LA BEER WEEK – Day 3: “Hook, Line and Sinker” Ballast Point night at Blue Palms

Day 3 of LA Beer Week featured several Ballast Point brewery beers on tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Hollywood.  With an event title like “Hook, Line and Sinker” I couldn’t help but get reeled in.  We arrived a little after 8 and were surprised to see that the place wasn’t that crowded.  Within seconds we had a table and I had my first drink in my hands….Sculpin IPA (on nitro).

SCULPIN IPA (on nitro)

Sculpin pours a clear light copper color.  The head is two inches of golden white and remains for an extremely long time.

The main smells that emanate from this heady beer are of hops; both floral and pine.  I also detected malty cracker notes hiding around in there.

This beer is pretty darn amazing!  The creamy malts blend with the piney hops to create a medium-bodied elixir.  Floral notes come through in the back-end, with a fruity sweetness appearing as it warms.

Mouthfeel is slighty bitter and definitely sticky.  This is the creamiest IPA I’ve ever had and it even gets chewier as it warms.  My only complaint is that it’s a little too “hot” for my liking (and for the style).

Sculpin IPA was voted best Southern California IPA on thefullpint.com and I can see why.  This creamy beer is a really good IPA and one that would be a nice gateway beers.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

By this point we had ordered food and I was ready for a “less extreme” style of beer to enjoy with my meal.  So I ordered the autumn seasonal Ballast Point Oktoberfest.

BALLAST POINT OKTOBERFEST

Oktoberfest pours brown with noticeable maroon highlights.  The head is off-white and small.

I was quite surprised by the nose of this beer. The dominate scents were that of grape juice and malts.  Yes, I said grape juice.  I also noticed roasted peanut-like notes.

Well, at least the smell of grape juice wasn’t completely incorrect.  Oktoberfest tastes like a really malty grape juice; biscuit in the forefront, fruit juice in the backend.  A bitter hop-like bite makes a quick appearance right at the end.

The mouthfeel is full of carbonation and it caught me off guard.  I hadn’t seen any in the liquid and I was really wasn’t expecting it, but it was a pleasant surprise.  Light bodied and goes down smooth with very little drying or clinginess.

Ballast Point Oktoberfest is not like any Oktobefest/marzen I’ve ever had.  This maybe closer to what a traditional Oktoberfest is supposed to taste like, but that’s just my uneducated guess.  It’s a decent enough beer, but wasn’t what I was expecting so I felt a little let down.

Overall: 6.5 out of 10

Now that my food was finished I decided to branch out and go a little more “unique” with my next selection.  And for that I chose another Ballast Point beer that I’ve never head of, Sour Wench Blackberry Ale.

SOUR WENCH BLACKBERRY ALE

Sour Wench pours a luscious ruby color with maroon highlights.  The head is a quarter-inch of pink foam.

Now this is a funky smelling beer!  The two dominate scents are vinegar and sour milk.  Thankfully you can also detect fruity hints of strawberries and blackberries.

Sour Wench lives up to its name.  The sourness comes through first before giving way to a mouthful of flavor.  It reminded me of a strawberry shortcake topped with blackberries.  The sour fruitiness hits your mouth first before fading to a ton of bready malts. Reminds me of a delicious, delicious cake!

Mouthfeel is light, but dries and disappears quickly.

Even though this beer is technically a fruit beer, it is definitely sour.  One of the better fruit beers I’ve had and I hope I’ll be able to finds this beer again.

Overall: 8.5 out of 10

Being that the previous evening was Avery Beer Night at Blue Palms, they had plenty of Avery beers left on tap.  So, with my Sour Wench I also picked up an Avery OUT OF SIGHT Coffee Stout.  This was a really good beer and you’ll have to wait until later this month when I do a Coffee Stout THEME WEEK.

By this point I was four beers in and feeling pretty good.  Our evening at Blue Palms was winding down, so I decided to pick something unique for my final beer.  This led me to an unusual rauchbier from Avery Brewing Company called Fumator.

FUMATOR

Fumator is a dark, dark maroon with caramel highlights.  Head is a ring of off-white.

This beer smells like you’re standing in a smokehouse.  The main smell is of smoked honey ham.  I also picked up molasses, bourbon and bacon.  Intriguing.

When I ordered this beer my waitress wanted to make sure that I knew what I was getting into before I ordered it.  I explained to her that I knew what a rauchbier was and was fully prepared to take responsibility for my actions.  She warned that this beer tasted like bacon…and she wasn’t lying.  This beer tastes like bacon, bourbon, smoke, pork, chocolate and syrup.  Very, very flavorful beer.

The body is medium and quickly evaporates, leaving behind an alcohol heat in your mouth.

Fumator is an interesting beer. However, it’s a little to flavorful to be any thing more than an occasional indulgence.

Overall: 7 out of 10

Overall, “Hook, Line and Sinker” was a successful event.  A bunch of good Ballast Point beers, tasty food and a few left over Avery pints for good measure equals a great way to spend a Saturday evening in Hollywood.

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