Our Ballast Point Tour & Tasting

Our Ballast Point Tour & Tasting
To kickoff our new beer menu, we took our team over to Ballast Point for a tasting and tour of their brewery and new distillery. We have always carried Ballast Point brews and more recently their spirits – not only are these products delicious, but also uniquely hand-crafted.
Ballast Point comes from humble beginnings. Owner Jack White began brewing in his backyard, then opened Home Brew Mart, which became a Mecca for home brewers. In 1996 he opened Ballast Point. Head brewer and distiller Yuseff Cherney and his team gave us an orientation to what makes Ballast Point unique – they specialize in creating great beer based on classic favors with a unique twist.
Starting off in the tasting room we sampled a few of their best-known brews, including the three we carry at George’s. Tasting beer is much like tasting wine or cheese – it’s best to start with a light flavor and move into the heavier more complex varieties. So we started our tasting with the Wahoo Wheat. Typically I’m not a huge fan of wheat beer; maybe it’s that they’re too fruity or served with the unnecessary orange slice, but the Wahoo Wheat is my new favorite! Unlike other wheat beers that have a rich honey and banana flavor, Ballast Point uses coriander and orange peel to add a light and refreshing taste…truly a new take on wheat beer. The Calico Amber Ale is their idea of a classic English ESB. Using crisp American hops and a blend of four different malts, this beer has a crisp bitterness and a floral aroma. The Sculpin IPA is one of their best-known beers and for good reason. Sculpin (as it’s most often referred to) is a favorite because of its unlikely balance and complexity. With 70 IBUS (International Bittering Units) you would expect a super bitter beer, but it is balanced with the sweet flavors of apricot, mango, lemon and peach. The light body really allows the crispness of the hops to shine through. 
Walking around the brewery we learned that using techniques like creating proprietary yeasts and mixing beer batches produces a more consistent and unique beer. Those techniques and attention to detail is what makes Ballast Point beers so special and truly hand crafted.
After years of brewing beer, Yuseff was looking for the next challenge so he started distilling spirits. By using the same experimental attitude that made Ballast Point beer a success, Yuseff has created three interesting spirits – the Old Grove Gin, Three Sheets Rum and Barrel Aged Rum. Using both a traditional copper pot still and a large, stainless column still that the crew made themselves, Yuseff began to play with different flavors. Keeping with the old world tradition of using a copper pot still, Yuseff and his team are able to have more control over every step of the distillation process to produce a more layered and artisanal spirit. The Old Grove Gin is his take on a classic London Dry Gin with a twist of rose and coriander. Three Sheets Rum is offered un-aged or barrel-aged in American oak, which gives it a classic sweet flavor. With big plans to expand the distillery and begin producing a variety of spirits including bourbon, Ballast Point is certainly pushing the envelope with new and exciting libations.
Together Jack, Yuseff and their team have a true love for brewing amazing local beer. Whether they’re crediting San Diego’s hard water or naming a new brew after their fresh catch, you can tell these guys are serious about their craft. We’re excited to carry Ballast Point products and support such a pioneering local business. Come see us soon and taste their brews and spirits for yourself!