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Ballast Point / Kelsey McNair / Stone San Diego County Session Ale

Formerly brewed at Stone Brewing
Style: Session IPA
Escondido, California USA


on tap

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RATINGS: 342   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.68/5   SEASONAL: Special   EST. CALORIES: 126   ABV: 4.2%
Ballast Point/Kelsey McNair/Stone San Diego County Session Ale was inspired by homebrewing and exceptional quality of life found in San Diego County. A collaborative effort between three San Diego brewers, this aromatic and flavor-driven beer can be enjoyed during any "session." San Diego offers a variety of memorable sessions. Surfing, dining out, homebrewing and conversing with fellw beer enthusiasts are some of my favorites. Positive experiences and good conversations require a careful mix of good people, a little time and more than one tasty beer. As a homebrewer, I was fortunate to have been a customer of both Stone and Home Brew Mart. Now with thirteen years of professional brewing experience, I am honored that Kelsey McNair picked Ballast Point Brewing Company as his inspiration for this award-winning recipe. Created to evoke San Diego Countyís best sessions and favorite beer ingredients, this beer was infused with an ample amount of hops. Bright and floral, this brew will leave you inspired and ready for your next session! Cheers to the Stone Crew and Beer Drinkers everywhere, Colby Chandler, Specialty Brewer Ballast Point Brewing and Spirits Hi, Iím Kelsey, and I am a hophead. Thereís definitely no shortage of well-hopped India Pale Ales here in San Diego. The local craft brewers are true masters of the style, making some of the finest examples in the world, and a lot of them! If youíre a hophead like me, thatís a pretty good problem to have. These big, aggressively bitter and intensely aromatic brews are the ones I crave the most, but they often pose a dilemma: you can only have a few, yet those bright, complex flavors leave you wanting more. BUT, what if you could find a smaller, more sessionable beer that could really scratch your itch for hops? An "all-day-IPA?" Quantity and quality at the same time! Within this bottle, I think you might find just that. From one hophead to another, I give you Ballast Point/Kelsey McNair/Stone San Diego County Session Ale! A deceptively small beer that is bold, aggressively hopped, assertively bitter, and captures the essense of our local brewing culture. Cheers! Kelsey McNair, Homebrewer North Park Beer Co.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
sethbreaker (179) - New York, Greater London, USA - APR 18, 2012
From the bottle. Not sure of the date on this one. Pours hazy. Pine hop aroma that has slightly medicinal tinge to it. Mouth feel is light and a little thin. It feels a bit muddled really, I get a strange vegetable like taste running through it, somewhat herbaceous, almost like boiled carrots. Perhaps it tasted much better fresh

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 9/20
Damico (3144) - Royersford, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 5, 2012
A year and a half in the cellar unfortunately, it pours golden orange amber in color with some sediment. The aroma and flavor has faded unfortunately to some bland bitter hop notes. There was a bit of a gush on the open and it was super bubbly in body with a big white creamy head on top.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - FEB 28, 2012
From notes. First reviewed 12/9/2010. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass. San Diego County Session Ale pours a vibrant golden tangerine color, which, although slightly hazy, still allows for visibility of the replenishing carbonation from the bottom of the glass. A floral hop bouqet enters the nose with some citrusy hop notes and a touch of light, sweet malt. In the flavor, there is just a touch of biscuity malt up front, and then this is a surprising hop bomb. Very bitter, particular just after the malt sweetness subsides and as an aftertaste. Some juicy grapefruit citrus, but very strongly floral as well. The sip closes juicy and puckering. Something is just a little bit off with this feel. Maybe the low (for Stone standards) ABV is doing it, trying to pack so much hop flavor into a tiny alcohol content, but the feel comes off as trying to be creamy but fizzy at the same time. The plethora of hops give my tongue a tingly, almost numb feeling. Leaves a ton of hop oil all over my tongue. Not sure if this was their intention or not, but they definitely made a mini - Stone IPA here, although just by dropping the ABV I am not sure if they are able to appropriately attach íSessioní to the name. This is not one I would really want to drink too much of.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Bockyhorsey (2628) - Mesa, Arizona, USA - FEB 18, 2012
Good floral aroma. Copper body with white head. Light bodied brew with some pine and malty sweetener. Smooth on the palate good refreshment.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
DomCharbonneau (31) - , Quebec, CANADA - FEB 16, 2012
Highly aromatic hops of citrus, pine, resinous and light pinapple. Orange copper white white not persistent head. High flavor of hops, american flavor of citrus, pinapple, not too hars, but has a lot of aromatic hops. This gives an intense IPA with a lot of american caracter, but could gain by having more supporting malt.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 11/20
drunkenpolack (319) - Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - FEB 2, 2012
County session pours a cloudy copper color. 2 Finger head is poured. White, fluffy, and crater filled. Leaves lacing all throughout the glass. Aroma is full on hops and really not much more. Grapefruit hits the nose mixed in with grassy, piney hops. Thereís a touch of malt but itís really overpowered by the hops here. Maybe this is the most hops Stone has ever used in a beer. In the taste, piney hops take over for the grapefruit. Itís strong and bitter and just sits on the tongue. Mixed in with the grapefruit and a citrus taste I didnít get from the smell and you have a damn hoppy pale ale. I really couldnít even find much of a malt backbone here. Medium bodied and smooth. Goes down way to easy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
TheCorkStops (53) - Connecticut, USA - JAN 13, 2012
A collaboration brew from Stone Brewing, Ballast Point Brewing, and Kelsey McNair, a home brewer. This is a beer that never really made it to my area of Connecticut, but we had a few bottles from a store in Massachusetts. This was brewed and released about a year ago. Iím curious to see how theyíve held up. The twelve ounce bottle releases a little bit of a ďpopĒ as I break the seal. The brew pours out a great golden-straw color, with a bit of haze. Plenty of carbonation makes for a bright white foam, that lasts quite a long time. The lacing is mild, but sticks forever. Just as I pour the Session Ale, I can already smell the hops. Of course Iím not surprised, considering Stone is involved. The nose reveals an interesting combination of light citrusy hops, as well as more in-your-face bitter hops. I let the beer warm a little bit and swirl is quite strongly, because Iím trying to find something else in the nose to describe. After several minutes, the only thing I can smell is still the hops! When I take a sip, the hop complexity changes a little. The nose was dominated by the citrusy hops, but the palate is dominated but the rough and aggressive bitter hops. This beer is over a year old, and it feels like it was bottled yesterday. The bitterness of the hops is mouth-filling, and almost mouth-numbing. I take a few sips, swirl it in my mouth, and Iím going to walk away for a few minutes to see if it changes at allÖ As it warms up, and I come back for a few more sips, the San Diego Session Ale has definitely opening a little. The hops is not quite as mouth-numbing. Or maybe my mouth is numb, and I canít tell that it is still super hoppy. I think this may be one of the most hop-intense beers I have ever tasted. That is to say, Iíve tasted really hoppy, bitter beers before, but they usually have more of a subtle malty backbone. This San Diego Session Ale is hops, hops, and more hops. I can understand that the lower-than-average alcohol content, 4.2%, makes this a bit of a session ale. However, as a malt-man, I could not possibly drink more than one of these. As a matter of fact, I only poured myself half a bottle, and Iím seriously considering not finishing it. Iím not saying itís a bad beer at all, but it is nearly 100% the exact opposite of my preferred style.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
kp (10883) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - DEC 25, 2011

Name: San Diego Session Ale
Date: October 06, 2010
Mode: Draft
Source: Duckworthís Stone Tour
Appearance: clear copper, wispy white head, drippy lace
Aroma: big sweet crystal malt aroma, lots of citrus, touch of sweet pine
Flavor: light sweet malt flavor, lots of citrus, touch of crystal sweetness, just enough balancing bitterness, touch of liquid hops
Overall: huge ipa aroma on a lighter pale ale makes a unique take on a session berr and I like it
Aroma: 8/10; Appearance: 7/10; Flavor: 6/10; Palate: 6/10; Overall: 13/20
Rating: 3.4/5.0
Drinkability: 8/10
Score: **+ /4

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Markm2151 (280) - toledo, USA - DEC 24, 2011
Bottle. When I first opened it, it overflowed and spilled out of the bottle from carbonation. I had not shaken it, or otherwise agitated the beer, so it was a little surprising. The head was white and fizzy, the aroma was hints of grapefruit and citrus. Med bitter, light to no malt on the palate. Light amber orange color. Overall, it was a little thin, over carbonated, with a light aroma. This is like IPAs little brother, so a good intro for those afraid of crazy hopped beers.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
markwise (5195) - North of Tampa, Florida, USA - DEC 21, 2011
Thanks to IBrew2or3 for sending this one along. Cheers, Dave! Pours a hazy caramel orange with a white head. Nose is big and bright- reminiscent of a West Coast IPA. Nose is pine and floral hops with bits of honey, malt, and some grassy notes. Nice nose. Flavor reveals a bit of a mirage- I know the point is a session beer. I get a little bit of malt followed by some floral and herbal hops with bits of grass and very mild citrus. Light to medium and a decent session beer, but the nose gives an impression that the flavor is a bit more intense.

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