Archive for February, 2011

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Day #58 – Shiner Light Blonde

February 28, 2011

The week of Shiner continues today with what could quite possibly be the worst beer of the week. Shiner came out with this beer literally 1 week ago. I’ve only heard of 2 of my friends that have tried it and they laughed their butt off about it. It is classified as a Pale Lager, which is a new style for my blog….and for a very good reason. Pale Lagers are the same style as all the other watery beers of the world. Bud…Coors…Miller….all pale lagers. I’ve intentionally steered clear of this style because it is very hard to find a quality made one, and one that meets my craft beer standards. I’m not sure why Shiner decided they needed ANOTHER bud light clone but here it sits. They have released several other beers that are very similar to this and they never went over well. Guess they decided they needed another.

Being the nice guy I am, I took this beer over to share with some friends….that way I only have to drink a small portion of the bottle! (insert evil laugh here).

Shiner Light Blonde

Well here we are. When this bottle was brought out of the fridge, the group erupted in groans. Apparently they aren’t too excited about a pale lager, regardless of who it’s from. I poured it in my glass and scrambled for my phone to take a picture of the head but by the time I pulled up the camera the head had all but disappeared. Oh well. It HAD a fizzy white head with a very clear straw appearance for the body.

The aroma is not very good. Kinda trashy, old grains, slight souring notes and gym socks. Not fresh gym socks though. The sweaty kind that you forget in your gym bag until you open it up after sitting in the garage for several weeks.

Flavor is tons of corn and rice notes, with watery notes and metallic characteristics. I’m sorry, I know I don’t often trounce a beer I’m reviewing, especially from my home team but….this is crap. Don’t bother trying this. Look to some other of my reviews this week for a better Shiner beer. I’ll make up for it on Wednesday.

Cheers?

EDIT: Let me add an additional note here since this beer is searched for LITERALLY every day online. If you are a fan of Bud, Coors and Miller and are wanting a craft alternative then by all means, TRY THIS BEER! The only reason I am so negative against it is that I do not really care for beers of this style. It’s just the way it is.

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Day #57 – Shiner Bock

February 27, 2011

Prepare yourselves for the epitome of TEXAS BEER!!!  In fact, this beer is so amazing and life changing, I’ve decided to devote an entire week to the “Little Brewery” down in Shiner, Texas.  I will admit right now that I am super biased to this brewery and will look past it’s faults no matter what.  🙂 Well, at least for today.  For the 6 days, (excluding Tuesday) I will be reviewing the heck out of Shiner beers.  I bought a mix pack and have officially dubbed this, THE WEEK OF SHINER!!

Shiner Bock

Shiner Bock was literally one of the first 3 beers I ever tried.  I loved it when I first tried it and have made it a faithful standby anywhere I go.  While it honestly is not a great beer, and doesn’t even begin to touch some of the amazing craft beers that are available to consumers today, I have a bit of an affinity for this one and for nostalgia purposes refuse to give it a bad review.  Here’s my completely biased and slanted review on this guy…

Spoetzl Brewing Company has been in business since 1909.  Their Bock is currently their biggest selling flagship beer, and has been for several years.  It was introduced in 1913 as a seasonal offering but didn’t become a year round offering until 1973.  Don’t be mistaken!  Even though it says bock on the label, this beer is actually classified as an American Dark Lager.  A true bock is much heavier, thicker in malts and higher in alcohol.  I am sure that originally this beer was closer to it’s German roots, but over time and due to marketing ploys, has drifted further and further away from the true style.  Either way, now it is a smooth drinkable beer that causes Texans everywhere to get misty-eyed and spontaneously burst out in a rousing version of “Deep in the Heart of Texas”.  Wait I haven’t even reviewed it yet!  Guess I should open the bottle first before talking about how great it is…

This beer pours a very clear dark orange color that might even have touches of red in it.  The white head that appears disappears just as quickly as it shows up.

The aroma is lots of grains, dusty smelling even with a faint hint of sweetness.  There is a sense of rice or corn in this also.  I’ve got a feeling that they use adjuncts in the making of this beer.

Flavor is slightly sweet with some soured grain notes.  Faint hints of metal can also be detected.  The finish is lightly bitter and bready.

This beer, while not being great is awesome at the same time.  It is perfect for chillin in the backyard with some buddies talking about life, or for floating down the river in a tube with a beer in hand.  As mediocre as this beer is, I will always return to it and give it my love.

Cheers to you Shiner!  Here’s to another century of Texas beer!

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Day #56 – Live Oak Hefe Weizen

February 26, 2011

Decided to get out of the apartment today as the weather feels amazing out to. As soon as my friends get here, we’ve got a beer garden patio, dark dark beer and a cigar waiting for us. This will most certainly be an amazing day.

I decided to go with a Texas, draught only beer today that is also a new style for my blog. It’s from Live Oak Brewery based out of Austin and is classified as a German Hefeweizen. A Hefeweizen is basically just a foreign wheat beer. They are often times served with a slice of fruit (orange or lemon) that is used to accompany the already existent citrus elements and hide the dry nature of wheat on the finish.

Let’s see how this one pairs…

Live Oak Hefe Weizen

Generally when a beer is served with fruit, I recommend trying it without the slice first and then added after you have a good idea of what the base beer tastes/smells like.

It pours a very cloudy/hazy light gold color with a foamy white head. The slice of lemon accentuates this appearance.

The aroma is of dry grain, sweet fruit which is a mix of banana, citrus and lemon. There is a fair bit of yeast in this as well.

The flavor is also bready sweet with a big taste of banana and other fruit. There is a slight sense of spicyness like coriander but only in the slightest.

Adding the lemon provides a lovely citrus tart that is also balanced with the flavor of candy cigarettes. You know those kind you used to get from the ice cream man as a kid that blew smoke? And when you heard the ice cream truck coming you would tear through the house like a madman looking for a freaken dollar? I swear, wanna teach a kid a sense of urgency? Send the ice cream man by. But then you ended up puffing the candy cigarette, and you know they only have 1 good puff in them, so if your friends weren’t watching when you did it you flipped out? That gum wasn’t even that great either, but that never seemed to deter me. Yeah….this beer tastes like that. Holy crap what a tangent!

Good times, good times indeed. Cheers!

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Day #55 – Samuel Adams Revolutionary Rye Ale

February 25, 2011

Ok I promise I won’t buy any more Sam Adams beers until at least March.

Samuel Adams Revolutionary Rye Ale

This is a fairly new creation from Boston Beer Company, and was distributed in their most recent mix pack.  It is a pale ale that is brewed with significant amounts of rye for the base grain.  The addition of this much rye changes the beer from a pale ale style to Specialty Grain.  The alcohol level is at 5.5%.

This beer pours an attractive clear rustic orange with reddish highlights, and sports a frothy white head.

The aroma is grainy, with large notes going towards the rye, as well as a bit of spicy hops and caramel sweetness.

The flavor is bready and rye, with a substantial hop spice filling in right after this.  It finishes a bit dry but the rye notes continue on with some bitter spice.

Hooray for me finally making it through all my Samuel Adams beers!  I can’t wait for the next mix pack!!!

Cheers!

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Day #54 – St. Sebastiaan Golden (Yeast Hoist)

February 24, 2011

Aliases.  It is sad that this happens but sometimes it does.  An aliased beer is an already existing beer that is renamed and sold under a new label.  So then you have 2 beers taking up shelf space that are in essence the exact same thing.  This is done for a variety of reasons.  Sometimes the already existing name or label is not acceptable for a target audience or a state with difficult label laws.

Other times an alias will be created for contract reasons.  If a local restaurant or business wants a beer brewed specifically for them, but don’t necessarily want to pay for the creation of a new recipe, a new label will be created and sold for this purpose.  (Rahr aliases the one I reviewed yesterday for sale at the Texas Rangers ballpark under the name “Texas Red”)

And then there’s my least favorite reason, for cheap monetary gain and to take up more shelf space.  The larger macrobreweries will often times do this to buy out more shelf space at a retailer.  More shelf space for them means less shelf space for the “little guys”.  It sucks, but it happens.

The beer today is a big maze of confusion.  Allow me to take a big breath before this run-on sentence.  It is labeled as “Yeast Hoist”, but the beer inside the bottle is actually the St. Sebastiaan Golden Ale,  and it is actually brewed by the same company that makes Duvel and Maredsous, Duvel Moortgat, but is marketed and sold through the Brouwerij Sterkens in Meer, Belgium, WHICH has actually ceased to exist as an operating brewery, but the product name is still in use at the Scheldebrouwerij.

In short, I don’t know what the Hell I am drinking tonight.

This is what I think is inside this bottle:

This beer was relabeled in honor of a design by American cartoonist Ron Rege Jr.  Yeast Hoist is Ron’s name for his sporadically published series of mini-comics, as well as being an expression for raising a bottle of brew.  Apparently he was commisioned by a Texas alcohol distributor to create the label.  I’m so beyond confused and just want to drink this.  Ugh.

St. Sebastiaan Golden

This beer is classified as a Golden Ale/Blonde Ale and rings in at an above average 7.4%.  It also comes in a bottle that is earthenware and is labeled as “1 pint, 0.9 ounces”.  I am glad to be enjoying that extra .9 of an ounce.

This beer opened as a gusher.  This means as soon as you open the bottle it foams up very quickly and begins to spill over the top.  I was going to take a picture but it was about to go everywhere so I saved it and poured it quickly.  Sometimes this can be a sign of infection, in which wild yeast have taken a hold of the beer and continue fermenting it in the bottle.  Several types of Belgian yeast can cause this too, so hopefully this beer has not been ruined.

It pours a cloudy golden orange color with a very tall, bubbly head.  The carbonation continues to emerge from the bottom of the glass, which I poured it into my Duvel tulip glass with laser etching in the bottom, so this is expected.

The aroma is nice, full of banana notes, yeasty character, some other fruit and dusty bread.

The flavor is spicy fruit, some citrus notes and clove, freeze dried banana and a lingering tingle over the palate.  It finishes dry with a bitterness that stems from the grainy elements of this beer.

Well it’s thankfully not infected and it’s an interesting beer for sure, but the aftertaste is a bit intense.  The sweet flavors that are in the aroma and immediate flavor are taken over by a lingering bitterness.  However if this beer were to accompany your dinner like mine is about to, then it would be just fine.  Hey at least I get to keep the bottle!

Cheers!

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Day #53 – Rahr & Sons Buffalo Butt

February 23, 2011

Another Texas brew today, and it’s from Rahr.  Now this beer is apparently the same beer as the Rahr & Sons Red….even though I’m not entirely convinced of this.  They are both labeled differently and are sold and differing prices even.  I’ve asked the guys at Rahr about it and they did mention that there are lots of similarities, including the grain bill (meaning the base ingredients) but they did say that there were some small differences.  Perhaps I’ll review the Red version of their beer and compare the reviews?  Sounds like a plan.  Anyways this is what is known as an “alias beer”.  I will get more into aliased beers on Thursday, when I am planning on reviewing one.

On to the beer….

Rahr & Sons Buffalo Butt

The story behind the name on this beer is reported to be from 3 ranching brothers who were sharing a beer together, when one of the brothers remarked that an ice-cold beer was the only thing that allowed him to forget about the daily sight of a Buffalo’s….butt.  A brewmaster who overheard the conversation loved the name, and there you have it!

This beer is classified as a Vienna Lager and boasts 4.7% ABV.

This beer pours a very clear, light orange color with a tall white head.  The picture shows it to be a bit darker than it actually was.  Thankfully it is nowhere NEAR the color of a buffalo’s……butt.

It has a fairly standard bready sweetness aroma of caramel malts.   It also has a soft floral touch of gentle hops that I am beginning to associate with Rahr beers.  I wonder if they have a house strain of yeast.

The flavor is very bready and grainy, with a light sweetness that touches near the end of the swallow.  It has a fairly refreshing quality that is nice and tasty.  It also has a bit of a bitter flavor that pushes through the finish.  On tap I remember this being more pronounced, so I’m definitely recommending the bottled version more.

Cheers!

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Day #52 – Redhook CopperHook Spring Ale

February 22, 2011

What better way to celebrate National Margarita day than with a beer review!  Day 52 comes as a trip to my favorite watering hole, the Ginger Man.  I am trying their featured beer today, (as well as keeping the glass) Redhook CopperHook.

Redhook CopperHook Spring Ale

Redhook Ale Brewery is based out of Seattle, Washington.  Their annual production is around 360,000 barrels and distribute widely in our area.  The CopperHook is their spring seasonal and is classified as an Amber Ale.

This beer pours a clear light orange color with a creamy looking whitish head. Fairly standard appearance for an Amber Ale although the creamy head might be attributed to the tap here.

The aroma is definitely hops and lightly toasted grains. I also pick up a small bit of caramel sweetness. There isn’t too much going on in the aroma but it’s enough to provide a nice preview of the flavor.

Flavor is immediately sweet with a candy-like flavor. Almost reminds me of the candy necklaces we would get as kids. After that follows a lightly tangy hop citrus flavor that morphs into a dry grain finish. There is a hint of metallic notes on the finish but it’s masked fairly well by the linger of hops and a sweet bitterness.

This is much better than I remember when I first tried it, granted that was years ago. This is also the first time I’ve had this beer on draught which might account for some of my change in appreciation for this.

Cheers!