Ballast Point

Beer Review – Ballast Point Indra Kunindra


Elf on the Shelf Photo and beer courtesy of @TheAlemonger

This past Saturday night, Mrs. G-LO and I joined Mr. and Mrs. Alemonger for dinner at Casona, a Nuevo Latino restaurant in Collingswood, NJ (click here to read The Wookie’s review). Since we devoured a delicious meal that consisted of Empanadas de Pollo, Yuca Frita, four types of Guacamole, Paella, Lechon Asada, Chilean Sea Bass, and a wide assortment of Craft Beers that included Chatoe Rogue Good Chit Pilsner, Caldera Ashland Amber Ale, Sixpoint Diesel, and Lagunitas Sucks Holiday Ale, we decided to skip dessert. After a round of coffee before leaving the restaurant (their Cubano coffee was delicious by the way!), we headed back to The Alemonger Estate so that we could try a very special beer that he obtained during his recent pilgrimage to the Craft Beer Promised Land, aka San Diego, California.

The beer that The Alemonger brought back to New Jersey was Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra, an India-Style Export Stout (prior to Saturday night, I had never heard of such a thing). The Ballast Point Indra Kunindra is so special that it’s not even listed on their website. Here’s what I was able to find out about this beer:

Per Brewmaster Yusef Cheney, “After nearly a year of wrangling with the ABC and TTB and other sanctioning bodies (who didn’t quite know what to think of a beer made with such unique ingredients), we are legal and have beer in bottles. This beer will be available at both of our brewery locations beginning tomorrow.”

What are those unique ingredients that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau didn’t know how to handle? Some interesting flavors, that’s for sure. The creation of San Diego-based homebrewer Alex Tweet, Indra Kunindra’s hops are enhanced by five ingredients one doesn’t often find in beer: Madras curry, cumin, cayenne pepper, toasted coconut, and Kaffir lime leaf.

And now for the review…

  • Appearance: Rich, chocolate brown color with ruby highlights when held up to the light. Creamy, tan colored head that dissipates slowly. Upon further inspection, I noticed some spices floating about an inch or two from the bottom of the glass. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw those floating spices was Vietnamese Chili Paste.
  • Aroma: Cardamon. Caramelized sugar. A combination of cayenne pepper and bittersweet chocolate which reminded me of Mexican Hot Chocolate.
  • Taste: Medium carbonation. Based upon what it looked like as we filled our glasses, I was expecting this to be a thick and chewy beer, but instead, it was medium bodied and very easy drinking. Lots of coconut and curry flavors when you take that first sip. The bittersweet chocolate and spices take over at mid-palate and lead you to a tingly, roasted malt finish.
  • ABV: 7%

Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra is one of the most unusual beers that I have ever tasted. And I mean this in the best possible way. Although it’s very smooth and easy drinking, I can’t see having too much of this in one sitting. Session worthy? Definitely not. Delicious? Absolutely! Having a glass of the Indra Kunindra in lieu of dessert was the perfect way to end the evening. I just hope that they add this beer to their regular line-up, or at the very least, make the Indra Kunindra a seasonal offering that will hopefully find it’s way to Philly. Well done Ballast Point!

12 replies »

  1. This beer is chock full of the most random coincidences! Just so happens I had some late Saturday night (pretty remarkable considering how rare it is) and I had dinner at Casona that night too! Outrageous! (well, the dinner coincidence isn’t quite as outrageous, reservations can be tough to come by but we’re not talking CUT or Urasawa in Beverly Hills – you can usually get a table on a busy weekend night even if you do have to be a bit flexible with your preferred seating time)

    OK, so the beer…. Outstandingly conflicted flavors in the best possible way. I first read about it on a craft beer recipe blog (possibly Hopflower) and was obsessed with finding it ever since – a modest problem I seem to have with many things. Anyway, since Ballast Point pulled out of the NJ market a little more than a year ago I knew I wouldn’t find it here. Given how limited the production was, I also assumed they wouldn’t distribute any of it outside of the SoCal area (if at all) so even though Ballast Point loves Philly, they wouldn’t show it enough love to ship even a precious few cases to the Foodery.

    Only one thing to do…. Get on a plane to San Diego and sidle up to the tasting room bar (no seats) of the their Scripps Ranch brewery. Much to my delight, I arrived perhaps a day or so before the Indra ran dry so, after a welcoming pint of crazy stupid fresh Sculpin, I ordered a pint of Indra. Wow! Even before the first sip I knew this was going to be something special. Wasn’t quite sure if that would be in a good or bad way yet but I’d soon find out….

    Huge explosion of kafir lime and coconut slapped me right up front. Good thing I wasn’t sitting because that first sip was so bracing it would have easily rousted me off the stool. Curry & cumin notes quickly followed trailed by some more traditional, stouty, roasted malt, espresso, bittersweet chocolate and vanilla. Then came a slow moving train of warming cayenne and that baby remained at the platform long enough to let every liquid passenger out of the glass.

    Simply the most interesting beer I had all year and that’s a “good” interesting. This brew has personality AND near trophy wife looks.

    To my surprise, there were about 2 dozen bottles in the fridge right next to the tasting bar and, knowing that I’d be returning to NJ at some point, I thought I’d pick up a bottle to share with my Boozedancing lads (or with my favorite third of them, anyhow). Just so strange that I decided to pour it right after coming from the same restaurant as G-LO on the same night. Then again, it’s perhaps even more strange that there was a tasting glass in just the right place to prevent me from pouring it all over the craftbeer table…..

    aduAts!!

    @TheAlemonger

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    • Good god Man! That was a blog post in and of itself.

      Accolades and attitude aside, this is a seriously delicious and uber funky beer. Who says the spirit of innovation is dead in America? We may never find a cure for cancer, or eradicate our dependance on foreign oil, but at the very least, we’ll have some superb and inventive beers to drink before the zombie apocalypse takes us all out.

      Thanks again for sharing this beer! Abbondanza!

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    • Before you go and pick up the Lagunitas, be sure to check out the Beer and Whiskey Brothers blog for a full review. It’s an Imperial IPA, not a full fledged Christmas Ale. Apparently, they planned poorly and didn’t make a Christmas Ale this year. Still a hoptastic beer that is well worth trying though!

      Like

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