I assume you're referring to the Ballantine India Pale Ale that has been buzzed about recently.
The regular Ballantine XXX Ale never left, and that one is still sold (regionally) in it's sadly watered down Pabst version of the last 20 years.
For this re-introduction of the India Pale, they didn't use the greatly diminished version last seen in the late '80s or early '90s.
But they didn't use the original Ballantine formula either, because it apparently couldn't be found anywhere (the brewery closed in 1972 and the formula changed a few times after the brand moved to different breweries).
What they did do was attempt to reverse engineer the original brew without having the benefit of a fresh sample to taste or analyze. They nailed the ABV (7.2) and IBUs (70) spot on andcame very close on the color (the SRM is slightly paler than the original). And considering the fact that they guessed at the malts, used a totally different combination of hop varieties, and abandoned the long aging that was an important aspect of the original, they still came much closer than I thought they would.
I sampled the new version of the India Pale Ale a few days ago and although it bears only a passing resemblance to the original product, it is most definitely NOT a watered down "cop out" brew and, nostalgia prejudices aside, actually stands on it's own merits. Their brewmaster, Greg Deuhs, seems to have some very good brewery cred and he has managed to formulate a pretty worthy product for his company that is every bit as good as any currently produced IPA out there, and considerably better than quite a few if them. I hope the product stays around...I'll add it to the very short list of commercial beers I buy, and will continue to buy it (whenever I run out of homebrew). Unfortunately, current brand owner Pabst has had a pretty lousy track record when it comes to the legacy brands they own (especially the Ballantine ales) , but in this case, they have actually made a real effort to come up with a beer that actually has some depth and character.
So in the end, I kept my expectations low, and I wound up being pleasantly surprised.
Ballantine (when they were still opeating in Newark, NJ anyway) was a truly craft oriented brewer, even during the so called "dark ages" .
This re-boot of one of their old products was a pleasant surprise.