930-931. Two from Spoetzl

Back in college Shiner Bock was my go to beer. When I wasn't trying something or drinking something terrible and cheap I was likely drinking Shiner. Now I've tried more, and better beers and Shiner seems pretty middle of the road, but I always have a few when I go back to Texas. It's "comfort beer".

Spoetzl Brewery may not produce exciting or innovative beers, but they consistently brew above average lagers with crossover appeal. I knew quite a few people in college who wouldn't drink "dark beer," but would gladly drink a Shiner. Shiner probably won't be a beer epiphany for most people. At worst it's a step above Bud Light. At best it can be a gateway beer, and it's brewed locally (if you're in Texas).

Beginning about 4 years ago Spoetzl started releasing limited edition anniversary beers starting at 96 and counting up to their centennial, which was released last month. In general their anniversary beers have been better than their flagship, and one, the Black Lager, has made its way into Spoetzl's permanent line-up.

I missed Shiner 97 when it was first released so I brought a six-pack over to Win's house sometime the week before Christmas. Ward also brought over a pack of Shiner Holiday Cheer.

930. Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Spoetzl Brewery
Alcohol: 4.90%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Schwarzbier, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 3.5 | Smell: 4.0 | Taste: 3.5 | Mouthfeel: 4.0 | Drinkability: 4.5

Overall: 3.75

Pours a clear brown, and is topped is by a creamy, beige head that fades quickly, leaving a persistent film on the surface f the beer. The aroma is roasty with undercurrents of chocolate and dark fruit.

Toasty malts quickly move into their darker, roastier counterparts. There's a light, sweet undertone throughout the beer that grows into a raisiny, chocolate character before moving into a roasty bitterness in the finish. Medium-bodied and smooth with moderate carbonation.

Tasty, probably Shiner's best year-round beer.

931. Shiner Holiday Cheer

Beer Stats:
Brewery: Spoetzl Brewery
Alcohol: 5.40%
Serving: Bottle, 12 oz.
Style: Dunkelweizen, BJCP Style Guide

Appearance: 4.0 | Smell: 3.5 | Taste: 4.0 | Mouthfeel:4.0 | Drinkability: 3.5

Overall: 3.85

This holiday beer is brewed with peaches and pecans, an interesting combination. Pours a clear, dark, copper color. A thick, light brown head fades to a sudsy film leaving sheets of lace. Peaches dominate aroma masking most others. The combine with the light maltiness to give a candied impression. There might be slight notes of pecan, but it's hard to tell if that's the label planting things in my head.

Carmel malts, and a definite pecan nuttiness upfront. The sweet fruitiness of the peaches appears in the center along with a bit of spiciness. The finish is mildly bitter, especially in the aftertaste, which is reminiscent of the dryness of pecan husks. Highly carbonated, medium-bodied with a pleasing husky dryness in the finish.

A little sweet overall, but definitely a flavorful and interesting beer. The odd combination of pecans and peaches in a beer really works here.

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