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Astral Nebulous Pale Ale

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Astral Nebulous Pale Ale

Astral Brewing

Northside, Inside the Loop
Kolsch
ABV: 5%
IBUs: ?
Packaging: Draft, 4 pack 16 ounce cans, delivered by Hop Drop

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If you read about Astral Kraftwerk Kolsh already, then you know the back story about how they’ve been on our radar since day one. They stunned everybody with a surprise grand opening, and clearly there are more thirsty Houstonians than there are chairs in the taproom because Hop Drop didn’t waste any time signing these guys.

Astral Nebulous Pale Ale is a whole different story, though.

Nebulous, not to be confused with nefarious, means cloudy or hazy. Makes perfect sense for this hazy Pale Ale. However, if you dig a little deeper, it also means unclear, indistinct, or ill-defined.

All of the sudden, there’s a double entendre going on.

Furthermore, a nebula is an interstellar cloud of dust, hydrogen, helium and other gases in space. Since Astral means a resemblance to stars or connection to space, I think we may have a triple entendre on our hands here.

Nebulous because it’s hazy, literally. Also, hazy figuratively. And Nebulous in the astronomical sense.

So not only are these guys making picture perfect beers only a month in, they’re also being smart AF about it. I tell you HWHAT *Full Hank Hill voice* I sure do like me some Astral beers, y’all.

As the Bud Light ads of late have stated, craft beer is for the few. That’s probably because the many can’t grasp all those layers and then simultanesouly dig into a beer with actual, literal, layers like this one.

As my crowler of Astral Nebulous Pale Ale first splashed into my tulip, I knew I was in for something special – something not everyone could appreciate. The brite can featured info scribbled with Sharpie, so there wasn’t much in the way of labeling to discuss, but the visual of the beer set the tone appropriately.

But the pale, glowing, yellow-orange beer screamed Juiceton, Texas; it was as opaque as the forefathers that came before it. Simply put, Astral Nebulous Pale Ale looked exactly like a beer from SpindleTap, Baa Baa, B52, Whole Foods, or Ingenious. The ghost-white head was reminiscent of the moon’s surface with tiny craters of bubbles amidst the creaminess.

That head stuck around infinitely as each sip dripped citrus aromas. Aside from grapefruit and oranges, the aroma also has a tiny spicy character that pokes through.

As I took my first swallow of Astral Nebulous Pale Ale, I couldn’t help but continue to gush. Usually when I try my first few beers from a new brewery, I’m anticipating a few minor flaws. I aim to identify the issue, let the brewer know, and offer some constructive feedback that’ll allow them to immediately take the beer to the next level.

This leaves me looking like a fan boy of a month old brewery, and I’m not quite sure how that makes me feel.

It tastes terrific. Astral Nebulous Pale Ale drinks like a kaleidoscope of citrus flavors, and somehow they did it with only two hops – Citra and Idaho 7. I’ve tasted (and brewed with) enough Citra to identify much of it’s role in this beer, but Idaho 7, not so much.

Regardless, each sip reveals layers of lemon/lime on the start, tangerine mid-sip, and grapefruit on the finish. I can’t get enough of it. The super light mouthfeel is short of watery and maintains the pillowy expectations from something hazy with admirably light carbonation.

Astral Nebulous Pale Ale reminds me of several of Baa Baa’s lower ABV takes on the style. I know my guy Marcus is open to collabs. If commute and logistics aren’t too much of a hurdle, I can see some real magic coming.

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Considering they’re only a very seasoned month old at this point, Astral Nebulous Pale Ale isn’t going to be available on draft at every bar and brewpub around town just yet. Nope. You’re going to have to make the journey to their beautiful Northside taproom off of Shepherd, or you’re going to have to hop online and request a visit from the beer fairies – AKA the homies at Hopdrop. If you use the code “ASTRALBREW” you’ll save 10% on your home delivery of Astral Nebulous Pale Ale. Flying Saucer Downtown and Moon Tower had some kegs at one point, but I’d call ahead for sure.

I put in some overtime this week, and there’s a second review of an Astral beer – check out Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch.

  • My Overall Rating
4.5

Astral Nebulous Pale Ale

Overall, I’m stunned at how great this beer is. Yes it’s thin, but it’s a 5% Pale Ale. Anybody trying to take points away in that regard is tripping. All the aroma, all the flavor, and all of the other aspects are spot on. Similar to their Kolsch, I just can’t believe this is a month old brewery. Astral is going to continue stunting on Houston palettes, and we’re here for it. What about you? What’d you think of Astral’s first month in the H? Let us know in the comments below, or rate Nebulous Pale Ale with a single click of the stars below. Beers to you, Houston!

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5 (1 vote)
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Anthony Gorrity
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Anthony's a Houston native, a graphic designer, and a UH Coog that loves good beer almost as much as he does his city. He's an ex-oilfield guy that spends is days pushing pixels for us, breweries, churches, and one of Houston's fastest-growing companies. Fueled by sessionable IPAs and gangster rap, he's ticked his way through H-Town, rocking nothing but the dopest on-sale Nikes he can find. When he's not writing for us, he's with his family or rooting for the Rockets.

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