Beer: Sculpin IPA
Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing Company
Style: American IPA
Description: Sculpin IPA appears a deep copper in color with a bright white frothy head that hangs on for a while, leaving behind a hefty spider web-like lacing on the glass. The aroma is full of hop goodness, with strong notes of mango, peach, lemon, apricot, and grapefruit with a sweet malt aroma dancing in the background. The taste follows the nose with a strong hop perception up front – mainly dominated by flavors of grapefruit, mango, and peach – and is quickly followed by a sweet caramel malt note that is coated again by hop flavors of pine and grapefruit before a crisp, dry finish ends the experience and leaves you wanting more. The moderate carbonation and body provide the perfect vessel to hold the strong hops in check, and there is not the slightest hint of the seven percent ABV hidden within. This is an absolute world-class IPA that can certainly be enjoyed in large quantities without the slightest bit of palate fatigue.
Food pairing: Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA is a fairly aggressive IPA, but it does hold enough sweetness within to make it a fantastic beer to pair with a very wide variety of foods. It is great match with any number of spicier Mexican, Thai, or Indian dishes. However, it is also a dream pairing with your next pepperoni pizza. The malt selection will pick up on the crust to help squelch the spicy heat that comes forth when the hops and pepperoni lock horns, and the perfect dry finish of the beer will cleanse the palate between each bite. The sweetness of the malt in Sculpin also makes it a great beer to pair with desserts. A really delightful pairing is with carrot cake. The spices within the cake will gravitate towards the hops while the malts will simply melt into the cake and cream cheese icing to bring forth a creamy sweetness on the palate that will elevate the hop presence and then leave the palate perfectly dry at its finish. Sculpin IPA is a beer to experiment with as far as pairing foods goes, as it is a true workhorse and can handle many dishes thrown at it.
The final word: Sculpin IPA is a beer that built up quite a legend for itself in the years since it was first released and has long been an IPA that craft beer lovers have searched hard for, although many of these IPAs cannot live up to the hype created. However, as this beer becomes more available, more craft beer fans are able to see that this is most definitely a beer that lives up to the hype and actually surpasses it. It is also a beer that inspired Ballast Point to continue making delicious brews and has been winning the brewery gold medals repeatedly at many beer events, most recently winning gold again at the World Beer Cup this past April! The final word on Sculpin IPA is this: stop reading and go pick some up, and if they are sold out, demand that more is ordered. It is an absolute must-try beer!
Rating: W W W W W
Where can I get it? Currently available in 12-ounce bottles/cans at: Backyard Ale House, Scranton; J & H Beer, Plains Township; and Krugel’s Georgetown Deli & Beer, Wilkes-Barre.
Remember, enjoy responsibly! Cheers!
-Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer, and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour on 102.3 FM Saturdays at 10 a.m., and his beer blog can be found at idtapthat.org.