|Image credit: The Gambrinus Co.|
Having grown up in a primarily urban landscape, I'll admit it never occurred to me that the term "haymaker" meant anything other than "a powerful blow," which incidentally is the only definition published by Merriam-Webster in its online dictionary. So, upon opening a sample box containing Shiner's new beer, Haymaker, I naturally thought to myself, "this must be a beer that packs a punch." Come to find out, though, other sources include the (what now seems obvious) alternative definition of "a person who is involved in making hay." That, as it turns out, is the inspiration behind this limited-edition brew...and truth be told, I suppose the hay-like packaging material in the box should have been my first clue.
In any case, Haymaker is the 6th beer in Shiner's Brewer's Pride series, following such entries as Old-Time Alt, Ryes & Shine, Prickly Pear, Czech-Style Pilsner and Kölsch. As you've probably guessed by now, it's a beer designed to be enjoyed after a long day tending the farm...in other words, time spent making hay. It's brewed with Cascade hops, but seeing as how we're talking about making actual hay, as opposed to delivering a haymaker, you shouldn't crack open a bottle expecting the beer to be too punchy when it comes to its hop presence. For that matter, it also has a mild-mannered malt profile and an ABV of less than 5%.
Really, what we're talking about here is probably a lawnmower beer...cutting grass...cutting hay...it makes sense, but Haymaker has a little more character than beers of that nature. Granted, it's light-bodied, effervescent and undeniably refreshing (all characteristics of a lawnmower beer), but there are faint hints of complexity in flavors of bread yeast, floral hop aromas and a hint of lemon in the finish. You might even convince yourself it has a straw or hay-like note, but considering the name it could just be your mind playing tricks on you. Either way, how 'bout we call it a fieldplower beer instead?
As for whether or not you'll find the beer to your liking, it's billed as an "extra pale ale," but I'm honestly not sure what it is exactly that Haymaker has "more" of. That said, it's a clean and easy to drink brew, with soft flavors and only a hint of bitterness. In fact, it's exactly the kind of beer we've come to expect from Shiner for the last...oh, I don't know...106 years or so. Translation? Let history be your guide.
Haymaker is out now, and is available on draft and in 12-ounce bottles as part of the Family Reunion 6-pack. Find it wherever Shiner beers are sold.
Style: Extra Pale Ale