First thing's first: Lone Pint's Yellow Rose is one pretty beer.

These days everyone is fixated on drinking beer out of cans, whether taller 16-ounce varieties or crowlers (the 32-ounce cans breweries fill to order, and patrons take home for drinking when it's still relatively fresh from the tap) that you can purchase from brewpubs. The 22-ounce bombers and even your traditional 12-ounce bottles are falling out of trend with the beer aficionado crowd. But if a restaurant has Yellow Rose on offer, they usually send out the IPA in its 16.9-ounce bottle with a pint glass, and even the trendiest beer lover should be just fine with that. With its aggressively curved shoulder, and label depicting Emily D. West (as per legend, the heroine of Sam Houston's Texian Army during the Battle of San Jacinto for her key pre-battle efforts), the beer is a treasure for the bottling alone. 

It doesn't stop there. When the liquid hits the pint glass, it casts a brilliant gold with an almost pure white head, Yellow Rose looks more inviting than most beers. Lone Pint has been crafting this brew up in Magnolia for a while now, and its reputation preceded it. The first time I tasted it I realized I was sipping a potential Texas classic, and that was before reading anything about the beer. It just drinks like it belongs in the Lone Star State's pantheon.

Yellow Rose, called a "smash" IPA because of its single malt (pilsner) and single hop (Mosaic) profile, is extremely balanced. I get a bitterness with mango, pine, and grapefruit, just as much as I get a smooth, crisp malt backbone, and an effervescent sweetness that's definitely more than just the Mosaic hops. It's one thing to throw a bunch of hops into the tank and dry-hop repeatedly, but I can't get enough of the skill it takes to fine tune a beer to this kind of outstanding balance.

That balance is what separates Yellow Rose from most IPAs in Texas. And while it's not quite on the level of national classics like Sierra Nevada IPA, Stone IPA, and Dogfish Head 60 and 90 Minute, it belongs near the top of Texas' beer chain. Maybe, as the scene grows ever larger and distinguishes itself, we'll look at Yellow Rose as an important milestone. Refreshing, surprising, citrusy, boldly different: This feels like what Texas IPA should taste like.

Rating: 9.2/10

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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