OK, so for the longest time I had heard all of these great things about Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA. There was just one problem: I couldn’t find it anywhere. To be sure, we do get Ballast Point beers here in Georgia, and I’d had the delicious Sculpin IPA many a time both in the bottle and on tap at Taco Mac. But never the grapefruit version.
For that matter, I hadn’t seen the much ballyhooed Habanero Sculpin either, though that’s a tale for another day. Then one day I was browsing the draft menu at Stout’s Growlers here in Canton and there it was: Grapefruit Sculpin on tap. I ordered a 32-ounce fill online and popped on over faster than you can say “Grapefruit Sculpin”.
Here’s what the brewery says about the beer on their website:
Our award-winning IPA, with a citrus twist.
Our Grapefruit Sculpin is the latest take on our signature IPA. Some may say there are few ways to improve Sculpin’s unique flavor, but the tart freshness of grapefruit perfectly complements our IPA’s citrusy hop character. Grapefruit’s a winter fruit, but this easy-drinking ale tastes like summer.
Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin is a limited release brew and has an alcohol content of 7% by volume with 70 IBUs. I paid $10.75 for a 32-ounce growler at Stout’s.
Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin pours to a pale golden orange color with a thick fluffy head and a delightful nose full of citrusy grapefruit and well, lemon pledge furnisher polish. Taking a sip, the beer has a soft caramel maltiness up front that’s quickly swallowed up by the big citrusy notes. The beer is permeated by pithy, bitter grapefruit peel and seed flavors right on into the extremely bitter finish that just screams bitter grapefruit and citrusy bitter hops.
Overall, I was very pleased with Grapefruit Sculpin. It is surprisingly lemony but you really get the grapefruit. The beer is delicate and balanced with enough malt to support the hops and grapefruit.
Now for the bad news Ballast Point fans. First off, this isn’t the first IPA by far to incorporate grapefruit as a brewing ingredient. Widmer Rotator Shaddock IPA comes to mind as another beer that does that, and it’s a beer I like just as much. It’s different, but the grapefruit works equally well for me. It also has the benefit of being about $5 less a six-pack (regular Sculpin runs $13.99 a six here in the Atlanta area and I assume that the grapefruit version would be priced similarly). The Shaddock is only available sporadically, however.
That said, Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin is a wonderful beer, and one that I will absolutely be buying again.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.