A few months ago I hit up Whole Foods with a buddy of mine who was in town. We were there for grilling items but while poking around the beer section we spotted a bunch of Ballast Point’s Habanero Sculpin on the shelves. Erroneously under the impression it wouldn’t be coming around these parts frequently we bought … some six packs.
Good news: it’s a delicious beer. Bad news: it’s hot as hell. Now, I don’t mind a bunch of piping-hot beers hanging around my house. But Habanero isn’t even can-to-can. It can either be a delightfully-peppered brew or it can set your palette on fire and dance gleefully as you cry on, like a 12-ounce devil.
Fortunately Ballast Point makes a fruity yin to the scorching yang: Grapefruit Sculpin.
If you follow us on UnTappd (and you should!) you may have notice we here at CBR enjoy it. A lot. It’s going to be the Summer of Sculpin, with the grapefruit flavor dominating the North Carolina beer scene. This doesn’t mean we, you or I should ignore the habanero however. In fact, bring it to the party by mixing the two together.
Not only are you the envy of your friends by creating a secret-menu beer, but you’ll satisfy your crave for spice and fruit at the same time.
Full disclaimer: you are much more likely to ruin a grapefruit sculpin by mixing the two than you are to ruin a habanero sculpin by mixing the two. I’d also add that it’s probably a better spring beer than a summer beer — and how are you going to ditch the delightful canned version of Grapefruit in summer weather? A tough move indeed.
Half and half isn’t the perfect blend; 65% grapefruit, 35% habanero is just about ideal. (Yes, this means you basically have to drink three beers to appropriately use all the habanero without overmixing. You’re welcome?)
Blended together — with the habanero no the bottom and grapefruit on top — a plethora of citrus notes hang on the nose. There’s little to no heat coming off the top; if you didn’t know the kick that was coming you wouldn’t expect it.
The blend is cool too because as you work your way through the beer you get more or less of the fruit/peppers depending on where you’re sipping. Quarter of the way through there are hunks of grapefruit flavor followed by a flush of habanero-fueled heat.
Three quarters of the way through? Peppers pipe the nose but the fruit and heat still mix really well. I think. Near the bottom of a poorly-blended beer you’re going to get kicked in the teeth with the habanero’s heat.
Survey says … it’s delicious. Life changing is probably a step past hyperbole but, seriously, this mixed-beer combo is really tasty. It takes the edge off the spicy Ballast Point beer and gives a little more kick to the fruit-flavored version.