I know the rain, wind, and fog doesn't necessarily indicate it, but spring is upon us. How do I know this? Well, for one, I own a calendar. But for two, I can turn on the TV and watch—hell yeah—baseball.
Last weekend I did just that. I walked into Texas Leaguer Brewing Co., ordered a beer, and glanced at the television to see a live spring training game. I didn't even care that it was the Red Sox playing the Yankees. It was baseball! Baseball!
Obviously, Texas Leaguer is the right venue to watch baseball. The brewery is named after a bloop hit that falls in a so-called "no-man's-land" between the outfield and infield, while the taproom is called "the beerpark." The beers are named after baseball terms, the tap list board looks like an old-time scoreboard, and the new-release program is called "the farm system," named after the group of youngsters awaiting a chance to play in the majors. It's perfect.
So what's the right beer for enjoying a game at the beerpark? I'll probably turn back to 2 Hopper, a solid, down-the-middle IPA at 6.4 percent ABV. This dry-hopped beer has El Dorado and Cascade hops, and while the aroma is resinous—along with tropical with notes of pineapple—the taste strikes a nice balance between bitter (an impressive 67 IBUs) and smooth with a creamy and pleasing mouthfeel. It reminds me just a little of Sixpoint Bengali, an eminently drinkable IPA that can set you up for bigger, bolder flavors.
If you don't care for a light beer while watching the 'Stros, a beer like 2 Hopper can really do the trick. Just remember moderation—remember, we're all in spring training.
Explanation of ratings: 9.5-10: as good as the best beer in America; 9-9.4: the best beer in Houston; 8-8.9: among the better beers in Houston; 7-7.9: really good beer; 6-6.9: try this beer at least once; 5-5.9: if you’re stuck, this won’t hurt; 3-4.9: among the lowest-quality beers in Houston; 0-2.9: as bad as the worst beer in America