I poured a 12oz bottle into a goblet. It had an "enjoy by" date of 6/29/13. It cost $2.99 ($0.25 per ounce).
Appearance: Dark maple brown hue. Opaque. Forms a small, white, soapy
head which mostly dissipates but does lace the glass a bit.
Smell: Noticeably earthy, slightly malty aroma. Something weird to it, though, reminiscent of a dog’s breath.
Taste: I’m not usually a big fan of amber ales, but I figured a
prominent West Coast brewery would be able to make it exciting for me,
that’s why I bought Ballast Point Calico Amber Ale. Though it’s pretty
clear right away that this isn’t your typical California hop bomb. In
fact, the brewery’s website describes it as an ESB. So which is it?
Whatever the case may be, the end result is an average beer.
The palette could be described as either an amber or an ESB, though it
seems to be missing the fruity notes of an ESB, but does have the raw
dry bitterness I often find in an American amber. The base malt body is
quite mild with the faintest trace of maple, toffee or brown sugar.
Though the bitterness is still quite strong as it imparts a dry
bitterness throughout the second half of the swig. A slightly starchy
aftertaste, though it fades away cleanly and quickly. There’s nothing
really exciting to this beer; the flavors get repetitive, but never
Drinkability: The mild taste and the comfortable mouthfeel make Ballast
Point Calico Amber Ale an easily drinkable beer. At 5.5% ABV its weight
is right where it should be as it’s not particularly light, but there’s
nothing to it that would make it seem heavy.