One year ago, 11 Below Brewing Company introduced to Houston its newest beer, Hipster Sauce. Calling something "hipster" nowadays seems more than a little late to the game, but I can't deny the cute can illustration of a monocle-wearing catfish riding a penny-farthing and reaching for a hop that's dangling off a fishing pole.

Also, it is pretty on point.

The can text reads "All the cool kids are drinking those IPAs these days," which is extremely obvious but has to be said by someone. Houston is now fully entrenched in hop madness; every brewery, and even those that accentuate other styles, features at least one heavy-hopped IPA. Beyond that, there's a community of haze chasers who seem to drink New England IPAs every day, scouring the city for whatever's next and lining up to buy cases. It's dizzying to keep up with, tiring out even the biggest beer lovers as they watch breweries try to top each other.

But this is to be expected as a city discovers hop potential, which makes 11 Below's Hipster Sauce an enjoyable change of pace, as well as a winking comment on the state of affairs in Hop-ston.

Brewed with Mosaic, Amarillo, and Citra (the it-girl hop that every NEIPA seems to have), Hipster Sauce has a moderately hazy body and lightly juicy flavor. I love that it's a complex combination of piney and tropical aromas, caramel sweetness, and refreshing hefeweizen spice (wheat malts really help here). It's not trying to be a West Coast or New England—it's kind of a loose collection of things that make an IPA good, and that's unique and fun. Plus, it works in a can—the kind of beer that's really nice to drink at home on a weekend afternoon.

As Houston's beer scene continues to quickly expand into new flavor territories, we'll get some stunners in all styles. To be sure, there are some outstanding NEIPAs and DIPAs out there, but having a solid little beer that sums up what's happening here is quite welcome. Cheers to Hipster Sauce.

Rating: 7.2/10


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.

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