Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ballast Point Calm Before The Storm Review

Name: Ballast Point Calm Before The Storm
Style: Cream Ale
ABV: 5.5%
IBUs: 15

There is a reason why mix-a-six selections exist. For some it means trying out a variety of different beers before deciding which one is worthy of a purchase of a regular pack. For others, like yours truly, it is a cost-effective means of trying out as many types of beers as possible and bragging about it to your friends. Of course, there is also the crowd that loves exploring and finding out brand new styles of themselves. In the case of this review, it means being able to try out a beer that, as a whole six-pack, would set you back way more than what it is worth.

That's right, I've got an offering from Ballast Point for this review and I have a lot to say about this beer. Before I do however, I'm going to go on a bit of a rant of sorts. There is no denying that Ballast Point makes great beers, and it's truly a great thing that they do. However, lately it seems that some of their offerings have become so high in price that you start to wonder if it's because of overall cost production or because they feel like it.

Case in point, Calm Before the Storm. I was terrified to buy this because the asking price is around $15 for a six-pack and it wasn't until last week when that I found this as a single bottle for a "reasonable" price of $2.89 that I finally decided to pick it up. I mean seriously, $15 for a cream ale? What gives? Is it made with the sweat of the last living unicorn on Earth or is it infused with golden flecks that we can barely see? I can find cream ales for literally half that cost and still get some great flavor. Well if they keep releasing new beers with this high of a price, it means that someone must be buying them.

Which brings me to my next question, what exactly does this beer have going for it? Well according to the label it's a cream ale that is made with coffee and vanilla. I'll admit that it is an interesting concept when you consider that those are flavor elements usually reserved for dark and/or heavier beer styles......but does it work?

Appearance - Mildly hazy amber color with some light visible carbonation. The head starts out rather foamy and about a finger in width before settling for a thin filmy appearance and some decent lacing along the sides of the glass

Aroma - Right away, I'm picking up on some coffee grounds and barley on the front of the nose. I'm also getting some light cereal grains, mild pale malts and just a touch of vanilla sweetness. If I close my eyes, it's like I'm smelling a porter or a stout of sorts

Taste - Mild vanilla & pale maltiness on the front of the palate, followed by some surprisingly mild coffee ground notes. The second half of the flavor is more lingering vanilla notes and light floral hops. The aftertaste is more of that lingering vanilla sweetness and light roastiness.

It is a good beer by itself, but it is definitely is not worth the $15 price tag that is attached to it and that seriously hurts the appealability of this beer. Which is too bad because the idea of adding coffee & vanilla to a beer style that seemingly only works in darker beer styles is actually an incredibly cool concept. If you're really curious to try this beer out, buy it as part of a mix-a-six before deciding if the $15 price tag is actually worth it.

Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm - 7.5/10

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