Hair of the Underdog: The Houston Astros and Stone Delicious IPA

In 2015, the Houston Astros got good well before everyone expected them to. Baseball pundits knew the talent was there, but no one was prepared for these young players to rise so quickly and play with such admirable consistency. A run to the playoffs surprised many, and the ‘Stros were innings away from advancing to the ALCS until things unraveled and Houston fell to Kansas City, the team that would go on to win the whole shooting match.

That was last season. This season, Houston fans are drinking a lot more Stone Delicious IPA. This appropriately, albeit pretentiously, titled India Pale Ale delivers a fair amount of alcohol (7.7%), has the traditional bitterness that one associates with a hoppy beer, and has such an enjoyable flavor that you can finish off three or four before taking a moment to say, “Are we really getting shut down by R.A. Dickey right now?”

At 41 years old, Blue Jays’ pitcher R.A. Dickey is one of the only baseball players who was alive before the sport was invented. On August 2, Dickey went seven innings against the Astros and gave up only a single run. Houston lost the game 2–1, and while the club is still over .500 and still an absolute playoff contender, it takes at least one strong beer to really feel optimistic about all that.

For Astros fans, it’s important to remember how much the team has improved and how there’s still a bevy of untapped potential. It’s just difficult to keep that in mind when one season feels like a letdown from the previous year, and even harder to focus on the positive when you’ve been pounding tasty craft beers while entranced by the opposing pitcher’s silly, slow-motion knuckle balls that leave all the Astros’ batters looking even drunker than you are. But that’s what happens when you’re enjoying Stone Delicious IPA. It tastes good and then you’re wasted.

The Astros went on to lose the next day’s game 3–1, with the Blue Jays scoring three runs on three separate homers. They then lost the series finale 4–1, which provided some nice runs-allowed symmetry. There’s still plenty of season left and every reason to believe that Houston can get back on track. There’s also every reason for Astros fans to stock up on beer that has a bold yet approachable floral flavor, because that might be the only thing that brings them happiness come late September.