Legends Series By SpinleTap Brewery Review and Drone Tour!
June 7th, 2018
Houston is a sports city (and a beer city!) and we’ve had our fair share of great sports moments with multiple hometown heroes.
Houstonians remember Astro greats Joe Niekro, Cesar Cedeno, Jimmy Wynn, Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio…the list goes on. On the gridiron, we had Oilers stars Bruce Matthews, Warren Moon, Mike Munchak and Lawrence Marshall (although he might be better known for beating those “big city prices”). Then comes Space City that took flight with Rocket greats as Calvin Murphy, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Ralph Sampson…years later Clutch City was born with Robert Horry, Kenny Smith, Sam Cassell and Clyde the Glide Drexler. (Honorable Mention to Sleepy Floyd)
They were our heroes, but as Babe Ruth said it best in The Sandlot, “Heroes get remembered, but Legends never die…”And Houston’s Legends are none other than Nolan Ryan (RHP, Astros, 80-88) Hakeem Olajuwon (C, Rockets, 84-99) and Earl Campbell (RB, Oilers, 78-84).
We show our support for Houston Legends in many different ways; Baseball cards, figurines, posters, t-shirts, bobbleheads, framing jerseys, etc. Chances are, if you love sports and grew up in Houston, you probably owned something, that honored someone even in that list above.
But when paying homage to Legends wearing a #34 jersey just doesn’t cut it. A true sports fan will know, all three of these Legends wore the #34. The series could have been called the #34 Series. Interestingly enough, the bottom of the cans all say “#34 Series” along with the date the beer was canned.
SpindleTap Brewery released its Legends Series on May 19th, a 3 beer IPA homage to The Dream (Hopkeem), The Ryan Express (Juiceton), and The Tyler Rose (High Knees) – each with their own original artwork can.
All of these beers are New England IPAs (also known as a NEIPA or Hazy IPA). We will not get into the debate (or argument) regarding what constitutes a NEIPA vs a Hazy IPA but use the terms interchangeably. Some other time we can review the case that can be made to say that all NEIPAs are hazy, but not all Hazy IPAs are NEIPAs. Believe it or not, some people don’t even believe these beers should have their own style. I don’t seem to remember the same arguments being made against West Coast IPAs.
Note: Next to each beer name, you will see the name of the author. All four guys had each of the beers and on a review this size, we typically take a divide and conquer approach.
Hopkeem Hazy DIPA Reviewed by Todd Willis
Like many of SpindleTap’s popular releases, Hopkeem is a Hazy IPA, and this one a Double IPA (DIPA).
IBUs: Unknown – As with all of SpindleTap’s NEIPAs, the IBUs are not posted.
Hops: Motueka and Vic Secret
This time around the chosen hops are from the Southern Hemisphere: Motueka (New Zealand) and Vic Secret (Australia).
Houston Beer Scene Thoughts:
When you pour this beer, the aroma isn’t as strong as Juiceton, but it is stronger than High Knees. As expected the aroma is juicy citrus.
The flavor expands on the juicy citrus by adding tropical fruit notes. While this isn’t dissimilar to many of the hazy brews that seem to be released almost daily in the Houston area, the flavor from the hops stand out above other recent offerings, making this my current favorite of the newest round of hazy brews released this month.
The head on this beer is a nice, white, foamy head that disappears fairly quickly.
Cans sold out quickly on release day at the brewery, There may be a few kegs made available around town. Hopefully you have a friend with a can or two who is willing to share. If not, keep your eye out for the next release of Hopkeem.
I really enjoyed this beer and would give it a 4.5/5 rating.
Juiceton Reviewed by Peter Muzyka (Championship Edition — which is the same as the previous edition, except this one is for Champions), New England Double IPA (DIPA)
Hops: Citra, Mosaic, Simcoe and Columbus
Houston Beer Scene Thoughts:
Juiceton is a damn fine beer and it fits pretty much everything I look for in the style. Also, the Championship Edition can looks pretty sweet. I am a huge fan of Nolan Ryan, so I might be a little biased. Don’t hold this against me, but I’m from DFW and I was at the Rangers game when Nolan beat the tar out of Robin Ventura. That was definitely the most memorable sports game I attended as a child. Anyway, back to Juiceton. What is better than the can art? It’s when you open the can and start pouring.
As you pour your Juiceton, the aroma hits you. The nose on Juiceton is much stronger than that of Hopkeem of High Knees. You get a little bit of stone fruit notes, but even more citrus and piney notes.
The stone fruit came across stronger on the tongue than the nose and I got more notes of nectarine. The citrus was also more defined and was straight up orange juice. If you are little hesitant to get into NEIPAs because they are too sweet and not bitter (Yes, like we have all heard IPAs are supposed to be), then the piney flavor from the hops will make you happy.
There was nice foamy white head on the beer when it was poured, but it didn’t stick around. A moderate amount of lacing was noticeable.
The best way to get this beer in your mouth is to keep an eye out on SpindleTap’s Instagram (but you should be doing that anyway). This beer is released, normally through presale online, with some usually held back for walk-ups at the brewery on release day. Some will get kegged and make it out to bars, but none of these beers will be easy to find in the wild.
Overall, Juiceton is a solid beer. 4.5/5
High Knees Reviewed by Bryce Allen
New England Double IPA (DIPA)
Hops: Zythos and Azzaca
Houston Beer Scene Thoughts:
SpindleTap’s High Knees gets high marks from me for Legendary Series. I first had this offering on tap during the release party at the brewery. After selfishly finishing the four-pack I picked up at the release, High Knees continued to impress with each can. I had previously tried the Juiceton and immediately realized why so many were racing about it. I also thought that Hopkeem was a well-crafted brew that was very enjoyable watching the Rockets nearly take out the Warriors (as local radio put it, “a hamstring away”). While tastes are ultimately left to the beholder, I found High Knees to narrowly beat out the others of the series.
The aroma of this beer was very soft. You could smell the juiciness of the beer, but the hops were not as apparent on the nose.
I will admit, as much as I enjoyed this beer, my palate could not identify the hop varieties. The fruit and citrus notes brought to mind a lot of possibilities but, in the end, I had to do a little research as these are hops I have a harder time identifying. To my amazement, only two hops were used to make this delicious fruit bomb: Zythos and Azzaca. It makes sense given the pineapple notes that I kept getting are features of those hops. High Knees gives you a strong offering of tropical and citrus flavors throughout without being overwhelmingly sweet. Its full body but smooth finish left me wishing I had more than a four-pack.
The head on High Knees was just like Juiceton and Hopkeem; white and foamy that disappears fairly quickly.
I enjoyed this beer very much and look forward to it being brewed again. Solid 4/5 rating.
Beer Hall of Fame
Well, the beer has been consumed. Notes and pictures were taken. If one of these beers is going to the Beer Hall of Fame, based on our own preferences, Juiceton is the winner. Of the 4 of us, Juiceton was the favorite for Peter, Todd and myself. Bryce enjoyed High Knees the best. By this tally, you should not get the impression that we did not like Hopkeem, we had to pick from three Legends for crying out loud!
As stated previously, keep an eye on SpindleTap’s Instagram for information on future beer releases.
Check out the drone video we produced from our day at the Legends Series release, and be on the lookout for more of our videos!
The Houston Beer Scene Team