The Art of Pour: Ballast Point – Barmy Ale

There’s no doubt that Ballast Point is a heavyweight in the San Diego brewing scene. With over 2 decades of history in the books, they rank among the top-selling craft breweries in the country.

Barmy Ale has been a part of their Limited Release collection for well over a decade of that time, and the golden ale’s sweet, refreshing qualities continue to stand out among a sea of fruit-inspired beers. We caught up with the team over at Ballast Point to learn more about the brew. Here’s what they had to say:

What inspired the creation of Barmy?

There were many beers on the market in 2005 with fruit additions in them. Most were on their decline in popularity and the base beers used to showcase the fruit were boring. We wanted to do a beer that was original, paying homage to the apricot, balancing the tartness from the fruit with high alcohol and a honey sweetness. A beer we wanted to drink that was original enough to still be relevant eleven years later.

Can you elaborate on the process of brewing it?

The beauty of this beer is the six ingredient simplicity, the four main ingredients in beer (water, one barley strain, one hop variety and one ale yeast) with the addition of real apricots and orange blossom honey. Honey is added pre-boil to caramelize, hops with apricot characteristics and an ale yeast that produces esters similar to apricots are used to add layers of the perceived fruit in the finished product. Low bitterness is balanced by tart apricots with a sweet but not cloying finish that dissipates fairly quickly. Barmy Ale can be aged up to eight years with a strong honey wine character emerging if cellared properly.

If Barmy had a theme song, what would it be?

You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine, Lou Rawls

Our nickname for Barmy Ale around the brewery is “Baby Maker”!

Any other fun facts about the beer?

Pairs great with eggs benedict, aged brie, vanilla ice cream or on its own as a digestif. Barmy was the term used to describe the foam on top of staling fruit, that was fermenting, on the wooden ships during long ocean trips.

For people who like Barmy, what other Ballast Point beers should they try?

Sculpin India Pale Ale with Pineapple is a subtle use of fruit and highlights, judiciously, the same tropical fruit flavor in the “beer-flavored” or regular Sculpin. Look out for a very drinkable American Wheat Beer, called Sea Rose, releasing next year with flavors of pomegranate, cherry and hibiscus!

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