Ballast Point Peppermint Victory at Sea
Ballast Point, know pretty much universally for their Sculpin series of IPAs, has been on a distribution kick of late. While the new ownership has been criticized by some for cutting a corner here or there (now using pineapple powder rather than real pineapple for their Pineapple Sculpin, for instance), they do seem to want to expand their nationwide product stable beyond their traditional lineup. Enter Peppermint Victory at Sea. It's a beer that has been around for a few years seasonally, but has been hard to find outside of California and/or craft beer bars. We've seen a bottle or two in 22 ounce format, but never really on tap. Recently, we were lucky enough to find it available in growler format at our local grocery store.
The beer itself is big --10% abv and based on their Imperial Porter, which is brewed with Calabrian coffee and vanilla. From a taste perspective, this is essentially like drinking strong iced mocha coffee with a peppermint-patty twist at the very end. Heavy yet refreshing. Especially as it warms a bit in the glass. It's very reminiscent of the peppermint hot chocolate you may have drunk on hay rides as a kid. Except that its 10% abv. And surely your mother didn't send you out with anything quite that strong (my mother had a hard line at 7% abv until I hit 16)! It's a bit like dessert in a glass, so you have to be in a specific mood before you commit to spending a fair amount of time with this beer (or, find several friends and share). But, next time you find yourself wanting a high-quality reminder of evenings gone by, and you can find any of this, definitely give it a try--very tasty indeed.