All kinds, that's what kind. As I approached the bar, I saw several dozen taps of amazing craft beer awesomeness. There was one empty barstool waiting for me. KA-BAM!

There were so many tasty brews on that taplist that I had trouble making up my mind. I finally settled on the Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin IPA. Chile beers intrigue me, mainly because the idea of mixing my two favorite taste treats seems like it should be such a winner. Sadly, I have never found that to be the case--until today.

The beer was presented in a goblet a lovely clear, copper orange color with a foamy white head. The head was a full finger thick and slowly waned to a sudsy cap that left a good amount of lacing all over the glass.

Aroma was citrus hops and luscious tropical fruit right up front. There was a definite, unmistakable Habanero pungency in the background. I was really hoping the taste wouldn't be all chile pepper sting. It wasn't.

Interestingly, the initial flavor bang from this brew comes from the hops. Straight forward IPA flavor profile: Lots of grapefruit and orange. The tropical flavors of mango and pineapple are present and accounted for. The Habanero zing rolls across the palate in the most delightful way, complemented by the initial fruitiness. Habanero chiles have their own wonderful citrus-like flavor and they are used in this beer for taste as well as heat. Awesome.

Medium mouthfeel with good carbonation. Great malt flavor in the finish, too.

This is undoubtedly the best chile beer I've ever tasted. Delicious and spicy without being heavy-handed on the heat. I need to take some home with me somehow. I'm given this beer a BeerGuyPDX rating of 4 crushed cans out of 4.

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