Nick Carr on December 16, 2017 0 Comments Photo Credit: Spoetzl Brewery Quick Characteristics Brewery Spoetzl Brewery Location Shiner, TX Style Dunkelweizen ABV 5.4% IBU 22 Hops ? Malts ? Special Ingredients Texas Peaches and Roasted Pecans Shelf Life 6 Months Suggested Glass Vase (Weizen glass) Serving Temp 48-54°F Availability Winter Seasonal Food Pairings Pulled Pork Sandwich, Grilled Beef and Mushrooms, Manchego, Pecan Pie Well, it’s time. Time for the department stores to put out the displays of Santa hats, wrapping paper, nutcracker soldiers, socially unacceptable holiday sweaters, candy canes, decorations, lights, and tinsel. It’s time to start thinking about gifts for the kids, and maybe a few gifts yourself, and decorating the house. Time for scouting out that perfect Christmas tree, and way, way, way too much Holiday music. Breweries and your beer aisle are not immune to this transformation, this glitter trap of sparkle. No, the beer aisle too, makes a transformation as the big day approaches. It, too, is decorated, though maybe somewhat differently. The bottles and boxes that line the shelves and floor seem to run into a changing room from one day to the next, reappearing all prettied up with their own miasma of seasonal change. You’d be hard put to find a brewery anymore that doesn’t release a Christmas seasonal (if not two or three). Beer labels take the cheery look of a holiday spread, modeling scenes of wintery wonderlands, beckoning warmth, and cheerful tidings of the season. The bottled contents also make a transformation. Styles shift dark; Stouts, Porters, Ambers, “Winter Warmers,” old ales, and barely wines. ‘Tis the season for the strong, the decadent, the deep. Spices carouse and pine tree bitterness sighs evergreen fresh. Shiner is no different from any other brewery when it comes to marching out a special holiday brew, but they do take a different approach when deciding what should go into the beer. How does it fare against the holiday beer checklist? Well, it is darker. They’ve wrapped their Holiday spirit in a Dunkelweizen (Dark Wheat). Not a usual style for the season, but a likely choice all the same. Moving on; no cinnamon sticks, ginger, clove, or other spices here. No heady pine-ladened bitterness. Not even a properly high strength. What sort of game is Shiner playing at? It’s like they had the same list and decided the contents were naughty instead of nice and, flying in the face of tradition, went off script. And not just a little off script but way off script; peaches and roasted pecans for Christmas, not the usual fare indeed. Guess they just do things differently in Texas. Let’s taste some different. THE TASTING Below are the tasting notes I took while drinking Shiner’s Holiday Cheer. If you tasted this beer or you’re drinking one as you read this review, please share your own tasting notes with everyone down in the comments below. Pour and Aroma: This pours into my weizen glass a lovely pecan color. Hold it to light and it turns an amber with rosy highlights. Head is an off white and rises to an impressive two-fingers of dense loose pillowy foam before crashing back to blanket the surface. It is beautifully clear and a few lines of carbonation climb lazily. The peaches are huge and sweet in the nose. Underneath, I get a low yeasty character. Don’t get any real malt character, and only the slightest crack of nuttiness from the pecans. Mouthfeel and Taste: Body is a low medium, mouthfeel is smooth with medium-low carbonation. It’s much lighter and drier than the aroma lets on. Astringency is appreciable and very herbal. Thankfully, it’s not all peaches in the mouth or near as sweet as the aroma would lead you to expect. The peaches are there, but it’s not like your biting into one, full ripe, right off the tree; more akin to sucking on a peach pit. Light vanilla, along with some subtle roast and caramel. Light nuttiness in the background from the pecans. It has an interesting tea-like bitterness. Finish is dry and plays through to an herbal aftertaste. FINISHING THOUGHTS Shiner Holiday Cheer has very little to lend itself to the Dunkelweizen style (Dunkles Weissbier), beyond being dark and containing wheat; none of the styles character is noticeable. Bready malt, yeasty character, and dark fruit aromas are all lost underneath the peach and pecan additions. But… I have to say, I kinda like it. Shiner Holiday Cheer is absolutely worth getting at least once, just to see how much the aroma and actual flavor of a beer can contrast. This isn’t something I’d want to drink all the time, and as to it being a Holiday beer… well, it’s a little on the light side for my personal holiday tastes. Though, I can certainly see enjoying this in warmer climes around the holidays; it staying light, but still having something of the holiday spirit to it. If you’ve never tried Shiner Holiday Cheer, and if you have the option, I’d suggest picking up a single bottle before going whole hog on a six pack. It will unquestionably throw some for a loop and, of course, it won’t be everyone’s stocking stuffer, but maybe you’ll like it. Peaches and pecans for Christmas? Who would have thought? Prosit and Happy Holidays!