Even Keel Session IPA - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Even Keel Session IPAEven Keel Session IPA

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

98 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 98
Hads: 579
rAvg: 3.85
pDev: 10.39%
Wants: 26
Gots: 159 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Ale (APA) |  3.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: xlperro on 06-06-2006

A session beer for Hop-heads, this ale gets double dry-hopped.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 98 | Hads: 579
Photo of kojevergas
3.13/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Swing-top growler filled hours ago at The Growler Room in Austin, TX, and served into a pilsner glass. Reviewed live. Expectations are high given the brewery. Served cold. Side-poured with extra vigor as slight carbonation issues are anticipated. Reviewed as a session IPA.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: Pours a 4 finger wide head of off-white colour. Frothy and starchy looking. It's a foamy sticky blanket of head, with a nicely thick consistency. Not as creamy as would be ideal. Inconsistent webby lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes. Retention is good - about 6-8 minutes. Airy and fluffy.

BODY: Clear copper colour of average vibrance. Clean; no yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears to be of below average carbonation. It's a decent looking session IPA, but isn't unique or special by any means.

AROMA: Pale malts. Floral hop notes. A bit of caramalt. Light nectary hop notes. Quite resinous. A kiss of grapefruit citrus and bready malts. On the more bitter end of the spectrum. There does seem to be a lot of flavour here for a 3.5% ABV.

No oily hops, juicy fruity hop notes, alcohol, off-notes, or spices are detectable.

It's an inoffensive aroma of average strength, and suggests an imbalanced brew with a fair amount of flavour.

TASTE: Pale malts. Caramalt. Floral hop notes. Hints of candied character (with an accompanying sweetness) and bubblegum. Resinous. It's too sweet, and lacks sufficient hop character. What hop character is present is underwhelming. Where's the grapefruit citrus? Much more malty than anticipated. It's certainly imbalanced, but I don't dislike it.

The build is cohesive, but far from gestalt. Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour. Complex for a 3.80% beer, but not complex by general standards. It's not subtly executed, and lacks nuance. A very simple plain flavour profile. No-frills, if you will.

TEXTURE: Sticky, smooth, wet, medium-bodied, aptly thick, and somewhat oily. I'd prefer it softer. Well-carbonated.

Not gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

OVERALL: Certainly drinkable, but it's not the blow-you-away session IPA I hoped for from Ballast Point. I expected a beer I'd be shocked had so much flavour and quality at such a low ABV, but ultimately I got just another imbalanced session IPA (i.e. glorified pale ale) that happens to have less alcohol. This is a tall glass of no thankyou, but I appreciate Ballast Point's effort and look forward to whatever they bring out in the future. I've had far better in the style. This isn't up to par with Ballast Point's finest offerings. Can safely be skipped. I like what they're going for - an über-drinkable hoppy brew with a lot of flavour but low-alcohol, but the execution just isn't there. The discerning drinker will be unimpressed.

C+ (2,842 characters)

Photo of nmoreilly
4/5  rDev +3.9%

I've been so soaked into the "it must be of high ABV" to be a real beer that I've forgotten that that's not a factually correct statement. This beer proves that hands down, I asked for this at the Hoppin Pig in the Gas Light after being told the Sculpin tap was over. It was very good, tropical / citrus fruits, standard malt background and highly quaffable. I finds these San Diego area breweries having the ability to blow the Northern CA standard bearers out of the way Well done Ballast Point on this and various others, can't wait to try the stouts and porters into the fall. (585 characters)

Photo of JBuckwalter
4.25/5  rDev +10.4%

What a fantastic session beer. My standard go to for sessions is Founder's All Day IPA, but I think Even Keel has officially dethroned it as my new favorite session beer.

This beer has a malty backbone that other sessions don't seem to have and a flavor that would suggest it has a far higher alcohol content than it does. The beer is very hoppy with a citrus and pine aroma. The bitterness on the tongue is a little smoother than the All Day, so although the IBU may be higher, it has a little less of the bite.

To be honest, if this beer was at 5-6% alcohol I would have given it a 3.75. Because it is so light, dry and drinkable I think it really should be elevated. One of the most quaffable good beers I've had in years. Again, its going to replace the All Day as my new go to and that is really saying something. (821 characters)

Photo of HipCzech
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

Serving Type: 12 oz can poured into an IPA glass.

Appearance: Clear, copper golden color. Fizzy white head recedes quickly with limited lacing.

Smell: Brightly hoppy, citrus zest and resin, but also slightly musty, vegetal.

Taste: Refreshing citrus and resin continue with crisp bitterness and slight tartness. Very little malt.

Mouthfeel: Very light, thin body with good, moderate carbonation.

Overall: Light, refreshing thirst quencher with a good dose of hop character. (477 characters)

Photo of zander4dawin
3.35/5  rDev -13%

An extremely bright beer with a floral and upfront hop profile and little maltiness in the body. Has a really light body and crisp taste of a lager and at 3.8% ABV it's really playing up the session factor. A solid beer no doubt but not the king of the session IPA, giving the nod to Founders All Day so far. (311 characters)

Photo of lordofstarside
3.5/5  rDev -9.1%

can to glass

Pours a nice golden orange with two fingers of foam. Lots of yeast floating around, the beer would be mostly clear except for that. Good retention, not bad lacing. This would be a pretty sexy beer if there wasn't so much floating around 3.5/5

Smells pretty solid. Lots of alpha hop character, strong grapefruit and citrus, with a little bit of catty pine. Malt profile is understandably lower, some sweet caramel and some bread notes. Actually really good and hop forward 4/5

Taste follows okay, big citrus hop character- lots of grapefruit and pine upfront, followed by a bit of melon with a bouquet of citrus hints. Malt is pretty non existent, a light caramel hides behind all the hops 3.5/5

Feel is very light, no real body whatsoever. A little carbonation, dry, medium bitterness. 3/5

Overall while this isn't bad, it's incredibly one dimensional. Which I get, to make a hoppy beer at 3.8% the malts need to be absent. Still though, it's sort of like drinking hopped water with a little c02. In a way, I guess that sort of comes with the territory of the session ipa. I'm getting pretty tired of the fad though, if I wanted something hoppy with a lower abv I'll turn to a pale ale. I'll give BP props though they've been making this long before the summer of 2014 session ipa craze 3.5/5 (1,314 characters)

Photo of mynie
3.79/5  rDev -1.6%

Smells strongly of medium-alpha hops. Big green burst, light malt backing. Noice.

Tastes... like most of these sessionable smalls. Big hop presence up front that drops off into a middle that is downright watery. The finish resembles a regular west coast pale, but that middle is like pure seltzer. The best of these beers, namely Founder's All Day IPA and Stone's Go To, rely on a crisper hop profile and slightly heavier malt nodes to in order to avoid the fall off. This beer has an excellent hop profile, and it's good drinking, but the lack of balance keeps is away from greatness.

I like how big brewers are catering to us problematic daydrinkers and offering up low ABV session beers. But, hey, you know how higher ABV beers cost more? Shouldn't that logic go both ways? Just saying... (802 characters)

Photo of GeoChase90
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a can into a pint glass

A - Poured a hazy copper orange with a big two and a half finger off white head. Head shrunk pretty fast but remained present for a good while. Moderate sticky lacing.

S - Very impressed with it. Pretty dang hoppy and very bright. Almost all citrus, lots of orange and lemon. Little bit of pine and no noticeable malt.

T - Pretty much follows the nose, bright and poppy. Lots of citrus fruits and a little bit of pine. Not a lot of malt going on here but not overly bitter either. Loved how big it tasted for such low abv.

M - Super thin but I don't necessarily think that that's a bad thing for the style, don't always want something super thick and sticky.

O - Awesome session beer. I think it would take a lot of these for me to get bored of them. Great for a "middle of a hot day, don't want to get smashed" type of beer. (868 characters)

Photo of seedyone
2.76/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

05/30/12 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Not sure where we're going with this brew. As an Un-hoppy guy this was not what I had in mind, or for that matter what was Ballast Point was thinking?

Tons-O-Hops but only 3.8% ABV? One would think this would alienate fledgling crafties due to unfamiliar sensations on the tongue with 'less than' sensations on the buzz. My advise...save the vats for something more decisive. (415 characters)

Photo of RaulMondesi
4.16/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

For a session beer under 4%, the Raul man was all kinds of surprised. Like a Cartier watch falling out of the piñata kind of surprised! Really crisp, juicy, and it has a nice malt backbone that keeps you on the level like Congress should. Just all kinds of smooth and tasty like Olivia Munn biting into a plum.

Yep! (317 characters)

Photo of KFBR392
4.04/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: pours with a copper orange color. Big head of two and a half fingers on the pour which dissipated but was present while drinking. Active carbonation is right on for the style. Random sticky lacing left behind with each drink.

Smell: Crisp dried fruits and not overly bitter pine greet the drinker. Some floral accents are picked up on the body, combining with heavy saturated citrus. Just a touch of caramel malts picked up on the back end.

Taste: Initial hit of soft tropical fruits really pulls the drinker in. Grassy hop profile opens up on the body and lingers on the palate throughout. There is a creamy, buttery malt backbone that really allows the hops to shine. The finish is lingering pine and grassy hops.

Mouthfeel: Really impressive showing for a brew ay 3.8% abv. Easy drinking with enough body to keep you interested. Carbonation fits well.

Overall: For me this is a solid middle ground between Stone Go To and Founders All Day. Definitely hop forward with a present malt profile. Really impressed by the pop that this brew bring being what it is. A summer staple. (1,096 characters)

Photo of rawfish
3.54/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear amber pour with a nice tight finger high head of white. The retention on the head is decent and the lacing is barely present.

Pungent and floral hops are quite piney and herbaceous lifting above the bready malt which carries quite a bit of caramel sweetness.

Sadly the color is quite deceptive, malt is bready but also very porous and husky it doesn't carry enough body for the hops which lay it on spicy and piney. Opening bright citrus rind, finish of grasses the rest of the flavor is all pine. Watery and husky finish with oddly prickly bitterness.

Very thin body with active and exciting carbonation. The hops are bright enough on their own though. Stale and flat finish, relies on the carbonation to give the impression of drying.

A lesser version of Stone's Go to IPA, not nearly enough malt for the hops inside and the malt bill results in a very grainy flavor that bleeds into the finish. Hoppy and sessionable for sure though. (946 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.74/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a crystal clear medium orange in color with heavy amounts of active visible carbonation streaming from the bottom of the glass and some faint golden yellow + amber + copper highlights. The beer has a three finger tall pillowy foamy light beige head that slowly reduces to a thick film covering the entire surface of the beer and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amount of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate aromas of citrus/grapefruit zest, citrus/grapefruit pith, and slightly sweet caramel malts.

T: Upfront there is a light to moderate flavor of slightly sweet grainy malts with a light amount of caramel malts that combine to provide a light amount of initial sweetness. Moderate flavors of citrus/grapefruit zest, citrus/grapefruit pith, and earthy hops. Light to moderate amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Just shy of medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Slightly creamy initially but becomes a light more crisp as it warms..

O: Easy to drink and enjoyable but not quite as good as some of the other more widely available session IPAs that I have gotten (specifically Stone and Founders). Can describes these as a Session IPA but I can see it listed as an APA. (1,226 characters)

Photo of AgentMunky
3.85/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 12 ounce can into an Altamont glass.

Nice head and pale-gold colour.

The nose is heavenly and potent. Pineapples and fruit. Raw, sticky, and promising.

Ah, it was too good to be true. It's a fine beer, but with very little of the sweet-hop character found in the smell. A thin, bitter beer with a brief taste, but fine finish. It's suitable, enjoyable even, but a big letdown from the nose.

This is a great spacer beer or ending beer or beer when you want fizzy REAL hop water, but not the booze of big IPAs. Recommended for the right situation. (563 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

On tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse in Los Angeles, CA.

Pours a clear orange with a foamy off-white head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. A foamy curtain of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, citrus fruit, and citrus zest. Taste is much the same with earthy hop flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is tasty and very drinkable for the ABV. (548 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.72/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Ballast Point store on Linda Vista Dr. Dry and thin but full of flavor. Resiny and hop scented but not terminally bitter. Pale brownish amber with a modest head.

Fresh tasting and highly refreshing. A big taste of browned biscuits with a long bitter aftertaste. More on the IPA end of the spectrum, but a great example of good taste with less alcohol content than a Utah supermarket beer. After setting the glass aside for a few minutes, that last sip confirms the big aromatic quality. (501 characters)

Photo of 71ADub
2.73/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

on draft, pint glass at the Cloverleaf, Caldwell, NJ. on sight, nice golden hue. not much hops in the nose. slightly bitter on the tongue, but not strong. finishes ever so slightly bitter, not much backbite. could use more hops during the finishing stage of the boil or during dry hopped, as well as a little more boil hops. good smooth mouthfeel. just needs more hops, would be a good IPA. (390 characters)

Photo of corby112
3.68/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at Devil's Den in Philadelphia, PA.

Pours a dark amber color with rose edges and a two finger, frothy light beige head that has excellent retention, only slowly fading into a lasting cap.  Steaks and spots of soapy lace left behind.

Resinous earthy hop aroma with subtle hints of citrus countering the dry, grassy pine character.  Underneath there's a nice malt presence with some caramel, toffee and nut.

On the fuller end of medium bodied with a blast of bitter dry hops up front that linger over the sweeter notes into a slightly dry finish.  Lots of earthy pine, grass and soil countered by orange peel, mango and grapefruit.  Well balanced by decent makt backbone with hints of caramel, toffee and light fruit notes.  Overall this is a solid, well balance, easy drinking session ale that has a very strong hop profile. (840 characters)

Photo of cbutova
3.53/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes from San Diego trip.

A- Golden amber body with a small white head. Creamy ring and cloud atop the beer and a bit of spotty lace.

S- Light biscuit caramel malt. Hops are floral and citrus tropical fruit but certainly not dominant, balanced.

T- Pine, herbal and floral hop presence on top of a solid biscuit caramel malt backbone. Yeast bread hints.

MF- Light body with moderately high carbonation. Slight bitterness and somewhat watery feel.

Good balanced session ale. Both hops and malts are used quite evenly. (521 characters)

Photo of Cavery
3.57/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

on tap at Blue Palms 3rd Anniversary, a lower ABV brew to relieve the stress of potentially pounding multiple BA stouts throughout the day.

notes from Aug 13th 2011

A: Slightly diluted honey amber with some early morning sunshine. Looks fairly light in the body with some almost see-through white foams. Some high water mark lacing that sticks with little else below it, it floats over the body of the beer like clouds on a coastal horizon. Nice color, some okay lacing, but the thinness of the bubbles was a bit strange.

S: Connective tissue of lemons and grapefruits. A bit of lime rind bite that I like. Tamarind sweetness with a dash of salt. Sweet nose character that doesn't quite hit the candy level, but it's almost like the making of a hardened candy that hasn't quite hardened yet.

T: Lavender dusted popcorn, haha seriously.A drizzle of earthy leaf infused agave nectars. Funky light yet flavorful citrus rinds. Cantalope with some honey and marmalade. Lavender really creeps up in the back where there would normally be a presence of alcohol. Creepy almost non-alcoholic taste. A bit of watery tropical fruits that burst in the absence of alcohol.

M: Light body, but highly drinkable. Spritzy watery character that makes this thing drink like a slightly carbonated fermented tea. The after feel in the mouth is extremely wet, but refreshing. Like eating a fresh melon while sipping on a lemonade.

O: This is a sound alternative to drinking some "beers". Not to say this isn't beer, it's just maybe something that might be worth having in replacement of the typical onslaught. I think there is a place for this beer, especially in the current market, but I think I'd personally only drink this as a launching pad towards bigger and better beers. However, I think this could be improved upon. I am not opposed to this idea, and I wouldn't give up on the big flavor low alcohol market. (1,904 characters)

Photo of armock
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the main brewery's tasting room.

A - Poured a copper color with an off white head that leaves lacing behind

S - Is a nose full of grapefruit hops

T - Just like it smells lots of grapefruit hop juice

M - This beer has a medium body with medium carbonation to it

O - I love this beer its super sessionable with a good taste and low abv there needs to be more beers like this made definitely worth getting if you see it (431 characters)

Photo of notchucknorris
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a very cloudy light brown color. Reminded me of an unfiltered apple cider.

S: Some dank wheat along with some grapefruit. Faint tropical fruit notes.

T: Grapefruit pith and grapefruit juice. Some citrus acidity on the finish. I wanted a little more from this one. Definitely not my favorite from Ballast. (316 characters)

Photo of Nugganooch
3.58/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Notes from Homebrew mart visit on 07/14/11

*On tap at the brewery

A: Even Keel pours a super clear light copper pale color hue with a small fizzy tan head. Well carbed with some really nice legs on it.

S: Aromas are citrusy and faint tropical fruits but they do fade rather quickly.

T: Taste is overall a bready biscuit like malt character with that classic citrus and piney hop combo going on. Low bitterness. Flavors are soft. Very light, crisp, and refreshing.

M: A light stickiness in mf but overall a nice creamy texture and superlight body.

D: Drinkability rates high given this is a nice summer sessions type of beer that you can sip all day long but as I previously noted the flavors are a bit soft and really just have me wanting something more.

A nice session offering by BP and something I would choose to order as a starter. Working my way up to bigger brews. Tasty drink but pretty straight forward. (921 characters)

Photo of beagle75
3.59/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft service into a shaker pint glass at Churchill's in San Marcos.

A: Clear, light amber color with less than one finger of very fine diminishing white foam head. Heavy, step-wise, lacing remains on the glass.

S: Very mild, with faint multi-grain toast and floral and earthy--tea-like--hops.

T: Begins dry, with mild pale malt that shows a hint of caramel, delicate floral and herbaceous hop aromatics, and bright acidity of moderate intensity. Malt becomes lighter, more crackery, in the middle where floral hops persist. Hops turn more herbaceous, even coniferous, in the finish that is mildly bitter with faint mineral crispness.

M: Thin viscosity, wet and slightly acidic on the palate, with moderate carbonation.

D/O: This session pale ale owns the distinction of being the forebearer (and perhaps the inspiration for) Stone's San Diego Session Ale collaboration. As far as sessionable beers go, Even Keel goes one step beyond the beer it inspired, delivering its bounty in a package that is significantly under 4% abv. It walks a fine line between being satisfying and underwhelming, as many in the sub-style slide toward. In this case it stays appealing and nuanced from start to finish, with layers of flavor emerging through sustained study. Even Keel is an accomplished session ale, but it is difficult to say that it is any better than the San Diego Session Ale. (1,380 characters)

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask at the Pony Bar over the weekend.

Appearance: Pours a light amber with a 1 finger white crown that shows some retention and lace.

Smell: Nice notes of floral hops, citrus hops, and a touch of pine that is faint.

Taste: Same as the nose but it doesn't come through as much.

Mouthfeel: Light side of medium bodied with enough carbonation.

Overall: Super sessionable and fairly enjoyable. Hard to pay the same NYC pour price for a 3.5% abv beer though when I can get something up to 7.9% abv for the same price at the same bar. (547 characters)

Even Keel Session IPA from Ballast Point Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 98 ratings.