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Brew review: Southern Star Brewing’s Half Nelson IPA

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Editor’s note: This review appears courtesy of the excellent local website beerchronicle.com 

Check them out for Houston craft beer reviews, brewery guides, and follow them on Instagram @beerchroniclehou for everything Houston craft beer related. They will be providing occasional reviews for Houston Sports and Stuff.

By TONY D

Southern Star Brewing Company

Conroe

IPA (Nelson Sauvin/Mosaic)

ABV: 7.2%

IBUs: ?

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. Cans (4 Pack)

5 out of 5 stars

By: Tony D

*Taps out from sheer enjoyment* I’ve had these Half Nelson IPAs in my fridge since I first saw them on the shelf in January, but I’ve been too busy to write about anything new. I wonder how much better they would’ve been if I had them on day 1.

Man. Hold. Up.

I wish Southern Star woulda had these bad boys canned back in November when we did our big Top 5 IPAs in Houston (phase 1) write up. I’m sure it woulda taken home a top 5 spot!

The nose on this Half Nelson IPA is super floral and tropical from the Nelson and Mosaic hops. That nose follows through onto your palate with a mild sweet start and a fruity finish with almost no hop bitterness. The malt backbone is just enough to make it’s presence known, but it’s mild enough to let the hops do the work.

Half Nelson IPA doesn’t have many contenders, but for the sake of comparison, it stands up well to Texas’ coveted Yellow Rose IPA by the geniuses at Lone Pint.

Half Nelson IPA is one of a kind, so I’ve rated it accordingly. I don’t say it too often, but man hold up, this beer is a 5 star!

This IPA pours a crystal clear, picture-perfect gold with 2 fingers of head that dissipate fairly quickly into delicate lace. It’s medium body with a silky mouthfeel and a juicy finish. The carbonation is somewhere between mild and medium, but no complaints here.

I didn’t really know what to expect going in, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Half Nelson IPA is one of three of Southern Star’s Art Can series, and it’s epic. The can art features an illustration by Keith Amador. The illustration is of two masked Mexican wrestlers (AKA luchadores) – one wrestler is half-nelson-ing the other (I think). As an artist, I can always admire this sort of home-grown artwork when it’s well done, and Keith knocked it outta the park. I understand that the tap handle also features the luchadores, but I haven’t seen it in the wild.

(Update! Keith happened to see this review on Facebook, and he was kind enough to share his sketch for the tap handles with us. You can see more of his awesome work here.)

You can find yourself some Half Nelson IPA at the usual Whole Foods, HEB, etc. as well as a few places around town. If you’re heading out to NOLA for the festivities, stop by Port Neches Brewing Company for a growler fill. I found mine at HEB, per usual.

Man, hold up. The fruity, floral notes of this Half Nelson IPA are bold and balanced from the nose to the finish. I love this beer. Was it enough to wrestle you into submission, or did it have you wishing you had a partner to swap with? Let us know in the comments below!

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