At the close of 2015, Constellation Brands purchased Ballast Point Brewing Co. at a valuation of around $1 billion, which is the largest acquisition in to the craft beer market to date. There is no question that Ballast Point is poised for long term financial success now that they are supported by the same corporation that drives the world’s bestselling imported beer – Corona Extra. The relationship is mutual however, as Ballast Point is a proven money maker for Constellation. All things considered, there is an enormous volume of both cash and beer being moved by this conglomerate, so the next question is: how “dedicate to the craft” is Ballast Point?
An onslaught of flavor infused beers offered by Ballast Point certainly quenches the thirst for a large demographic, but have they jumped the shark with the idea? Pineapple, grapefruit, watermelon, mango, habanero, Thai chili, ginger, and peppermint are all focal points for some of their base modifications. There’s also the obligatory coffee, vanilla, bourbon, and brandy stylings anyone might expect from a craft brewery. In some cases you wouldn’t even have to like the taste of beer to find something that satisfies, as the intense addition of “natural flavors” yields a cocktail-like adult beverage, which I understand does market quite well to many people.
My original hope for today’s review subject, Ballast Point’s Dorado (double IPA) brewed with watermelon, was that the delicate and refreshing influence of watermelon would contrast the robust bite of the DIPA. Unfortunately, the end result is more in line with an artificially flavored mixed drink of some variation.
From the bottle and to the glass, the fiery golden beer has impeccable clarity, i.e. substantial filtration, which depending on your preference potentially takes away from the taste and texture of the DIPA style. The carbonation is apparent however despite a hard pour, only one finger of off white froth is coaxed from the brew. Olfactory impressions yield notes of watermelon up front, supported by grapefruit and herbal hops. There is a sweetness present that when joined with the watermelon implies a fruit juice. The mouthfeel is that of an average IPA, but is lower in attenuation that expected for this brewing style. The flavors are an exact replication of the previously mentioned aromas, and the dominating characteristic is watermelon rind. The finish is dry and slightly herbal and all that remains once the glass is unoccupied is a dry hopped alcohol heat.