Beers in Review: A pair of Shiners/Spoetzls and a revisit

Today's review features two beers from the Shiner family of beers from the Spoetzl Brewery, along with a revisit of one of my very first reviews on this site. More on that later.

Shiner's holiday seasonal, known as Shiner Cheer, is delightfully different from your standard winter seasonals. Cheer is a Dunkelweisen, or dark wheat beer, and utilizes some very specific flavoring options from its home state of Texas: peaches and pecans. Feels more Georgia to me, but the flavors are a great addition to this beer, especially the peaches. They are prevalent in the aroma and the taste, though the peach sweetness was not too overwhelming. There is a nice level of maltiness, and just a low-to-moderate amount of body. Overall, a very nice beer, even if it might evoke more summer than winter.

Wicked Ram is a new Shiner beer for 2015, and the first attempt at an IPA in their history. The result is an incredibly balanced beer. The malts and hops complimented each other nicely, and some earthy notes were present in the taste. There was some hop bitterness, mostly on the back end, though that bitterness did increase throughout the taste as it warmed up. Overall, a good 1st IPA from a crew of experienced brewers.

As a policy, I don't want to repeat beers very often. Seasonals will likely come around every year (I wouldn't expect multiple reviews in one seasonal's production cycle), and I typically want to allow at least six months (and ideally longer) in between year-round-produced beers. That said, Boulder Hazed was one of my very first reviews, so I thought it might be fun to see what I said about that beer, and see if my writing AND my palate have improved after 3+ months of beer reviewing. Let's see what I wrote about Hazed on September 22nd:

This session pale ale has some evident hop notes, but puts a lot of the focus on a fresh, clean beer that combines with a peach or apricot sweetness...not much of the normally-accompanying bitterness.

The use of the awful phrase "normally-accompanying" notwithstanding, and allowing for a bit of stiffness that comes from a novice writer (hell, I probably still have that stiffness), I didn't do too bad on talking about Hazed. My new beer this weekend was also very crisp and clean, with piney hop flavors (something I missed the first time around). The fruity sweetness was there, though not as prevalent and not as easy to identify the first time around. I found the maltiness to be more evident this time around. I think this may be a legitimate result of more critical thinking around the beers I drink. That was a fun little exercise. Probably not something I'll do often; there are WAY too many beers to taste to get into repeats. But fun to revisit.