Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ballast Point Arrives in Oshkosh

Last month, Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits signed a distribution deal with Wirtz Beverage to bring the San Diego brewery’s beer to Wisconsin. And now.... it’s here in Oshkosh.

Where to Get It
Dublin’s will have a special tapping beginning Friday afternoon, pouring from a keg of Ballast Point Sculpin IPA. On the retail side, Gardina’s has brought in a nice selection of Ballast Point’s beer. Right now, Gardina’s is selling 6-packs of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA, Big Eye IPA, and the brewery’s Original Pale Ale. They also have bombers of Ballast Point’s Dorado Double IPA, Sea Monster Imperial Stout, and Victory At Sea Coffee Vanilla Porter.

Lot’s to choose from. Notice that lean towards the IPA side? It’s what this brewery is best known for. Their IPAs get gushing reviews on the ratings sites. The style is what has driven Ballast Point’s fast rise.

The Brewery
Ballast Point was launched in 1996 by Yuseff Cherney and Jack White from the back of a San Diego homebrew shop. Ever since, the brewery has grown at a blistering pace. From 2012-2013 Ballast Point was the fastest growing craft brewery in America. At the end of 2013, it was 29th largest American craft brewery producing over 86,000 barrels of beer annually.

A Couple of Their Beers
I’d heard so much about their IPAs, that I went straight for those.

Sculpin IPA. This is the one you hear the most about. I see why. The aroma is prototypical West Coast. Lots of citrus, mango and peach. The beer is medium bodied and – considering that it’s 7% ABV – incredibly easy to drink. There’s some malt going on in the background, but not enough to get in the way of the hop flavors. Voluminous tropical fruit and lemon-like citrus flavors lead to an assertive bitterness that accumulates as you drink. I like that it’s not shy about its bitter quality. Lately, brewers of West-Coast style IPAs seem bent on emphasizing hop flavor and forgetting that an IPA ought to be bitter. This beer brings it. Gardina’s has Sculpin in 6-packs for $15.99. Sculpin will make its first draught appearance in Oshkosh Friday at Dublin’s.

Big Eye IPA. An amber beer with a beige head, you’d swear this was an Oktoberfest as it slides into the glass. Then come those hops. The aroma is a pleasing mix of bready malt, lavender and the big-pine scent of American hops. The malt flavor surprised me. I wasn’t expecting it to be so prominent. It’s biscuity and has a fresh-bread sort of warmth about it. Those piney notes of the aroma carry over into the taste where it meets a distinct pineapple note. It’s certainly a hoppy beer, but not in a syrupy, hop-bomb way. There’s balance here you don’t often find in American IPAs. Its a 7% ABV beer with a slight booziness that compliments the warmth of the malt flavor. There’s a lot going on in this ale. I’m looking forward to drinking it again. Gardina’s is selling 6-packs of Big Eye for $10.99.

To the folks at McKnight & Carlson / Gardina’s. This week the Oshkosh Common Council approved their liquor license application. This gives McKnight & Carlson the green light to proceed with its plan to put a restaurant / taproom into the space formerly occupied by Soirée at 421 N. Main St. The backstory on that is here. And there’ll be more to come on...

No comments:

Post a Comment