Yesterday, I had the opportunity to spend a couple hours at the Ballast Point Tasting Room on Old Grove Rd, and I have to say, it was quite an experience. They have an incredible number of beers on tap, all for a reasonable price. $3.75 for a pint of craft beer! You can’t often beat that.
The Tasting Room itself is only open till 9PM, which seems to me to be a little early for a bar, but it was still rather worth the trip. The main brewery can be seen behind the bar, and they offer tours a few times a day. Unfortunately, there was an event of some sort going on yesterday, so the tours had been postponed. I’ll have to make a point to go back and explore the place more fully in the future.
I managed to try a few different beers over the course of our stay at the tasting room yesterday. The first I had was their Calico Amber Ale. Their website describes the beer as a “traditional-English-yet-very-American Amber Ale,” which I think fits the taste perfectly. This ale has a 5.5% alcohol by volume (ABV), and is rated at 45 IBUs. For those of you who don’t know, I actually didn’t know this until this morning, IBU stands for International Bitterness Units. Traditionally a light lager only has a rating of approximately 5 IBUs while an IPA can be rated at over 100.
Personally, I prefer a good amber ale over an IPA. I myself don’t really enjoy a beer that’s almost too bitter to appreciate the subtle flavors present in the brewing process. That being said, Ballast Point brews up an incredible Sculpin IPA. With a rating of 70 IBUs, it’s probably one of the strongest that I enjoy drinking without being overwhelmed by bitters. They round out the bitter flavor with a fruity combination of apricot, peach, mango, and lemon. This one possesses a slightly higher alcohol content, at 7% ABV, so go easy if you’re planning to stay at the bar for a while.
The last that I tried for the evening, and wound up sticking with the rest of the night, was the Yellowtail Pale Ale. At 23 IBUs, it was a lot less bitter than the Sculpin, without sacrificing any of the flavor. I was pretty ecstatic to find this served on tap at the bar we went to once leaving the brewery. After spending the night drinking the Yellowtail, I have a feeling that this is my new beer of choice.
All in all, I highly recommend Ballast Point as one of my favorite breweries here in San Diego. However, the craft scene here is one that I’m just starting to get acquainted with, so if any of you readers out there have recommendations, leave them for us in the comment section below! We’re always looking for new places to go and new beers to try!