It’s no secret that Ballast Point Brewing Company and I have a special relationship. They are a Top 10 choice among all that I wet whistles with while few others bring out the obsession and passion for the craft like their offerings do. So when the drought of Victory at Sea plagued us this last year or so, no one felt the void like me, or at least no one else wore their despair on their sleeve. So every trip to the store a watchful eye gazed in the direction of the would-be spot where Victory at Sea should be, but there was nothing, until a glorious beer blast from Beer in Hawaii announced the arrival of Grapefruit Sculpin, and in it’s shadow, a win on the water.
So the elusive imperial Porter is back and I just have to tell you what I think…
The label excites at first site. The skeleton being thrashed about by a blusterous storm at the wheel of what I imagine to be quite an impressive vessel could be a tattoo on a bad ass pirate… or craft beer drinking Upright Mexican, no judging. The midnight hued brew adds a bit of environment to an already bleak situation for our sailor, and you know what? That’s okay, because that bit of night is about to brighten my day.
The pour of this behemoth should be done in slow motion. As the dark chocolatey sea rises to the top, the deep cinnamon colored head collects at your nose and rests. The lace paints the side of your goblet, snifter or pint like a stained-glass window of the church of craft beer. Fitting because this is the gospel of doing something the way its supposed to be done.
The scents cycle through all the creature comforts of your favorite coffees and desserts while the first sip puts you in that place of uninterrupted elation. Honestly, my first sip made the world around me blur out of focus, and all that mattered was what was happening right then. I had found excitement in a dark beer and that had never happened before. I mean, sure its happened since but without this first love, I would not have ventured off in search of others to match its dark mystique. The imperial nature of this bomber puts it at 10% ABV which you feel burn through every exhale like a sweet cigar. I did not realize how much I missed it until I couldn’t have it anymore, and I admittedly factor that into its rating of 8.5/10 on the UrD scale.
This is the converter for many-a-beer drinker. This is the one that makes folks give other dark beers a shot, a game changer if you will. While IPA’s, sours, and barrel aged beers dominate the scene, Ballast Point continues to crank out the go to’s, the standards for all things great, and even the obsessive natured brews that I think I need once they are not around. I can’t ask for anything more from a brewery, except maybe for more… yes, definitely more.