Ballast Point Fathom IPL (India Pale Lager)
By: Benjamin Welton
Back in my dumber days, I used to mull over the idea of getting a tattoo. At first it was going to be my mother’s name across my heart. If she were alive, I think mom would die of embarrassment if she saw her name across her son’s chest, so I deep six’d that one.
The next idea involved a Victorian-era diver’s helmet. It was to be either on my bicep or across my back. The reason? None in particular, aside from the fact that I have always been fascinated by the sea and sea exploration.
Well, then I joined the Navy and realized that the life of a diver was not for me. So, accordingly, I decided to nix making my torso a shrine to the Ghost of Captain Cutler (that’s a Scooby-Doo reference, in case you’re wondering). In fact, I decided to never get any tattoos at all. Still, that doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a good diver’s helmet, and admittedly it was this taste in imagery that led me to purchase Ballast Point’s Fathom IPL in the first place.
Before opening this big bottle, I had a pang of buyer’s remorse. You see, previously, I had had a not-so great experience with Ballast Point. My one and only time drinking the Sculpin IPA hadn’t been pleasurable, so I began drinking the Fathom IPL with little to no enthusiasm. Well, you know what they say about keeping your expectations low…
First Impression: Besides the eye-catching label, the first thing noteworthy about the Fathom IPL is that it comes only in single bottles. At 22 ounces, the Fathom IPL is good enough for two pints, which, for the purposes of my diet, is perfect.
Pour: Since the “IPL” stands for “India Pale Lager,” the Fathom is a nice combination of an IPA and a pilsener. With a color stuck somewhere between straw and crystal malt, the Fathom is a crisp-looking creature that comes equipped with a clean white head. There’s something refreshingly cold about the way this beer looks, and in fact watching this beer migrate to the top is akin watching the last gasps from a skin diver sinking to the bottom of the Bering Sea.
Taste: Underneath the fragrant aroma of orange citrus and bouncy hops, the Fathom IPL hits the mouth like an ocean tide gently reaching a beach in northern California. Although Ballast Point is headquartered in San Diego, the Fathom IPL tastes very German and overall it has a Teutonic flavor that would be paired well with either Knackwurst or Bockwurst. Sauerkraut wouldn’t hurt either, for the Fathom has a small spice kick to it. Simply put, this beer is like Bret “The Hitman” Hart – it’s excellence in execution.