Address: 9045 Carroll Way
San Diego, CA 92121
Phone: (858) 790-6900
Flagship Beers: Manta Ray DIPA, Sculpin IPA, Mango Even Keel Session, California Kolsch, The Commodore Stout, Wahoo White, Piper Down Scottish Ale, Victory at Sea Porter
Seasonal Releases: Pumpkin Down Pumpkin Ale, Dead Ringer Oktoberfest
Special Releases: Red Velvet Nitro Stout, Calm Before the Storm Cream Ale, Sea Monster Imperial Stout, Orange Vanilla Fathom IPL, Coconut Victory at Sea, Sour Wench Blackberry Ale
The Down Low: By definition, ballast is any heavy material brought on board a ship, either temporarily or permanently, to help the ship maintain its buoyancy on the open sea. I wonder if beer qualifies? If so, I’m sure captains of long ago would have been happy to tote along some brews by Ballast Point Brewery for the long journey, happily sipping their way towards the horizon ahead of them. Hey, even if they would never return home, at least they wouldn’t die of thirst…
Ballast Point can be found in a smattering of locations in California, as well as one in Virginia, but their main hub is in San Diego. They got their start in 1992, as two college roommates found a similar passion for brewing their own beer. They soon added a third friend to the mix, and by 1996 Ballast Point was born. Their logo features a sextant, which is a navigational tool used to determine a boat’s position on the horizon relative to the stars, and seems to carry a double meaning when it comes to what they hope to always be: a craft brewery that’s always looking to seek out something new while remembering who they are and where they came from. And as their logo reminds patrons, Ballast Point has remained “Dedicated to the Craft” ever since.
With a great lineup of beers that’s on the shelf year round and is distributed nationwide, Ballast Point has become a brewery that we expect to see on beer shelves in most of the places that we shop. And though we’ve tried a great many of their brews, they’re always a solid go-to choice when nothing else seems to strike our fancy on a particular day. They make IPL’s (India Pale Lagers), white ales, Scottish Ales, Pale Ales, and even a red velvet cake beer. When it comes to innovation, there seems to be no limit with Ballast Point.
The Sculpin series, in varying forms such as unfiltered, grapefruit, and even habanero, is a solid player in the IPA market. Their darker stouts, such as Sea Monster, are rich and robust, perfect for those nights when you’re craving a good nightcap. But our favorite brew by them would probably have to be Victory at Sea, a coffee and vanilla porter that’s soft and creamy smooth. It’s available in a peppermint and a coconut variety, too, both of which we highly recommend. A friend of ours happened to score a barrel-aged variant of it on his visit to the brewery a while back, and needless to say, it was the highlight of our evening of sampling.
If you get the chance to head out to California anytime soon, be sure to check them out in person for yourself. But if that trip doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen, head to your nearest craft brew store. They’re sure to have something by Ballast Point that will set your palate in the right direction.