Ballast Point Brewing: Diving for Craft Beer in Scripps Ranch

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Beer Sign San Diego

Ballast Point has become a beer beacon in Scripps Ranch, Ellen Browning Scripps' subdivided estate.

Stone Brewing was San Diego County’s breakout brewery during the first decade of the new millennium. Still, if the current craft beer explosion in America has taught us anything, it’s that there’s room at the top. Looking forward, there are several San Diego candidates vying for next level status, perhaps none more promising than Ballast Point Brewing. The brewery was a 1996 outgrowth of the Home Brew Mart, which Jack White founded in 1992. Ballast Point still uses the original location for Colby Chandler’s more experimental beers, but Yuseff Cherney now oversees the bulk of brewing at the Scripps Ranch facility, which opened in 2005.

Ballast Point was the final stop on The Surly Goat research trip. The tasting room features tables topped with sawed-off beer barrels and plenty of fish imagery, made famous in the beer world by local artist Paul Elder. Ballast Point is named for a local landmark with a lighthouse and their beers are named for local deep-sea fish since Cherney is an avid fisherman.

Beer Menu San Diego

Ballast Point’s blackboard menu lists not only the ABV, but also the Gravity and IBUs – International Bitterness Units. Those last two measurements are typically only available at breweries, since they have the ability to measure that info, and most bars don’t.

Beer San Diego

Ballast Point offers plenty of ways to sample nine taps. Pints run $3.75 – $6 if you want to keep the glass – and only $1.25 for a 5-ounce taster. I started with a taster of golden-hued Sculpin IPA, one of the top IPAs from San Diego’s hop-crazed beer scene. This popular IPA, named for a prickly local fish, rates 70 IBUs and 7% ABV.

Brewery Founder San Diego

Jack White provided an overview of the fermenting line before taking questions. Somebody asked how they keep things fresh at the brewery. “We try to be innovative and creative, because that’s the fun part,” said White. “We’re always experimenting with barrel aging and new ingredients.”

Brewery San Diego

Cherney briefly discussed Ballast Point’s expansion into spirits, which he considers “advanced brewing” and “the next step in alchemy.” Cherney and a friend built the still by hand.

Yuseff Cherney gave us a sneak peak at the “vendor tasting area”, a hidden room that isn’t open to the public yet. If you’re lucky enough to get invited there, you’ll find walnut walls, a pressed tin ceiling and an encased Tommy gun with bullets. “In emergency break glass,” joked Cherney, who dropped his iPhone into a phonograph that sat in the corner on top of a safe. The phonograph’s cone began to emit vintage music. This is where Cherney plans to pour spirits for vendors, including Old Grove Gin, Three Sheets Rum, which is aged in virgin charred American oak a la Bourbon, and The Devil’s Share Whiskey. A bourbon is also in the works, and possibly vodka.

Ballast Point’s Home Brew Mart location pours a larger variety of beers, but the Scripps Ranch flagship provides a more relaxed drinking experience. There isn’t necessarily a better choice. Visit both.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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[…] art preservative. Life was lived in Frisco. It was a … Mail (will not be published) (required) …Food GPS Ballast Point Brewing San Diego, CA January 11 …… beer barrels and plenty of fish imagery, made famous in the beer world by local artist Paul […]

so many good breweries in SD. need to make a pilgrimage.

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