Thursday, February 9, 2017

Shiner enters sour beer fray with Berliner Weisse

Image Credit: The Gambrinus Co.

For a few years now, we've watched the little brewery in Shiner take steps to branch out from its stereotype of producing primarily German lagers. Over that time, the Spoetzl Brewery has released beers of Belgian influence, American-style ales and various fruit infusions, not to mention brews crafted with coffee and even chocolate. Its latest release, however, may be the most surprising of all...because let's be honest, how many of you ever expected Shiner to brew a sour beer?

Expectations aside, Shiner Berliner Weisse is rolling out as the 10th beer in the company's Brewer's Pride series. It's a product the brewery describes as a South Texas take on a type of beer Napoleon's troops once called "the champagne of the north." The north of Germany, that is, which is where the style originated.

Berliner Weisse beers are a regional specialty of Berlin, making the style
one that stays true to Shiner's German roots (The Gambrinus Co.).

So does Shiner Berliner Weisse have, as the neck label suggests, a "sour note worth hitting?"

Well, like most Shiner beers it's approachable and easy to drink. It's not sharply sour, which shouldn't be a shock, having more along the lines of a lightly lacto character. Citrus peel is added, giving the beer a distinctive background note, with remaining impressions revealing a brew that's subtly sweet and a bit spritzy, with some lingering tartness and a dose of doughy malt rounding out the finish.

As for its appeal, Shiner Berliner Weisse would probably be a good first step for someone just getting into sour beers, though I imagine established fans of the style will wish for a drier presentation. Other than that, the beer is a tad stronger than is typical*, but an ABV of 4.1% is not something you're likely to notice while engaged in the quickness of the quaff.

Shiner Berliner Weisse will be available for a limited time only. Look for it on tap, in 24-ounce bombers, and in 12-ounce bottles are part of the brewery's Family Reunion six-pack.

* Style guidelines published by the Brewers Association call for an ABV range of 2.8%-3.4%.

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