Beer LoveThe Truth About Half-Life

September 26, 2018by Misty Sanford6

We were amateurs when we made Half-Life in 2012. Before HL, we were mostly still recreating what our beer heroes already brewed. Their recipes were our templates that we then tried to improve and make our own. No shame in admitting that. It is all part of the creative process when you’re still learning.

The exercise of appropriating and then improving made us realize that something was missing. Something wasn’t being made at that time. And it was an IPA that we could drink all day.

When we developed Half-Life, we wanted to reduce the bitterness but maintain the flavor and aroma of the hops. Something that wasn’t being done at the time. To keep the malt and bitterness in balance, we reduced the malt. But it ended up having a kind of watery mouthfeel, so that’s when we added the wheat. Wheat beer is hazy because of the proteins in the wheat. That is also what gives it the soft mouthfeel.  Hazy beers today typically use oats for this effect.

Half-Life was born, but it didn’t fit into a BJCP style, which made it surprisingly hard to sell when we commercially launched in 2016.  We tried to call it a dry hopped wheat at the launch. Bad idea. That’s one way to scare off both your wheat drinkers and IPA fans. And bar owners and managers couldn’t figure out which tap to put it on. Was it an IPA or was it a wheat?

Several months after releasing it, the NE IPA style started to pop up in forums. There weren’t rules yet or even an official style, so we rebranded it NE IPA. And it worked. I think it was the first in Texas. Within a month, HL became our best seller, and we couldn’t maintain inventory.

While it definitely is not a true-to-style Hazy IPA today, the beer that is pure happenstance still nicely fits the category and our need for an all-day IPA.

Misty Sanford

6 comments

  • Dianna

    September 26, 2018 at 8:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing that background. It’s my favorite to date, but not counting it as an only from y’all

    Reply

    • Misty Sanford

      September 27, 2018 at 4:08 pm

      There are more new favorites to come!

      Reply

  • Neal

    September 29, 2018 at 2:20 am

    One six pack of Half Life wasn’t enough so I went shopping today. But Lone Star was sold out and I grabbed the last one at Total. So congrats guys you are selling out stores within about 10 days of hitting the shelves!

    Just don’t please follow the lead of a certain brewery near downtown that floods the shelves with what becomes stale beer. Keep the retailers with a steady flow of HL but always wanting more.

    Reply

    • Misty Sanford

      September 30, 2018 at 8:59 pm

      That’s our plan! Beer quality is immensely important to us, so will always make sure it is fresh.
      And thank you for the kind comment. We love hearing from people!

      Reply

  • Justin Stryker

    October 20, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    I don’t care what category it fits in. Half-Life is a damn good beer and hands down one of the best in DFW!

    Reply

    • Misty Sanford

      October 22, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Thank you, Justin! We agree. 🙂

      Reply

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