10 Feb B52 Wheez the Juice Citra Mosaic
B52 Wheez the Juice Citra Mosaic
Hazy Pale Ale
Packaging: Draft, 4 pack 16 ounce cans, delivered by Hop Drop
This is a coming of age story. Hey Houston, AWOOOO!
March 3, 2017 – I remember it like it was yesterday. My wife and I sat beneath the Conroe canopy that was B52’s all outdoor taproom while our son played patiently. Waiting for our turn to grab a few 4 packs, we sat and waited with one of my absolute favorite people, Leo from SpindleTap. We enjoyed some Wheez the Juice on tap while he and I hatched up a plan to get my wife to enjoy some beer. Despite trying hundreds, she’s really not a big fan of beer, and one of the beertenders offered her a Payload Pils Lemon Shandy. In her exact words, “I don’t hate it.” Leo, it worked! Kinda…
It was a simpler time.
Houston’s beer recognition had yet to bubble on the national stage aside from Saint Arnold and maybe Southern Star.
Baa Baa Brewhouse was the first to brew an “NEIPA” and actually call it that just days before, and B52 was hot on their heels with Wheez the Juice. The team and I were a bit curious as to why B52 called it a NEIPA style categorically, but on the labels, they called it a Pale Ale.
Once we tasted it, we totally mellowed out about the semantics and just enjoyed the fact that Houston now had the hops.
As the sun set, we all finally got our cans. I just had to finish my pint, and we could hit the road with our bounty.
Why does my memory paint this evening so vividly?
After all the beers, all the releases, all the times I’ve planted my butt on a weathered pine picnic table with family and friends… what made B52 Wheez the Juice conjure up such a powerful picture in my mind nearly 2 years later?
This explosion of hops was one of the first of it’s kind in Houston, or at least the first to draw a huge crowd that could take a handful of cans home. It was a bit crude at the time, yes, but aside from a few trades and travels, we didn’t completely know what fresh New England IPAs tasted like.
Baa Baa’s Cow Jumped Over the Moon was great, but it was assertively bitter for the style. SpindleTap hadn’t cranked out Houston Haze yet, and Ingenious wasn’t even a thing. Whole Foods Market Brewing was still a bit of a diamond in the rough. It was the first time a big can release was done for a hazy IPA, and there was something oddly exciting about that wait even though I refused to do it ever again.
It meant Houston was taking beer to the next level. We’d already grown far from our cave-man days, but we weren’t quite full-on gentlemen yet – at least not as it related to beer.
It was cool to be there that evening, and each new batch of Wheez the Juice reminds me of it. This Citra Mosaic version is a reiteration of the OG, but all the experiments along the way have helped to dial this bad boy in to where it is now.
To begin, the label artwork has improved. If you didn’t know, Wheez the Juice pays homage to Sean Astin, Brendan Fraser, and Pauly Shore’s Encino Man from 1992. Each batch features the same painterly image of Pauly Shore wheezin’ the juice, and the colored band reads of the hops. This one’s purple.
Along the lines of appearance, the look of the beer has improved as well. This batch is the most straw-yellow, opaque haze I think I’ve ever seen. It looks like canned pineapple juice with a frothy, uniform head that clings to the glass like Frazier’s curls cling to his head. The first batch, was good, but… Well, see for yourself.
A few weeks ago, I ran through the history of Citra, and if you missed it then, now’s your chance to get another whiff. The Citra brings tangerine rind in the brightest way while the Mosaic brings an overarching tropical fruitiness. I could sit here and smell this beer all day and never take a sip. (Yo! B52, Wheez candles one day? Eh? Ehh??)
The fruitiness takes over my palette the same way it did my nose. Waves of Fruity Pebbles break into a lingering citrus-bitterness. The light body makes Wheez the Juice so crushable while the soft, pillowy mouthfeel keeps it from feeling watery. The malt profile doesn’t take the wheel; it’s not even riding shotgun. There’s just enough grains in this beer to give it some alcohol, and I love ’em light, so that’s alright by me!
With the heavy Citra additions, it reminds me a bit of the recent Ingenious C800 release, but the Mosaic is almost as prevalent. The super clean malt bill allows the hops to shine in a way that reminds me a bit of Lone Pint Yellow Rose, especially all the aromatic Mosaic.
You can catch a brain freeze too, but only if you act fast. If you’re not interested in getting out in Houston’s recent bipolar weather, just hit up the homies at Hop Drop for delivery because they have BOGO 50% off of 4 packs if you Wheez the Juice until tomorrow. (Valid until February 11th until 6:30 PM. Limit 1 50% off 4 pack per order. Discount will show in cart.) Plus use code “BEERCHRONICLE” for 10% off your beer delivery.
B52 Wheez the Juice Citra Mosaic
While Encino Man may have been the beginning of the end for Pauly Shore and Brendan Fraser, it marked the end of the beginning for B52. They’d been making good beer in a great spot for quite some time, but this was the firs time that beer nerds could really sink their teeth into something we weren’t used to here in Houston. A few years later, tater tots, popsicles, and beignets are now a regular line item on the BOM for brew days at B52, and we like to think that all started with Wheez.
This batch is absolutely stunning, and if you miss out on their remix of the OG, well, you’re missing out. What’d you think of it overall? Beers to you, Houston!