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Last Thursday Ballast Point was offering growlers of their Barmy Ale at their Scripps Ranch location. Never having tasted Barmy Ale before, but intrigued by the description I decided to stop in and give it a shot. Here’s how Ballast Point describes it:

Barmy is a 10.5% ABV golden ale brewed with South African Apricots, Caramelized Orange Blossom Honey, 2 Row and dusting of Palisade Hops. A slight tartness from the Apricot is followed by an effervescent mead like quality.  A truly unique and tasty beverage.

Barmy pours a golden yellow color, clear and not too light or dark, the exact color you would expect a “golden ale” to be. There was a tiny bit of white head but not much, even with a vigorous pour, and what was there disappeared pretty quickly.

Barmy Ale smells sweet, and when first poured after being taken out of the refrigerator it was a fairly bland sweetness. As the beer warmed the fruity apricot smell became more apparent. The first taste like the smell was very fruity and apricot like. Never having an apricot beer, and being far more familiar with apples and apple cider than apricots I was reminded of a good apple cider. There is a bittersweet aftertaste but it isn’t hoppy at all. As the beer warms and I keep drinking the apricot flavor seems fade to more of a sweet honey flavor. The mouthfeel is mead like, somehow both thick and thin (but not too thin) at the same time. There isn’t much alcohol heat, the 10.5% ABV doesn’t come through much at all when cold and only slightly more as it warms.

It’s an interesting beer, pretty different than anything I’ve had before. I think the apricot and honey compliment each other well balancing different types of sweetness. A 64oz growler of Barmy Ale is a bit much for one person, having a couple friends to share it with will help out.

If you missed Barmy Ale last week at the Scripps Ranch location you can try it tomorrow (Thursday, Dec 9th, 2010) at Ballast Point’s Linda Vista location for their pairing dinner with MIHO Gastrotruck. Barmy Ale will be available for growler fills and paired with MIHO’s Barmy Ale braised pork loin BBQ sandwich. Check out the full menu for the other food and beer pairings at WestCoaster.