I’d Tap That: Unfiltered Sculpin a refreshing new twist on a familiar brew
Glassware: Fresh and hop forward beers such as Unfiltered Sculpin feature a pungent hop aroma that must be experienced to its fullest. The Spiegelau IPA glass is still the top choice for any hoppy beers with its thin tapered walls and curved bottom that help to open the beer up like a fine wine. The feature characteristic when searching for glassware for IPAs is in the tapered top. This allows the aroma to be trapped and fully experienced. A snifter glass or tapered stemware of any kind is also a great choice for glassware.
Description: Unfiltered Sculpin pours a hazy golden-orange hue with frothy bright white head that leaves a thick lacing on the glass. The aroma is crisp and hop forward leaning more toward citrus hop aroma. Notes of grapefruit, peaches, mango, lemon and apricots dominate with backing aromas of semi-sweet malts. The taste follows the aroma with a strong fruit presence pummeling the palate but with a more subdued bittering quality. The malts impart the perfect counterbalance for the bitter hops while also bestowing a very smooth mouthfeel. The medium body and moderate carbonation are just what any IPA lover would want from a beer. Ballast Point’s Sculpin is well known by all IPA lovers, but the twist of an unfiltered version takes a familiar beer into very delicious territory.
Food pairing: Each season has a set menu that we all enjoy. The summer is filled with foods cooked on the grill in the backyard and Friday nights with pizza and friends. While some IPAs are best with a small, set menu, Unfiltered Sculpin goes well with a wide array of foods.
Try Unfiltered Sculpin with a grilled salmon dish. The squeeze of lemon or citrus-forward seasoning will be the perfect match with fruit flavors within the beer, while the sweet malts will keep any bitter qualities in check. If you are not a fan of seafood but are looking for a pairing from the grill, try with your favorite burger piled high with spicy pepper-jack cheese and jalapenos. The high spice content in the burger will act as the perfect counterpoint to the beer. The result from the pairing will be a crisp and refreshing aftertaste with citrus and spice flavors lingering on the palate.
Unfiltered Sculpin is also a fantastic beer with Mexican and Indian dishes and has heft for even the spiciest of dinners. While the ABV may be a bit higher when compared to typical Friday night beers for some, it is a great go-to beer for pizza. The wonders of Unfiltered Sculpin and pizza never cease, and the toppings can be piled high in any combination.
The Final Word: Ballast Point has had a stellar reputation since opening its doors at the San Diego brewery. The beer that has truly been their flagship is Sculpin IPA. It was the beer that made the brewery what it is and continues to be one of its most popular beers. In recent years, Ballast Point decided to brew the beer in a few variations. The Grapefruit Sculpin was a runaway hit and was followed by Habanero Sculpin and Pineapple Sculpin.
The newest iteration, Unfiltered Sculpin, brings the beer into familiar but intriguing territory. Keeping this hop forward-beer unfiltered took away some of the sharpness in the beer from the bitter hops. The sharpness has been replaced by a more sweet fruit characteristic and makes the beer approachable to nearly all beer lovers. Unfiltered Sculpin is a beer that all hop lovers should try and is a perfect summer beer for relaxing late nights.
Derek Warren is a beer fanatic, avid homebrewer and beer historian. Derek can be heard weekly on the Beer Geeks Radio Hour at noon on Sundays on WILK 103.1 FM with past episodes available on iTunes.
Brewer: Ballast Point Brewing Co
Beer: Unfiltered Sculpin
Style: American IPA
ABV: 7.00 percent