Editor’s note: This review appears courtesy of the excellent local website beerchronicle.com
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By TONY D
SPINDLETAP HOUSTON HAZE NEIPA
Packaging: Draft and Cans at Brewery Only, for now
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
When we showed up at SpindleTap, we sort of expected it to be quiet since it’s a Tuesday evening. While there were dozens of beer bloggers and beer-socialites there during the day, we figured surely they’d be gone by 5:30 PM when we showed up. We were only halfway right.
All the other beer folks were gone; however, there were a handful of people in the taproom as one of the employees of their sister logistics company was hosting a private party. The photo above shows what it looked like later in the evening, but when we showed up, it was a dull roar of activity, everyone ordering Boom-tons. Hah!
Chris and I each grabbed a glass as we waited (im)patiently for Nick; chastising him via text for being late. Meanwhile, we asked Garrison if he’d indulge us for a few minutes as we asked a few questions about Houston Haze NEIPA.
Chris opened with, “What’s the difference for you brewing a North East style IPA versus, say, Hop Gusher?” “The changes are subtle but they make a big difference,” he replied humbly. He continued, “You’re writing all this crap down again, aren’t you? Damn it, I hate this part!”
He explained to us that they brewed 10 barrels this go after a pilot batch that was overwhelmingly successful. As they mentioned during our big write up with them, they’re happy to dump beer and start again when it’s not right, but thankfully, for all the juice-fiends coming out of the woodwork lately, that’s not the case this time!
Nick was late because he came from visiting with Seth at Copperhead. As a show of how much of a community Houston craft beer is among the brewers and owners, Seth had asked Nick to bring a bottle of Copperhead’s King of Terrors as a gift to the SpindleTap crew, and you can see Garrison grabbing for it eagerly below.
Now to the actual beer: the artwork for Houston Haze NEIPA is purple and pink with refineries and the Houston skyline in the background, but you won’t see much of the artwork just yet. They have some stickers for the cans, but no tap handles made as of right now.
Upon pouring, the color of this Houston Haze NEIPA is orange and haaaaazy as can be. The color is perfect. The kind of thing that probably made Shaun cringe. The mouthfeel is creamy and juicy, and the carbonation is crisp, filled with tiny bubbles like champagne, but it’s juicy!
Houston Haze NEIPA smells of pineapples and grapefruit, oh so tropical with a tiny hint of grain. The smell parlays perfectly to the flavor.
You add that juicy mouthfeel with the carbonation and citrusy flavor and Houston Haze NEIPA is like a mimosa, but BETTER.
It starts off sharp and smooth just like real juice might, and once it sits on the palette, it’s quiet, resting in wait. BOOM! Then the finish comes through, juicy and fruity and citrusy with grapefruit notes and mild floral hop flavor and bitterness on the aftertaste. 85% of this beer happens on the finish, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Houston Haze NEIPA is (so far) the best in the city, compared to Baa Baa’s Cow Jumped Over the Moon and B-52’s Wheez the Juice, which isn’t even billed as an NEIPA, although characteristically it fits in the conversation.
This is a five star beer. Period.
Houston Haze NEIPA definitely exceeded expectations. I knew it’d be good, but I didn’t expect it to be this good.
Friday is the release for Houston Haze NEIPA. Nobody’s gonna have this on tap. You might see this at a few accounts around town on the next go-round, but for now, it’s only at SpindleTap. Don’t sleep on this beer. Go get some. They will sell out. Especially since there were so many people there today covering it. You’ve been warned.
Garrison suggested that Honey Hole tastes better after drinking Houston Haze, although it’s not his favorite beer. He ran to the taproom and grabbed us each a little sample to experiment with. After trying a few sips of Honey Hole, he said, “F— pairing beer with food. Pair beer with beer!” We were mixed on our feelings about that as a team, but it is worth the try if you head over to SpindleTap on Friday.
SpindleTap Houston Haze is exactly what I was looking for in my hunt for the juice. Everybody else’s so far has been good, but these guys have set the bar. While they haven’t historically been known for the boldest beers in town, they’re definitely pushing the envelope and I’m a firm believer that this is just a small indicator of things to come. Mark my words.
Anybody else planning to head out there on Friday? Let us know what you think in the comments below! Beers to you, Houston!