Southern Star Brewing Half Nelson IPA by Tam



Half Nelson IPA

Southern Star Brewing Co.

Conroe, TX


ABV: 7.2%

IBUs: Undisclosed

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. Cans




Southern Star Brewing has always impressed me with their bold take on styles and their meticulous attention to detail. So, I wasn’t surprised when I found out that they were venturing into the popular trend of combining local art/artist with their brewing genius. If you haven’t figured it out, I am talking about their “Art Can Series” which began in 2015 with artist Mr. Michael Draper; Honesty of Reason IPA. This series has become such an instant favorite among Southern Star drinkers that it has transformed itself into a makeshift “Craft Beer Holiday” in which many loyal followers eagerly await the release of their latest concoction.

Following the most recent Art Can Series Beer “Garden State,” by Nicole Gavin, will be the cleverly concocted “Half Nelson IPA.” What makes this release unique is that the labels art work was created by Southern Star’s very own employee Keith Amador.

Half Nelson IPA, pours gold with little head retention but what makes this IPA standout from the rest is the overwhelming fruit aroma that is released once this can is opened. Half Nelson Sauvin hops and Half Mosaic Hops are the foundation of this tasty craft beer, hence the name, which could explain the floral notes that are hinted in the after taste. It has a slightly bitter sweet beginning but finishes with an appropriate bite. What I enjoyed most was the smooth non-dry mouthfeel that is all too rare among IPA’s.




The artwork was created with Chalk Pastel and depicts two Luchadores (Mexican Wrestlers) in colorful masks who are nearing the end of their match as one Luchador has the other immobilized in a half nelson and prepping his opponent to be thrown on his back; more than likely for a pin. I personally enjoy the additional “Easter Egg” style artwork such as the “Come and Take It” Texas Independent flag and the various craft beer shout outs. One of our authors, Nick, believes that the colorful masks each wrestler wears is a representation of the hops that this beverage was made with; you can read his review HERE. (Also, if you want to have Tony’s take on it you can read that HERE as well.)

I found Half Nelson IPA to be delicious and it doesn’t surprise me that Southern Star could accomplish multiple goals of creating a magnificent beverage as well as support community endeavors. This brew definitely had me pinned, but some craft drinkers may not be down for the count. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and as always “Beers to you, Houston!”

Tam Pham
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