It's been a long time since I've tried the beers of the Spoetzl Brewery from Shiner, Texas. Over the years I've reviewed many of their brews as well as the 100th anniversary book. While rattling a shopping cart through the grocery store the other day I spied a couple of bottles that I hadn't tried before... And since that Kroger sells individual bottles, I was able to give them a try without committing to six-packs. Though I wasn't too worried--Shiner has never let me down.
Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale
Here we've got a standard American Pale Ale, with a focus on hops--in this case, US Golding and Bravo hops. Munich and caramel malts provide the depth and earthy structure underneath. Pleasant citrus notes, with a tart beginning and a nice bitter finish.
Shiner FM 966 Farmhouse Ale
This is a Farmhouse Ale or Saison, a type of beer traditionally brewed in the Wallonia region of Belgium during the winter and meant to be consumed in the summer. Brewing it was a way to keep farmworkers busy during the cold months, which was also a safe time to brew before modern refrigeration. And in the warm months when the barley, wheat, and hops had to be grown and harvested, the saison beers would be used to hydrate the farmworkers (up to five litres a day!). FM 966 is a "Farm to Market" road in Shiner, not a radio station as I originally thought.
Now that I've actually gotten a chance to taste the beer, it's surprisingly grassy and bright and clean, kind of like a Sauvignon Blanc. I'd suggest similar pairings of shellfish and fresh salads. Very mild finish, and it's quite refreshing. Highly recommended for a neat style of beer that doesn't get a lot of pours on this side of the Atlantic.