Got Beer? Ballast Point Nitro Red Velvet — a Tasting

Ballast Point Nitro Red Velvet – I’m two for two on “golden stouts” lately. I wonder if this is going to be the new trend. It sounds ridiculous, but really, it’s not any sillier than white IPAs or the endless barrage of pumpkin beers. Although in keeping with the theme of, “What on God’s Earth is wrong with us?” this beer is also made with beets and chocolate with “natural flavors added.”

Long sigh.

You know, I’d expect a tagline like that on Shock Top or one of those other hack craft brews made by one of the big macro-machines. But Ballast Point? Say it isn’t so!

I may not have actually sipped this beer yet, so this pre-judging could go right out the window on the first sip. The label looks like an Iron Maiden cover at a Thanksgiving feast, so at least it’s got that going for it. It pours an odd, hazy red color, which I guess you’d get from anything made with beets. Let’s hope this is a little more pleasantly complex than the Wacko.

The chocolate comes through on the nose, that’s for sure, but I’m disappointed by the surprising lack of foam. Well, time for a sip.

This is … unique. This beer is sweet like a doughnut and bitter like a root vegetable. If that just hurt your brain, be glad it’s not on your tongue. I think I understand why it’s called Red Velvet, but as I’ve had red velvet cake, this is not quite the flavor profile I remember from my confectionery treat. The actual cake might be less sweet. But that chocolate/beets interplay is confusing the living hell out of my taste buds. However, a little actual chocolate food pairing significantly altered the flavor profile, and thus was a dessert pairing born!

Ultimately, the lack of body and watery mouthfeel really hold this beer back. If I’m being completely honest, I expected to like this beer much more. Frankly, Ballast Point has a history of knocking it out of the park.

I’m still not sure what the “natural flavors added” are, but generally if you’re still adding flavors after you’ve brewed, and refuse to tell people what they are, that’s not going to instill much confidence.

I really hate to be critical of Ballast Point, but I’m just not getting this one. Even for a golden stout, I’m not getting the right mouthfeel, and the additional flavors seem to duel on my tongue until one or the other is dead. It’s an interesting idea, and in fairness it could be significantly worse, but I think we might need to reconsider this one. At the very least, maybe let me know what these so-called “natural flavors” are in this brew, because there seem to be many unnatural manifestations coming from this cake. One might consider this to be an ace among cakes, but I’m afraid that that this one is a mere feast for fools.

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