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Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale by Tony

 

Pine Belt Pale Ale

Southern Star Brewing Company

Conroe, TX

American Pale Ale

ABV: 6.3%

IBUs: 50

Packaging: Draft, 12oz. Cans

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I decided to drink a few Pine Belt Pale Ale’s while I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family. For the last few years, we’ve shared the load, and ended up stressed out with cold food because nobody in the family really enjoys cooking like I do. Therefore, I volunteered to do it all from start to stop, and I knew I needed something to keep me from sweating to death as I ran around all morning. Pine Belt Pale Ale fit the bill perfectly! You can see above, I was trying to take a cool, creative shot with a pine tree in the background, as I dropped my can but not my glass. 🙂

Pine Belt Pale Ale is a bit aggressive for the style, but I still really enjoyed it. It’s a year round beer and suitably so as it’s refreshing enough to stand up to the Houston heat that fills 10 months of our calendars. APAs are typically a bit more gentle than IPAs when it comes to IBUs, ABV, and hop flavor, but this one breaks the rules. The lines are pretty blurry at times.

The blur can be seen in every factor: APAs are listed at 30-45 IBUs while American IPAs are 40-70. ABVs range from 4.5-6.2% (APA)/5.5-7.5% (American IPA). When it comes to stronger, more flavorful APAs or lighter American IPAs the difference is often whatever the brewery chooses to call it. I get asked that question every now and again, and I think I may want to write a post dedicated specifically to splitting the hairs.

But back to Pine Belt Pale Ale.

This beer starts off with a refreshing, subtle, piney hop profile right out of the gate, but it has a big malt nose. That transcends into a strong malt backbone with some sweetness, and then Pine Belt Pale Ale finishes strong with a pretty assertive hop bitterness that grows and lingers.

Pine Belt Pale Ale reminds me a bit of Brash EZ-7 because it too is an APA that’s a poster child for the blurred lines.

I’ve given Pine Belt Pale Ale 3.5 stars because it’s real good – somewhere between good and great.

Pine Belt Pale Ale pours a very cloudy amber, with little to no head with an average pour. As I drank it, I noticed the settling particles made way for a beer that grew in clarity as I neared the bottom of the glass and the lattice delicately flanked it all.

Pine Belt Pale Ale fell a little short of my expectations despite enjoying it. For some reason, I expected the “picture-perfect” Pale Ale, and this one wasn’t that. I think sometimes our ratings have as much to do with our expectations as they do with the actual quality of the beer. Still a good brew, though.

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The Pine Belt Pale Ale can above has seen a slight update. I haven’t seen the 16oz tall boys in a while. However on the 12oz cans, there’s a white Texas that the Pine Belt Pale Ale badge sits on top of. Aside from that, it’s a big Aggie maroon can with a big Southern Star logo at the top, and the familiar navy blue band around the top that says “FIRST TO CAN CRAFT IN TEXAS”.

Southern Star Pine Belt Pale Ale is fairly common in the HEB beer aisle, but you can find it in liquor and grocery stores all over town as well as on draft.

Pine Belt Pale Ale is a good beer for keeping you cool in the kitchen, and I really enjoyed it. It’s one of Southern Star’s staples, so I’m willing to bet you’ve had it before. What’d you think? Let us know in the comments below! As always, Beers to you, Houston.

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Tony D
tony.d@beerchronicle.com

Tony's an artist that loves craft brew almost as much as he does Houston. He's worked in the oil industry and owns a few small businesses. Tony isn't picky when it comes to beer types, as long as it's refreshing and sessionable.

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