If you’ve followed my ramblings over the last year and a half, you’re well aware that Shiner has a soft spot in this snob’s heart. I was first introduced to the Spoetzel Brewery by my good friend, Ray, many moons ago. When I was in college I’ll be the first to admit that often cost won out over quality, but when I had a few extra bones to spare I’d grab whatever the limited selection at the time would allow. It was a Shiner Bock that got my attention but when I discovered there was a Shiner Blonde that could be had if you knew of someone traveling to the great land of Texas, well I put out any request I could. While the label has changed, Shiner Blonde can now be found in the Family Reunion six pack around the area.
Having a beer blog, we often get e-mails off the site. Some are from people we have met catching up or asking about this or that. Others are for cryptic offers such as, “I can give website service only $14.95US two year. Please no press spam,” not entirely sure what the offer is there. There’s also a fellow in Nigeria that keeps insisting he has money for us if we’d only send him a bank account and $395 US – although yesterday he wanted Canadian dollars – guess he watches the currency market. The other week though, we got one of our favorite types of messages – regarding new beer. In this particular instance the old Spoetzel Brewery had enlisted some help to spread the word of their newest brew; a pale ale. In the course of a few e-mail exchanges, a few bottles were on the way to the snobs for a taste test.
First of all, pale ales are a wonderful style of beer. They are talented. How? Well usually your lager pounding friends will drink pale ales. They’ll whine a bit, but they’ll drink it…and another…and another. Then tell you it’s not half bad and that they just cracked the last one. Your progressively hop focused friends will drink pale ales too. They may consider it “stepping down” as often referenced by them adding, “…for a pale ale” to anything positive they have to say about the beer. To me, a pale ale can do anything. It pairs well with just about any dish, you can take it to the lake, drink one after mowing the yard, have one at a baseball game, football tailgating, Thanksgiving…it’s a year round beer style you can’t go wrong with. If someone asks you to bring beer to a party and you don’t know what they like? Pale ale to the rescue.
The material included with the beer tells us that this is a classic American Pale Ale made with two-row barley with a blend of Munich and Caramel malts. The hop varieties used were US Golding and Bravo. I think it should also be noted that the Spoetzl Brewery has been with us since 1909 – I’ll drink to that!
This beer pours a nice golden amber hue with plenty of head. On the nose I smell orange, bread/wheat and a sweetness that hints of caramel. On the tongue I get the bread that I smelled initially, some floral notes, a nice sweetness on the front and a subtle bitterness on the back that lingers on the palate.
Final snobs: This is a good pale ale that will appeal to a broad spectrum of folks. While it’s not the most hop heavy pale ale I’ve ever had, it is a good example that will definitely look good next to your grill this summer.