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: 339   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 County’s 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, I’m Kelsey, and I am a hophead. There’s 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 you’re a hophead like me, that’s 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.

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LtDan (1808) - Los Angeles County, California, USA - APR 20, 2012
Appearance: Pours a clear amber gold with no visible bubbles, and a big white rocky head. Leaves behind heavy lacing. Aroma: Huge grapefruit and modest pine, flowers and minerals. Taste: Dry bready malt, humongous pine and grapefruit. Finishes earthy and bitter. Flavor lingers well past the sip. Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, a tad dry, moderate carbonation. Overall: The biggest little beer in the land. For the past year or so, as father time has been battling me, I have found beers like this, Firestone Pale 31, Mission Street Pale ale to be my go to beers. Big on hops and flavor, easy on the buzz. This beer is not lacking in flavor or aroma.

sethbreaker (180) - 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

Damico (3146) - 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.

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 ’Session’ to the name. This is not one I would really want to drink too much of.

Bockyhorsey (2638) - 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.

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.

drunkenpolack (322) - 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. There’s a touch of malt but it’s 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. It’s strong and bitter and just sits on the tongue. Mixed in with the grapefruit and a citrus taste I didn’t get from the smell and you have a damn hoppy pale ale. I really couldn’t even find much of a malt backbone here. Medium bodied and smooth. Goes down way to easy.

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. I’m curious to see how they’ve held up. The twelve ounce bottle releases a little bit of a “pop” 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 I’m 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 I’m 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 I’m going to walk away for a few minutes to see if it changes at all… 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 can’t 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, I’ve 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 I’m seriously considering not finishing it. I’m not saying it’s a bad beer at all, but it is nearly 100% the exact opposite of my preferred style.

kp (10880) - Woodstock, Georgia, USA - DEC 25, 2011

Name: San Diego Session Ale
Date: October 06, 2010
Mode: Draft
Source: Duckworth’s 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

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.

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