Ballast Point – Unfiltered Sculpin

With Ballast Point’s Sculpin India Pale Ale being one of my favorite pale ale’s, I was really excited to see this beer. And with it being a “limited release”, I had to try it. ┬áThis beer is brewed by Ballast Point Brewing Company in San Diego California and has a very similar label to the original Sculpin. It comes in a standard 12 fluid ounce (355 mL) bottle and was purchased in a six pack. At the time of this review, I have already drank 5 or the 6 beers that came in the pack. This is an extra hopped India pale ale and is 7.0% alcohol by volume. ┬áBallast Point rates it at 68 IBUs. The six pack was purchased at a local liquor store.

The beer has a nice smooth pour and gives a decent amount of a creamy looking head. You can smell a bit of hoppiness from the beer, but it is mostly masked by a nice sweet citrus scent, which reminds me of the smell of a Blue Moon with an orange in it. The cloudy golden color also reminds me of a Blue Moon as well. The look and smell of this beer are very pleasant and not how I would imagine an extra hopped India pale ale would smell. But upon tasting the beer, it tastes nothing like an Blue Moon. It tastes like what you would hope, a Sculpin, with more hops! The taste isn’t overpowering, but if you like the flavor of a Sculpin, but prefer stronger hoppy India pale ales, this is the beer for you. I’m generally not an India pale ale fan, and the Sculpin is one of the exceptions, and this beer is very good as well. It is not something you’d want to drink fast, and not a beer for drinking games, but it is an enjoyable India pale ale. Too bad it’s a limited release, and hopefully Ballast Point brews more in the future.

Do you like India pale ales? Let me know what you think the best ones are in the comments!

Left Hand Brewing Co. – Bittersweet Imperial Coffee Milk Stout

Prior to buying this beer I’m pretty sure I had heard of Left Hand Brewing Co., but I don’t think I could have named any of their beers even if I tried. Left Hand Brewing Co. is small craft brewer based out of Longmont Colorado and got their start with a home brew kit. The beer that I will be trying is their Bittersweet Imperial Coffee Milk Stout. I tend to big a fan of beers that are coffee and/or chocolate flavored, but tend to find most of them a little lacking. This beer is a coffee milk stout and comes in a 22 fluid ounce (650 mL) bottle and is 8.9% alcohol by volume. They were even nice enough to give a recommended glass type and serving temperate on the label. It was purchased individually at a local liquor store.

The pour is very thick and smooth with very little head as you would expect from this type of beer. The color is very dark, almost black, with a little bit of barely noticeable brown around the edges. I’m honestly surprised how dark this beer is, even a flash light barely penetrates through it. The smell of this beer is pretty incredible and strong. It has a nice sweet chocolate and coffee scent to it, with a hint of bitterness. The flavor of the beer is an even more intense version of the smell and is very nice. With the alcohol content in this beer, it definitely doesn’t taste the way I would expect it to. But it is quite heavy and with the strong flavors, it’s definitely something you’ll want to sip and enjoy. I think it will end up taking me a while to finish this one. I’m almost thinking with it being 22 fluid ounces, it may have been best to share with someone. I’m very happy with this beer and would definitely try it again. It ranks high among the coffee milk stouts I’ve tried, and even among the chocolate stouts as well.

If you have a favorite coffee or chocolate stout, let me know in the comments!

Samuel Smith – Pure Brewed Organic Lager Beer

One of my favorite breweries is Samuel Smith Old Brewery based out of Tadcaster in the United Kingdom. A couple of my favorite beers of all time come from Samuel Smith’s. They brew a wide variety of beers and even have some organic options if you’re into that kind of stuff. I’ve had a few of their organic beers in the past, but didn’t seek them out because they were organic, but just because I’m a big fan of this brewery. This beer is an organic lager beer and comes in a 18.7 fluid ounce (550 mL) bottle and is 5.0% alcohol by volume. It was purchased individually at a local liquor store.

This beer has a nice smooth pour and initially didn’t seem to have much head, but there seemed to be quite a bit of carbonation and head formed fairly rapidly after pouring. The head continued to grow a little, and with the volume being too much for a standard beer glass, I’m lucky I stopped pouring a little early. It has a nice clear golden color and a nice malted and slightly sweet scent. The beer definitely tastes like it smells and that’s a good thing. It has a nice light refreshing taste and goes down easy. I’m not sure if it’s because I worked outside in the 115 degree heat today, but I’m really enjoying how refreshing this beer is. With this being sold as an individual bottle and the cost, it may not be worth using for a drinking game, but I think it’s a very good beer for a hot summer day. I definitely like this beer and would buy it again.

Have you tried anything from Samuel Smith’s? Let me know what you like in the comments! I’m always willing to try something new from them.

Yo-Ho Brewing Company – Suiyoubi No Neko

Most people think of Sapporo or Kirin when it comes to Japanese beers. You typically won’t see many Japanese beers other than those two for sale in most grocery stores. Beer and Liquor stores will usually have a better selection, but no where near as many as you will find from most other countries. It make sense though, since Japan is more known for their sake, which you can find a better selection of at most places. This beer comes from Yo-Ho Brewing Company in Nagano Japan. Suiyoubi No Neko, or Wednesday Cat, is the first beer I’ve tried from this brewery, and honestly the first I’ve ever even heard of it. This beer is a Belgian Style Wheat Ale and came in an 11.8 fluid ounce (350 mL) can and is 5.0% alcohol by volume. I purchased this beer at a Japanese restaurant.

The beer had a smooth poor with little head, even when I was trying to make some. The color is a nice bright gold color and lacks the cloudiness I’m used to from Belgian Ales. The smell is a little sour and not very pleasing, but not too bad. It also has a slight sweet smell, but not enough to balance the sourness. The taste was similar to the smell of it so it was both disappointing in smell and taste. I didn’t really even enjoy drinking this beer and almost forgot to finish it. It’s an imported beer that I’ve never seen before and it was quite a bit more expensive than I would have paid after knowing how it tasted. Definitely not something you’ll find most places. Not something you’ll want to use for drinking games. And not something I ever really want to drink again, I’d rather have a Sapporo.

If you’ve seen this beer, or have any Japanese beers you’d like to suggest, please, leave a comment!


Ballast Point – Piper Down Scottish Ale

The first beer I ever had from Ballast Point was their Sculpin IPA, which I really liked. Since then I’ve been a fan of what Ballast Point produces. Ballast Point is located in San Diego California and their Piper Down Scottish Ale is one that I have only seen recently. Pipe Down Scottish Ale is both brewed and bottled at their San Diego facility. Beers from Ballast Point typically seem to have a fish themed label so the imagery on this beer is a bit different. It comes in a 12 fluid ounce (355 mL) bottle and is 5.8% alcohol by volume. Ballast Point rates this beer at 22 IBUs. This one was purchased in a Ballast Point sampler pack that included their California Kolsch and their Scuplin IPA.

The beer pours smoothly and doesn’t give much head, which some people may be turned away from. I tend to not like a lot of head, but this seems a little inadequate to me. It does have a nice reddish amber color to it and a bit of a sweet smell with a hint of bitterness. The initial taste is very similar to the smell, so if you don’t like the smell, you may not like the taste. I can taste a bit of caramel, which is where the sweet scent comes from. The bitterness seems true to their IBU rating. You get a bit of hoppy bitterness, but not overwhelming. This is definitely not a beer that’s good for chugging, so definitely not something to use for drinking games. I am enjoying sipping on it, but it seems a bit heavy so I doubt I’d want to drink more than a couple. Overall I think it’s about average for an ale, but a pretty good beer. Definitely something I wouldn’t mind drinking again, but not something I’d likely seek out.

If you have tried this beer, have an opinion of my review, or have a beer to suggest, please, leave a comment!

Honest Beer Reviews

Growing up, I couldn’t understand why my Dad liked beer. It seemed disgusting, and when he switched to non-alcoholic beer, it was even more of a mystery. For most of my life, I wanted nothing to do with beer or any type of alcohol. As a young college student I had my first alcoholic drink at a party, a Smirnoff Ice. It was very sweet and tasted like a weird soda. I can’t say I really liked it, but it wasn’t bad. I had little interest in beer or hard liquor. I didn’t like the smell of beer so Smirnoff Ice was a good alternative for me at the time. Sometime later I began drinking hard liquor, and eventually tried beer. I can’t really say that I liked it at the time. But as is fairly typical for a young college student, drinking games were involved. We usually drank Bud Light and Coors Light, which aren’t known for being “good” beers. I didn’t like the taste, but the games were fun, so I continued to drink it.

More than a decade, many thousands of dollars, and several hundred types of beer later, I actually like it. There are many brands and types of beer I enjoy. That’s not to say that I like all beer, but I even enjoy a Coors Light from time to time. I enjoy picking up new variety packs, seasonal beers, new flavors, and just random beers I’ve never heard of. With the probably thousands of types of beer out there and more coming out every day, there are always new ones to try. Total Wine and Lee’s Liquor are my typical stores of choice, but sometimes they have good a good variety at local grocery stores and even specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Many people don’t like beer, or say they don’t. But I think more often than not, they just haven’t tried the right kind. With so many brands, types, and flavors of beer, there’s usually something for everyone. I’m not a professional when it comes to beer, but I know what I like, and I enjoy helping people try good beers. With this blog I will review beers, give an honest opinion, and try not to make it too technical. Have a beer you’d like reviewed or a beer you suggest, let me know in the comments!