Big Eye IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Co (CA)
It is summertime, which means barbecues, camping, and days at the beach. In other words, it means coolers and cans. And the best part - beer in cans can actually be good! A prime example: Big Eye IPA.
Big Eye is not in the same realm as Sculpin, but that is perfectly fine with me. Both weigh in at 7% ABV, but in terms of taste, Big Eye comes across as earthier; it’s more piney and a little maltier upfront. (Sculpin, on the other hand, is a blast of citrus.)
While Big Eye does not have the wow factor of a Sculpin, it is worth a taste or two…or more.
Lucky Bastard Ale from Stone Brewing Co (CA)
I’m back! Hopefully to stay. What better way than to kick off tastings with a Lucky Bastard.
Stone already produces Arrogant Bastard, Double Bastard, and Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Well you’re in LUCK (ha!) if you enjoy any or all of those, as Lucky Bastard is a blend of the three, brewed in honor of the 13th Anniversary of Arrogant Bastard.
Lucky has been sitting in my stash for a little while, so it might be a tad old. However, I found the beer to hold up surprisingly well. The head was pretty non-existent, but the beer pours a lovely dark amber.
At 8.5% ABV, and being likely past its prime, I thought the beer would have lost some of its edge, turning into a syrupy boozer. But in fact, the beer was still relatively crisp, dominated by woodsy hops and caramel notes. The alcohol shows up in the finish, but it does so with a pleasant warming of the throat.
Kudos Stone, one of the most consistent craft breweries out there.
Ballast Point is full of great ideas! Does it get any better than kittens and beer?
Mirror Pond better than Sculpin? I have to disagree on that one!
On the other hand, I can sympathize with the author. At Angel Stadium, there is a similar “Craft Beer” stand that features the same Coors fare, with addition of Blue Moon. It’s a little disappointing, but what can you do? At stadium prices, I’m more than happy sticking to soda.
Angel Stadium did add a new Goose Island bar, which is awesome, if not local. I would have preferred to see a local SoCal brewer instead, but anything is better than nothing.*
*Anheuser-Busch bought Goose Island. I have no doubt their distribution resources helped in getting the venue at Angel Stadium.
This is a neat visualization of craft beer preferences. I haven’t had a chance to play around with it much, but it sure looks snazzy!
ETA: The “light beer” wheel seems off to me. Why are dunkels under the light category, while there is no mention of hefeweizens or witbiers? Also, typically dubbels are dark, while tripels are light…
My girlfriend is a big fan of the show, so this one is for her! (Need a FB account to see the link, I think.)
Ommegang, one of my favorite breweries, has entered into a deal with HBO for some cross-promotion. It’s great to see a craft brewer getting some love from a media powerhouse.
Takara Tomy Beer Hour Beer Can Dispenser Foam Head Maker, where have you been all my life?
Switchback Ale. Pretty solid all around. #craftbeer
After all those years in NH, I never actually saw a bottle of Switchback! It’s on tap everywhere, though, and a great go-to at any bar in the area.
Also makes for a good black n tan - ‘SwitchBlack.’