Ballast Point Brewing is throwing down a mean block party tomorrow night at Blaze Bangor and Nocturnem Draft Haus then bringing the party to Blaze in Bar Harbor on Friday. The Bangor event is boasting 15 different Ballast Point offerings, 12 of those new to Maine. I had a Habanero Sculpin in the fridge so I reviewed it, I have no idea if it’ll be on at either location but if it is you’ll know what to expect.
Brewed By: Ballast Point Brewing Co.
Style: American IPA
Pours a bright copper color with golden highlights. The beer is perfectly clear and the pour produced a frothy white head.
The nose is hop forward, grapefruit and pineapple with a swirl of pine notes in there as well, malt comes through with a hint of caramel sweetness. While I don’t smell peppers directly with a big inhale I’m left with a prickly, spiciness tickling my nose.
The flavor is where the peppers shine, at first sip I’m greeted with a bready malt body and where in a normal IPA the hops would kick in I’m finding instead a slightly vegetal green pepper flavor and the first wave of heat coursing across my tongue leaving a path of heat down my throat and warming up my chest. The label reads “Heat May Vary” so it’s hard to say if there are bottles out there that are a little more subdued where you can taste the hops but I can’t, if I take sip and exhale through my nose I can still smell the tropical fruit but I can’t taste them, though I do detect a slight bitterness in the aftertaste through the lingering heat.
Overall Habanero Sculpin is a good beer but not one that I would reach for on a regular basis, unlike Sculpin and Grapefruit Sculpin which I try to keep in regular rotation when I can find them. If you enjoy spicy foods, even if you don’t like IPA’s this is a beer for you, it’s all the hots without the hops flavor. One thing to keep in mind is how you pair this beer with food, normally I’d put an IPA up with hot wings but that might not be a good idea here, maybe some cheese and a nice artisanal bread to help keep the heat in check.