Ballast Point Brewing Company
San Diego, CA, USA
This is one fine looking beer that I had last week at the Hulmeville Inn’s ‘San Diego Or Bust’ night which featured some rare beers from Ballast Point and Mission Brewing Company. I got to the bar early for the 6 pm tapping time and had the first pour from the barrel, although I’m sure employees enjoyed this rare brew hours before I got my hands on it. Poured in a 12 oz pilsner glass, this bourbon barrel aged version of the delicious Victory at Sea is a deep and dark black with brown highlights and a finger of milk chocolate-colored head. Quite the aggressive aroma dominated by the bourbon, as if you were sniffing a shot, along with some toasted wood, chocolate, and coffee notes. All of this blended together wonderfully and I kept smelling this one until the last drop. The bourbon flavor was really strong while it was still cold but subsided a bit as it warmed. This made room for the more complex nuances of this particular beer. Very sweet and creamy, just a bit of the vanilla survived in the aging process, with a bitter finish. Dark chocolate and burnt cocoa dominated towards the end, a bit tannic as well. I will say that I was surprised how prominent the cocoa was here. It is still pretty balanced however, it never becomes too sweet or too boozey or too bitter…they hit the nail on the head here. Very creamy mouthfeel, like a melted whiskey milkshake. This was one of those bucket list beers of mine so I was glad that it basically lived up to my expectations. I went on to try a couple other brews from Ballast Point including their Tongue Buckler which didn’t thrill me and their Even Keel Pale Ale…a behemoth of a beer that clocks in at 3.5%…IT IS EPIC. If you ever see this one on tap somewhere and dig these bourbon aged beauties you had better order up because it is damn near perfect!