Ballast Point San Diego Brewing

Ballast Point Brewing Company Jack White

The word ballast refers to stability, and Ballast Point Brewing is one of the most stable and expansive craft brewers in California. Begun as a home brewing venture, today Ballast Point offers a wide range of beers including a gold-winner IPA, as well as spirits such as spiced rum and a crisp gin. Ballast Point was the first micro-distillery allowed in San Diego since the days of prohibition.

The company’s expansion has been exponential. Ballast’s brewers weren’t content to simply brew beer. Founder Jack White always had the vision to offer high-quality spirits, as well as training upcoming generation of home-brewers.

But the brews themselves are the thing that draws crowds to this popular brewery. Their Sculpin IPA took years of tinkering and experimentation; hopping an ale at five different and distinct stages were the brewer’s choice to create an award winner. The hops themselves are distinctive, too, with hints of peach, apricot, mango and lemon adding a refreshing edge. Named for the stinging Sculpin fish, this beer packs a small, tangy sting itself.

But there’s nothing like the tang of a Grapefruit Sculpin, which features a tart, clean grapefruit taste. This Sculpin IPA has been singled out repeatedly in magazines and newspapers as one of the best craft brews of 2015 and enjoys strong popularity in Southern California. Why? The citrus flavor is a sharp, clean, refreshing match for the Sculpin itself.

For spicy, try the Habanero Sculpin, flavored almost as hot as if the peppers themselves were along for the ride. Available bottled, Ballast also offers keg-only releases of mango and pineapple habanero versions, adding to a growing trend among craft brewers to infuse a variety of flavors into a known brand and expand their reach.

Ballast’s Longfin Lager is brewed German style, with just a hint of a bite. Their Wahoo White is an unfiltered and un-malted blend of oats and wheat, with notes of orange peel and coriander giving this cloudy Belgian brew a citrus edge. But the premier beer that gave Ballast Point it’s distinctively successful balance in the micro-brewery market is their Pale Ale, made with German hops and Munich and American malts, renowned for its light crisp notes of spices and fruit.

What does Ballast offer beyond beer? Stellar spirits with sea-faring names. Ballast’s Three Sheets Rum is made with pure cane sugar and distilled in a hybrid variety of still that employs both pot and column. The result is a mellow silver rum that’s drinkable straight or mixed into any favorite craft cocktail from a daiquiri to a rum and soda. Old Grove Gin weaves the flavors of juniper berries with coriander and rose. Barrel Rested Old Grove is aged fifty days in charred oak, creating a smoky flavor and cinnamon notes. There’s Devil’s Share Single Malt Whiskey, Bourbon Whiskey, and a potent Moonshine Whiskey too. Fugu Vodka and Opah herbal liqueur are two other craft spirits that Ballast distils.

For spirit imbibers who prefer not to mix their own drinks, the brewery also offers some unique, canned cocktails from rum and cola to gin and tonic; a non-alcoholic Bloody Mary mixer and Mai Tai mixer round out the non-beer offerings.

Ballast hasn’t forgotten their home-brewing roots, either. The brewery also sells homebrew items through its Home Brew Malt, offering starter kits and grain brewing systems, along with staff trained to help customers make home brewing an option rather than just an idea.

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