As you know, Ballast Point is here! That's great. Because it means their Sculpin IPA is available in Chicago. They also brew a double IPA, Dorado. Small Bar in Chicago was the first place in this market to have it on tap. Every brewer has to have a double IPA. It's kind of like how every car manufacturer has to have a crossover vehicle. Would Ballast's DIPA drink as wonderfully as the Sculpin? Stay tuned after the jump.
I was excited to try this one since I love the Sculpin so much. At worst it would be another big ass San Diego IPA, and how bad could that be, really? Not bad at all for a hop lover like me. It arrived in a not-so-hot chalice glass that looks like a church wine chalice. That's neither here nor there. The beer's dark orange color made me expectant of a maltier, piney beer. Sweet caramel malts as well as bread are dominant on the nose, and there's a healthy dose of pine hops. The head was moderate and lacing was decent but not notable. It's got a moderate mouthfeel with healthy, biting carbonation that maintains throughout the drinking experience.
As for the key element, the taste, I would say that it's very solid but not fascinatingly good. Malts suppress the hops a bit too much. There's no denying the hop presence in this beer - they build up to a substantial level. But, I found the hops to be more bitter and less citrusy. Heavy resins bury the palate. It's very oily, sticky, and a bit grimy. It never achieves the buoyancy and effervescence of greater citrus affairs such as Green Flash Imperial IPA, Alpine Super IPA, or, for that matter, Sculpin. Port's beers are more floral and citrusy than this. Stone's legendary Ruination is far more citrus-forward. Hop lovers like my pal Gary will be disappointed by the dense, resiny hops.
None of this is to say that this is a bad beer, or a mediocre one. It's very good. I just wouldn't call it a "gotta have it" beer. There are much better DIPA options out there that give me the goods when it's a San Diego DIPA I seek. And that is often.
By the way, this photo is totally gratuitous and presented simply to say, GO, ISLANDERS!!! I've had that jersey since I was 19.
4 of 5 stars.