Well for this week’s new adventure on the beer frontier, I made a return visit to that brewery as close to the hearts of many a Texan as bluebonnets and bucking broncos – Shiner. You might recall I looked at one of their winter drinks, Frost, and mentioned how the little Spoetzl Brewery from the town of Shiner has a big footprint in the Texas market. And funny commercials. Well, this time around the curiosity got the better of me and I tried their new Weisse & Easy.
By “new” I do mean new; it appeared on local shelves just last month and somehow hasn’t been added to their website yet. As an interesting promo, Shiner (typically a glass-only company) offered it in specially-priced, one-gulp mini-cans, but I rolled the dice and went for a normal 12-ounce bottle.
Shiner describe the drink as having “all the flavor of a wheat beer but with only 95 calories. Unfiltered and brewed with native Texas dewberries…perfect for kickin’ back and taking it weisse and easy.” For those unfamiliar with “Dewberries” (like me for example), they’re apparently a small shrub-grown berry much akin to blackberries. So it was try a new beer and expand my vocabulary all in one! The drink seems a natural for Shiner since they also famously brew “Ruby Redbird”, a light beer with Texas grapefruit added.
I had it with a late lunch of a robust garden salad and a turkey sandwich. Pouring it into the glass, it was quite fizzy (“highly effervescent” as Beer Advocate correctly pegged it as) and built quite a solid head. The color was nice, but unusual, rather an almost rosy shade of gold; mainly clear and quite “effervescent.”
Having a swig to finish up the bottle, my first reaction was “Wow!” Not a “best thing I’ve ever tasted” kind of wow, but neither a “ooh! Spit it out!” kind either. Just a “Wow” of surprise, as it didn’t come across as a swig of beer. It seemed more like a red sparkling wine or perhaps a berry-flavored cooler. A little sweet, a bit tarty too but very fruity. The tartness seemed a bit more prominent in the relatively light aftertaste.
I found it rather “fresh” and that it paired really nicely with the salad veggies. I could imagine this one as a summer picnic refresher, and with the lite beer rating of just 4.0% alcohol, one which wouldn’t impair performance on any three-legged race or other funtime activity that could grow out of it. With the turkey, it seemed a little more bitter but kept its flavor, not getting over-ridden by the meaty flavor.
In short, a fairly pleasing and intense taste, but unlike the Ruby Redbird (which tastes beer-y but with a dash of citrus) this one comes across more like a spritzer of bubbly wine. So, a fine drink, but not exactly for someone wanting a conventional beer. Likewise, probably too hoppy still for a discerning wine-fancier.
Still, I rate it a 3 out of 5 for strength and 4 out of 5 for flavor and overall,
3-and-a-half Crane brothers out of five.