Swallowed by the Sea Monster

Ballast photoFolks, put on your sea legs! This week I am reviewing Sea Monster Imperial Stout by Ballast Point Brewing of San Diego.

While fishing around for a dark beer, I was lured in by the bright color of an anglerfish. At that moment, I wasn’t sure if I was hunter or the hunted. So I defaulted in confidence that I was the hunter, reeled in a bottle of this Sea Monster, and hurried home to give it a shot.

Upon opening the beer I got hit with pleasant scents of coffee and light chocolate. When I poured the beer into my glass, I wished I had my eyes shined like Riddick, because this monster poured pitch black. At the top of the glass, caramel brown foam formed, giving it a very attractive dual tone appearance.

When this beer first hit my lips, I was immediately taken aback. The scent definitely matched the flavor. Coffee and chocolate were the first things I recognized followed by a slight bitter finish. I relaxed and enjoyed it to the very last drop. That was until I noticed I was a little too relaxed. I ran back to the bottle and looked for the ABV. That’s when I knew, I was the hunted. At a healthy 10% ABV, this Sea Monster had me right where it wanted me. Yet, I had no regrets.

Overall this is a good beer for all of us dark beer lovers out there. Proceed with caution on this one. It will not be an all-night beer but, it is definitely a good beer to have 1-2 of without over doing it.

Ruffians I recommend you go pull this Sea Monster from the “drink”. Just don’t let it drink you. Cheers


Rating: 4 ½ / 5  Pints

ABV: 10%

Brewery: Ballast Point Brewery

Website: http://www.ballastpoint.com

Hotter Than Helles Lager

IMG_0148Cigar City Brewing’s “hotter Than Helles Lager” is part of their year round beer selection. I had been interested in trying it for a while now and decided to pick some up last week. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of it since lagers tend to be rather uneventful and quite honestly, boring. What I found was a beer that was neither of these things.

While the word “hell” is a German adjective meaning “light”, “blonde”, “pale”, etc., the word “helles” is a noun meaning “bright” or “a light one”. Given the color of the beer this is a very apt name for it. The color is very light, I would describe it as pale blonde. There is a lighter than normal carbonation to this beer which makes it even easier to drink leaving almost no head after pouring. The lower carbonation does inhibit foam though so expect no real lacing on the glass.

Cigar City Brewing describes the smell as grain, hay and honey, however, in addition, I also notice elements of fresh cut grass and a fair amount of sour lemon.

The flavor is fresh and light. The lower carbonation comes into play again creating a very light mouthfeel to the beer. Quoting Cigar City again they describe the taste as having a malty backbone with hay and honey. I did find that there is a good amount of bready malt flavors but they were offset by a decent amount of hops giving it quite a bit of bitter citrus flavor with a clean enjoyable finish.

With all the boring lagers out there it was nice to have one that at least had some complexity to it. I’m not saying this is going to replace any full-bodied beers you enjoy drinking but for a lager it’s a good. If you’re looking for something to drink on a hot day or something light and refreshing while mowing the lawn (cheers for that Ryan) this is your beer.


Brewer: Cigar City Brewing

ABV: 5%

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 pints.