Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sclupin In the Fridge

I had to drop off tax information at my accountant's this morning and stopped by Ballast Point's Linda Vista brewery on my way home. I picked up a growler and two bombers of Sculpin. Dorado, Ballast Point's double IPA was still available in bombers. The guy working the tasting bar said that there are no short-term plans to brew Dorado, as its hops are being allocated to other beers due to the hop shortage. I hope to dip into the Sculpin growler tomorrow night. Ballast Point's standard IPA, Big Eye, was not ranked that high on a BeerAdvocate thread discussing San Diego IPAs. This surprised me as I like Big Eye and find it not only flavorful and balanced, but it has lower alcohol levels than other San Diego IPAs so one bomber doesn't end the evening. I am curious to compare Sculpin to Big Eye.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Ballast Point Sculpin

Ballast Point's Sculpin IPA is now available in draft form and in 22 oz bombers. This is a great IPA that makes one glad to live in San Diego. I think it is part of Ballast Point's Limited Release Robust Series. Sea Monster American Stout just finished its rotation, and Dorado is now limited release due to the hop shortage. I want to go to the brewery and get a growler fill and a couple of bombers. I have enjoyed Sculpin before and am a big fan of Ballast Point's regular IPA, Big Eye. I want to compare Sculpin and Big Eye to determine their differences.

Carnevale Ale - Damn Tasty

I shared the first Lost Abbey Carnevale tonight. It is flavorful but not overpowering. The first thing you notice is the smell - pure Belgian. It poured a cloudy gold with a nice white head. After the Carnevale we shared a Devotion. It had a lighter taste than the Carnvale and should have been drunk first. It was less cloudy and darker. Both are excellent beers and are great for savoring slowly. Carnevale is a limited release and should be sought out and purchased for enjoyment later in the year.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Carnevale Ale

The first installment of my Christmas present to myself arrived today - two bottles of Lost Abbey's Carnevale Ale. It is a new beer from Lost Abbey, brewed to celebrate the annual Carnival celebrations. Its label starts:
For centuries Venetians lightened the dark of winter with an elaborate upending of social order.
It goes on to say:

This beer is our tribute to that grand celebration of the unexpected. A Saison-style blond ale with American hops and... well, that's all you really need to know. Now put on your mask, raise your glass, and toast the magic of a winter's night mystery.
The beer is only 6.5% alcohol and is cloudy with heavy sediment. And this is just through the bottle. I will probably wait until next week to taste the first one.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Beer In Ventura

The Ventura area is a beer desert. There are a few breweries, but it is hard to find a store with a decent beer selection. I found one, the Wine Castle, off of the 101 and Telephone Road on Saturday night. It had a full selection of Stone, including XI Anniversary and Vertical Epic 07-07-07, and a full selection from Carpentria's Island Brewing Company. I picked up Santa Barbara's Telegraph Brewing's holiday beer - whoa - chocolate, chilies and other spices. I even thought I smelled bananas. It was a very complex beer and the only offering from Telegraph at the store. The store also had a wide selection Belgian beers.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hop Shortage

The San Diego Union had a front page article on Friday, February 1, about the hop shortage and what it is doing to the beer industry. It said that beer prices were set to rise as early as today, February 4th, so I went to Ballast Point on Saturday to beat the increases. The guy working the register said he had not heard about the increases and said they would not be increasing for beers purchased at the brewery. That's good news. The article also said that Ballast Point was no longer bottling its super-hopped Dorado double IPA. I bought two bottles at the brewery to being my total to three that I hope gets me through the hop shortage.

Hop Trip

I had the Hop Trip. It was good and tasted fresh. I did not get the wave of hop smells that others have described, but it was still flavorful. It did not have the heavy hop bitterness of an IPA, nor the high alcohol.