One of the things I love most about San Diego is having a great brewery like Ballast Point 15 minutes from my house. I wish everyone could be so lucky. This brewery continues to crank out amazing beer after amazing beer and it's rare that they miss. So when they released their newest beer yesterday (the San Salvador Saison), my coworker, Beau, and I knew we had to go.
Here's the press release on this beer:
"The idea started as a San Diego Farmhouse Ale using local ingredients. We wondered what the Kumeyaay Indian’s were eating when Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo climbed out of his flagship boat, the San Salvador, and onto the shore of Ballast Point in 1542. Also, what might have Cabrillo stocked on his boat before he left Acapulco (then called Navidad) 3 1/2 months earlier? So with some research we tracked down a fun mix of ingredients for a Belgian inspired San Diego indigenous Ale.
With some help from our friends at The Linkery, North Park Native Plants and Wingshadow’s Farm we were able to track down ingredients like corn, pine nuts, agave, elder flower, white sage, manzanita berries, curacao and local sage honey. The malt bill consisted of Belgian pale malt, caramunich, biscuit, wheat and corn. The result is a 7.5% ABV, brown beer that really has to be tasted to be understood. It tastes like the San Diego countryside."
Seriously, what a great idea. One of the things I love most about Ballast is that they're never afraid to try new things. I mean, look at those ingredients. Have you ever seen anything like that in a beer before? Neither had I.
The beer surprised me when it was poured. I'm used to saisons having a huge head that foams up like a bubble bath the second it hits the glass. This one poured straight from the tap with no head whatsoever. The color is a clear amber with a slight light brown cap. Despite it's appearance, the San Salvador really smells like a saison. The first thing I smelled was that funk that I've come to love in saisons. But hidden in that funk is a combination of things that was hard to describe. I think "the San Diego countryside" would be a pretty good way of putting it.
The taste of the beer has none of the funk in it, but that really didn't phase me. Right off the bat, you get the sweetness of the malts and it's almost a syrupy kind of sweet. Then the flavor absolutely explodes and takes off in all kinds of directions. Beau was saying he wished we could have the list of ingredients next to us so we could have some idea what we were tasting and I had to agree with him. The only ones I could remember at the time were sage and honey and I could definitely pick those out but there was so much more to it. Really, this is a beer I could drink for a long time and never get sick of. I'm really hoping they decide to keep this one around because it's special. Can't wait to have it again.
Final Grade: A+