Celebrating 25 years of craft beer innovation in San Diego, Ballast Point is pleased to announce the addition of two new offerings to its year-round portfolio: Big Gus and Wee Gus. Clearly different from anything Ballast Point has released before, the crystal-clear duo — a R&D hoppy lager and a clear hazy IPA — mark the first additions to the craft beer pioneer’s portfolio since 2019.
Big Gus and Wee Gus hit off-premise shelves this month throughout Ballast Point’s distribution network in Southern California and Arizona in 12 oz. 6-pack cans, and is currently available on draft at all Ballast Point taprooms in San Diego, Anaheim, and Long Beach.
The journey to the “Brothers Gus” began several years ago as the brainchildren of the brewers at Ballast Point’s Little Italy R&D facility, where they brew more than 150 experimental recipes per year. Big ideas are typically born after a few beers, so the team sat down and came up with a fun challenge. “What if we made a clear hazy IPA?” As the rest of the industry was deep in the haze craze, the Ballast Point brewers bucked the trend by developing two beers that are clearly different from anything on the market. Ballast Point is well-known for brewing hop-forward beers – the Brothers Gus are no exception– but they are crystal clear by design.
“We always wanted to make a beer that looks different than it tastes,” said Aaron Justus, Ballast Point’s director of research and development. “That’s sort of the creative play with Big and Wee Gus. We sat around as a R&D team and thought ‘how can we make these beers as clear as possible? What kind of scientific processes can we do to ensure that clarity and how can we make them hoppy? They also had to be beers that we like to drink.”
Originally called Hop Soda due to its resemblance to tonic water, Wee Gus is what happens when you brew a beer that looks like an American Light Lager but is aromatic and flavorful with the late addition of hops – while also being crystal clear. The result is a bright and spritzy, easy-drinking 4.2% ABV hoppy lager. Wee in calories (95) – not in flavor – this crisp, bone-dry beer is brewed with German Bach lager yeast and dry-hopped with heaps of Northern Brewer and German Hallertau Mittelfrüh hops, giving it a refreshing undercurrent of lemon, herbal, and floral aromas with a hint of black pepper.
Big Gus is the bigger, bolder brother of Wee Gus and is what happens when brewers swim in the opposite direction of the haze craze. This behemoth is a crystal clear, extremely dry, and colossally dry-hopped 6.5% ABV India Pale Ale. Big Gus has the spine of a traditional IPA with a generous amount of American Amarillo, Cashmere, and handpicked Yakima Valley Mosaic hops and a delicate pilsner malt.
An unexpected added bonus: Both beers weigh in at under 150 calories each — Big Gus (145) and Wee Gus (95). The brewers bucked one trend and stumbled onto another.
As he has done for the past 25 years, Ballast Point’s resident artist, Paul Elder, brought the story of the art inside the can to life from sketch to full-color art on the outside. Wee Gus, a delicate, little fish in a big ocean full of scary danger, and Big Gus, a goliath of a grouper who rules the reef.