Victory At Sea Ballast Point has been around for a long time and is definitely one of the “big boys” in the brewing world. The brewery is well known for its fishing-themed beer lineup and probably most notably their Sculpin IPA. Ballast Point started like many a craft brewery, with two guys who loved beer and a dream.
Jack White and Yuseff Cherney started Back Room Brewery after they first met, but in 1996 they changed the name to Ballast Point and just eight years later they had outgrown their space and moved to their current location in Scripps Ranch, Calif. After 10 or so years of brewing world-class beer, the guys at Ballast Point decided to try their hand at distilling and currently have seven spirits in their repertoire.
Victory At Sea is quite possibly one of the best “shelf beers” that you can find in good quantity. While it is not available year-round, it is available for several months. The beer itself is a porter that’s brewed with coffee from Caffe Calabria coffee beans, which is located in San Diego and whole vanilla beans. It was originally released on draft in 2008 and in 22-ounce bottles in 2009. It stayed in bombers and on draft until January of 2015 when it was released in 12-ounce bottles that come in a six-packs.
While it’s labeled a porter, Victory At Sea pours and looks just like a stout. It’s pitch black in the glass with a gorgeous two finger mocha head that sticks around for a while. There is a light lacing the beer leaves behind as well. Victory At Sea jumped into my nose and smashes it with a beautiful bouquet of semi-sweet chocolate, cold-pressed coffee and loads of vanilla.
There are traces of bitterness from the coffee, but it is balanced well with sweet as from the vanilla and chocolate notes. The taste follows along well with the nose; it hit me with a lot of coffee, some sweet vanilla and bittersweet chocolate. The order of tasting begins with sweet iced coffee, followed by strong vanilla, and then it finishes with a strong bitter coffee and dark chocolate flavor. The bitterness is does not come on harsh in any way, but works very well together to balance out the sweetness up front.