Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale

Another Ballast Point beer. It seems that when I get ahold of a brewer I've never had, I tend to get a few of their beers and try them in sequence. I like to see the direction a brewer is going to see if I want to follow them further. With some, the answer is no. With others, it's HECK YES!

The delightfully golden honey beverage holds up the sticky, sticky head that leaves such lacing on the side that I'm thinking this might actually be an IPA instead of a more pedestrian pale ale (mind you, the label has a subscript of "hoppy pale ale"). The aroma is hoppy, but the hops are musty and a mixture of citrus, pine, and I can even smell a bit of sweet malt there (but I might only be dreaming).

First sip is stronger than a regular pale ale, and it has a bit of funky mustiness from the hops that are just made of pollen or something with their mustiness. They are strong, but as the beer gets further from freezing cold and closer to nice and cool, the hops kind of relax, and that sweet malt is evident and lovable with its attempts to stave off bitterness. A swig will sort this out, I'm sure.

Tip-in is musty hops, and they have definite citrus overtones. Oranges and tangerines are in there covered in a quiet layer of dust. The middle approaches with a sudden banishing of the must and dust in favor of a bit of grains and lemon to augment the hops, and their bitterness is right at the edge of overwhelming the beer. The finish is suddenly a bit floral, and the bitterness continues to be held back with the sweet malt.

Bottom Line: I would call it an IPA or at least an APA. Calling it a pale ale sells this beer short.



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