Tag Archives: Texas

Shiner Wicked Ram IPA

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, TX
Shiner Wicked Ram IPA

Here are some things I like: Shiner. IPAs. 

Shiner has been marketing their new IPA and it’s about time, too. MOST of what Shiner (Spoetzl) does is great. I’m still not sold on Cheer…

This one pours livelier than most Shiners do; with some help, I kicked up a clean white head with fine lace. The color is red oak and copper straw, with excellent clarity (another Shiner staple) and a steady column of medium bubbles holding the head. 

The nose is hop forward – wet grass and leaves, with a squeeze of lemon. 

The mouthful is not huge but it’s even, using the effervescence well to coat your mouth. There’s a bit of an odd phenol tang, but that ignites slowly into a crisp grapefruit snap that is woodier than you might expect from an IPA. The finish sits for a moment to let you consider it, before disappearing in a haze of citric cream and just the mellow eat ember of alcohol. 

At 6.0, it’s not a palate-wrecker, which I’m always game for. As always, Shiner makes a good, workingman beer. It’s pretty straight-forward, and it’s not changing any definitions of the style, but it’s good and it’s interesting and cheap enough to be worth it. 


Brew York State of Mind

It’s with a heavy heart that I leave the Great State of Texas. Dallas has been good to me these past months. However, tomorrow I’m Eastbound and down, ready for all the crappy weather the great Northeast has to offer. I won’t be riding solo, I’ll have my dad with me, but posts may be scarce over the next few days.

Poppa Beer

A 16′ truck and beer are not to be mixed. Though this truck will be carrying a good deal of brew home for me. In order to ease my transition home, I have:

  • Shiner: three (3) cases @ 24 bottles/case
  • St. Arnold Elissa: three (3) sixers
  • Ranger IPA: one (1) case @ 24 bottles/case + one sixer (for good luck)
  • Southern Star Pine Belt IPA: one (1) four-pack @ 16oz/can
  • Harpoon Leviathan: one (1) four-pack (minus one from last night’s review)
  • Avery Collaboration: two (2) bombers @ 22oz/bottle
  • Widmer Black IPA: three (3) sixers
  • Miscellaneous: Thirty-three (33) bottles @ 12oz/bottle, three (3) bottles at 22oz/bottle
I don’t care to do the math, but it makes me happy to know that I‘ll be transporting (possibly illegally) a lot of beer across many States. Now, some beer porn:

Thankfully, my truck is Franzia-free

Shiner Hefeweizen

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, TX

Despite last night’s Shiner fail, I’m going to give this Shiner Hefeweizen a go. Maybe it’s the spring rain, maybe it’s forward thinking to the beer I’m going to enjoy all summer at Zum Schneider, maybe I’m just desperate.

The pour is typically lively, flinging three fingers of foam up the glass. More than a half-inch is retained and the rocky, cloudy head is sticking to the sides of the glass.

Maybe just half a weizen.

The color is a hazy goldenrod, burnished with a bit of orange evident. The carbonation is steady with both very fine bubbles, and larger globes heading to the surface.

The nose is clean and grassy, with some green apples and a plastic-y phenolic smell. It’s not unpleasant, but it smells very much like plastic or transparent tape.

The mouthfeel is pretty good, much fuller than I expected. The initial flavor is a subtle grain and cereal that is slightly tinny. A kiss of citrus – literally like a quick squeeze of lemon – provides just a hint of astringency to the start of the finish, which ends with a clean, if slightly twiggy, flavor.

All in all, this is not bad, but it is lacking the more cleansing abilities of most wheats. There is no real hefe tang to this. If you don’t like wheat beer and you have to drink a wheat beer and, like me, just want a Ranger IPA, it’ll do, but it’s not going to make a run at any beers from Ze Fathaland.

You passed, Shiner. BARELY.

Know what I give you?


Shiner Blonde

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, TX

The pour is very pale yellow, with lively carbonation that helps support a quarter-inch of soft, pure white head. The retention seems decent.

The nose is as grassy and green as most of the Shiner brews, though this smells a bit thinner than some of the other similarly golden samples. The bottle claims that it contains both Euro and US hops, which is always a lovely-sounding idea. Some faint notes of grape and a touch of rain, but that’s about it.

The mouthfeel is thin and, while the carbonation is good, the anorexic body leaves you with nothing but the effervescence and makes you think you’re drinking seltzer. What flavor exists is not bad, by any means – some faint grassy hops, a little bit of pleasant wet loam – but there’s too little to make a strong assessment. Essentially, this tastes like a watered-down or even ‘light’ version of Shiner’s Kosmos.

At 4.4%, it’s a session beer, and you could easily put away many of these without any serious deleterious effects, but you might as well save room in your belly and wallet for something with some more substance.

The lacing isn’t all that bad either, leaving a pocked coral wall behind, but that’s about the best this brew has to offer save for maybe some thirst-quenching during a really serious softball game.

Shiner Kosmos

Spoetzl Brewery
Shiner, TX
Kosmos Reserve

Named after the original Shiner brewmaster, Kosmos Spoetzl, this beer is meant to be a German-style lager similar to what Mr. Spoetzl initially brewed.

A pillowy, pure-white head stands to about a half-inch before settling to a  solid quarter-inch, maintained by agitated, snaking strands of carbonation.

The clarity is crystal clear, and the color is a bit more gold than straw, perhaps with a drop of orange.

The nose is very clean – a slightly candied aroma of malt, followed by fresh cut grass and barnyard rain.

The mouthfeel is pretty good, coming across a bit on the thin side though the bubbles help you overlook that. The first flavor is a very twiggy greenness that borders on metallic. The hops do their part to bring out a thoughtful, if not elegant or subtle, bitterness. The finish is smoother and creamier than you might expect from such a hoppy beer.

Similar to their Dortmunder-style Frost, Kosmos Reserve makes you think ‘Pilsner.’ The clarity, color, and Noble bitterness are reminiscent of those Bavarian styles. This is a smooth session beer that will provide a bit more substance than many of the bigger American lagers, and is worth a try.

Real Ale Brown Ale

Real Ale Brewing Co.
Blanco, TX
Brewhouse Brown Ale

This Real Ale sampler pack is great as it provides three different beers – two bottles each – rather than just one bottle of six types, the way Shiner does it. This allows for sampling for reviewing, and sampling for enjoying. The final in this threesome is the brown ale.

There is no rocky billowing head, which isn’t altogether unusual for a brown ale. The effervescence is good though, as is the clarity.

The color is a bit on the red side of cola brown. There is more orange and brick red in there than brown.

The nose is sweet and bready. Some mild toasted grain notes rise up under the warm brown bread body. A faint whiff of what smells like Noble hops comes through the roasted grains a bit.

The mouthfeel is full, with impressively more body than you might think from such a translucent brown ale. The effervescence is fairly lively and carries a nice cleanliness that pairs perfectly with what turns out to be a very subtle yet present roastiness. Brown sugar, fresh bread crust, and just a bit of malty toffee. Some hops help to dry out the finish, preventing this from coming across as sweet.

This is a great subtle brown ale. For those of you who are a bit wary of the burnt quality that can accompany some browns, check this out. It is smooth and dry, but carries enough flavor to pair with food.

Real Ale Pale Rye Ale

Real Ale Brewing Co.
Blanco, TX
Full Moon Pale Rye Ale

Well, after a reasonably successful review of Real Ale’s Rio Blanco yesterday, why not try another?

The pour yields a rocky, slightly yellowish head that clings to the side of the glass as though the beer were wearing grampons.

The color is an impeccably gorgeous light coppery orange. There is plenty of turbulent effervescence circulating up from the center etching of the glass.

The nose is wet grain, all the way, though some slightly vinous stone fruit comes through just before a subtle but present aroma of oily hops.

The mouthfeel is pleasantly milky and the rocky head and fine carbonation helps. The first sip gives you almost all hops – it’s wonderful. Grapefruit and some bitter tobacco residue hit you first and foremost, though the rye shows up with a slightly spicy-yet-smooth breadiness towards the back and helps temper the bitterness just a tad. The finish relies on the hops to seal the deal, and they perform nicely.

All in all, an excellent RyePA, with good body, plenty of hops, and some really nice lace curtains.