my family and i had a long weekend. The drive from Houston to Austin, then back to Houston can really wear you out if you do it enough times, and by late Sunday afternoon, I was pretty worn by it all.
Since we were just tired enough (but not tired enough to go out), and we had no food in the house, we decided to visit a brewery with a pizza food truck. That took us to Great Heights, home to the Purple Flour (very good New York-style pizza, by the way) and, of course, good beer.
We opted for the highest ABV beer on tap, and it happened to be the brewery's latest New England IPA, Fruity Pellets (6 percent ABV). It's dry-hopped with Amarillo, Mosaic, and Citra hops, which means that strong grapefruit, melon scent comes through. And because it's brewed with flaked oats, Fruity Pellets has that hazy look New Englands should carry.
But is it good?
In a word, yes. I recently called Spindletap's 5% Tint the most accessible, introductory hazy beer in the city. I think Fruity Pellets is a bit more potent and a shade better, overall. It lacks that upfront fruity punch I crave with a New England IPA, and just misses that perfectly dank hop taste on the back end that borders on hop burn but never gets there. Here the hops aren't so pushy. That's fine—I'd rather NEIPAs be more nuanced than powerful, because that's when the burn comes, and then it's tough to drink.
Fruity Pellets is a perfectly down-the-middle NEIPA that maybe doesn't go full-bore, but doesn't necessarily need to. Essentially, this is the beer tired hop-loving parents drink when they want to drink beer.
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.