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Sculpin IPA review

Guest Beer Review: Sculpin IPA – By Bernardo Pena


American IPA, Articles, Reviews

Gotta love having friends that are as passionate about beer as much as I am. Mr. Bernardo Pena, close friend of 20+ years has been sending me tons of texts about all the beers he's been trying in LA and abroad the past few years. After some d&d (drinkin & discussing) we thought writing for Barleypop.com would be a great fit for Mr. Bern. Welcome Bernie!

Here’s Bernies Review:   It’s a Sunday night.  We just put the kids to bed and my wife offers me a free pass for the night.  Before she has a chance to think twice, I sneak down toward the garage.  In my mind, I’m already sitting at the bar of my favorite tap room.  And why not?  I had a productive week.  Don’t know about the week ahead, but I know one thing –

I need a beer.

Not talking about a mass produced, standard macro lager, consumed by most hard working, tax paying citizens of this great land, but a more exciting, lesser known brew to tantalize the senses and inspire my taste buds into some kind of involuntary submission. 

Living where I do in Orange County, there’s no question as where to go.  Excited, like a kid going to a toy store, I hop in my car.  I’m off.  My legs are still wobbly from yesterday’s 17-mile run.  Yep, I’m bragging.  I’m training for the Surf City Marathon – another reason to treat myself.

As I pull into the parking lot, I already start thinking about what I’ll have.  Will there be something new on tap?  Will there be a new bottle on the shelf?  Whatever happens, I know one thing – “Tonight’s gonna be a good night!” – I can’t believe I went there — sorry for the cheesy pop culture reference.

Finally, I arrive at Selma’s, www.selmaschicagopizzeria.com.  Walk in through the side entrance with the pizzazz of Clint Eastwood walking in through western saloon doors.  I spot an inviting barstool and claim it with a glare.  I take a seat and take in the atmosphere.  I’m greeted by a friendly, well beer educated barkeep.  I ask for the beer list and a water.  My eyes dart from one end of the page to the other, over and over again.  Mostly, I’m interested in origin, style, IBUs and the ABV.  Then I have a thought – “I’m thinking too much!  Just pick one already!”  I succumb to the fact that I’ve been craving an IPA for days – heck, I’m always craving IPAs.

“What IPA do you recommend?” – that’s right – I put my fate into someone else’s hands.  Without saying a word, the bartender reaches into the fridge, pulls out a little 12oz shiny brown bundle of joy and carefully places it in front of me.  He pops the cap off and gently pours the ale into a pint glass.  This is a dialogue-free procedure, which has me elatedly speechless and most probably intriguingly mesmerized.  What a perfect moment.

I know normally the first element taken in by the senses is the appearance, but in this case as soon as the cap was popped, my nose was punched by the piney familiar scent of fresh hops.  The beer in the glass looked like any other good looking IPA – golden, slightly cloudy, tight bubbly head – inviting.  I snuck in for the first sip, not unlike sneaking in for you first homecoming dance kiss.

POW!  The hoppy aroma was definitely just a preview to the now confirmed hoppy taste.  And by hoppy, I mean fresh hoppy, clean hoppy, smack your mama hoppy.  I’ve had great hoppy beers before, but this was a revelation.  It was pure piney bitterness – no funk at all.  All I can think is clean, funk-free hoppiness.  The rest was top notch — perfect blend of citrus, fruit and slight malty undertones.    Enough alcohol present at the exclusive get together, respectfully not stepping on anyone’s toes – no party crasher in sight.  Oh… the beer – Sculpin IPA from Ballast Point. 

The bartender a few minutes later asked me what I thought.  I don’t know what I said, but I know there was a smile on my face.  And I know I’ll be going back to Selma’s real soon.  What a perfect way to end the weekend and kick off the week to come.  Thanks Babe!

Sculpin IPA| ABV7% | 12oz
Ballast Point Brewing Company
bernie headshot

Bernardo Pena:  Bernie, for close to 15 years has been working in the film and TV industry as an actor, writer, director and producer.  A few years back he was introduced to Belgian ales and micro brews by his great friend and Barley Pop founder, Michael Toronto.  He has been hooked ever since.  Working in the entertainment industry, Bernardo has lived in LA and New York.  He had no trouble in those big cities finding places to enjoy a good beer.  Back in the summer of 2009, he and his family moved to Orange County to settle down without being too far from LA.  Finding spots to enjoy a good beer south of LA has definitely seemed like a quest at times, but little by little, Bernardo is discovering the amazing breweries, beer bars, tap rooms and other such establishments Orange County and places further south have to offer. 

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