As today is Thanksgiving and, by most standards, the start of the ‘holiday season’, I thought I’d give this Texas brewery’s holiday brew a chance. I’ll probably need a lot of them once the Christmas carols start in earnest, a month before the actual day arrives.
The color is deep copper – almost garnet, and the head rushes up the confined base of the weizen glass and creates a tan pillow at the rim.
The nose is somewhat diaper-like, but sweet, negating any unpleasant association. Certainly, the peaches that Shiner claims to add are evident in the nose and create much of the very sweet, but not saccharine, aroma. There is no real hint of wheat, though perhaps more than an inkling of hops. The brew is supposedly a Dunkel and supposedly has pecans in it as well, but the sweetness overwhelms any hint at nutty or roasty notes.
The mouthfeel is reasonably good – full, to start – but gives way to a thinner fruity spread. The sip is surprisingly complex with a semblance of hop character on the sides of the tongue and a malt-coating quality. The initial peach-and-apricot flavor overwhelms the finish but, after a few slightly squeamish sips, settles down a bit to let the rest of the brew come out.
There might be an inkling of pecans in the top of the palate, but it is quickly washed away in a flood of soft, pitted fruits. The surest hints of a wheat beer are in the bubbles – the effervescence matches an active bottle-condition wheat, but there is no soapy banana and bubblegum touch; neither the tangy zest that you get when you sip a golden wheat nor the surprisingly buttery cleanliness of a dunkelweiss.
The beer would succeed more, I think, without the fruit essence spoiling the finish. This is more akin to Magic Hat #9 than any German dark wheat, and Spoetzl needs to tone down the sweetness. Try one, it’s not unpleasant. In fact, you may love it, but this one’s not for me.