The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, consistently wows us (at our house) with their flavors and consistency. From their humble beginnings as a microbrewery to their current status as a contender, Shiner beer is still discovering itself and taking us all along for the ride.
This year’s seasonal surprise is the Birthday Beer, brewed to celebrate the Spoetzl Brewery’s 106th birthday. It is a chocolate stout, brewed with chocolate malt and real cocoa. If you want to try it, get it quick! Word is that it will not be repeated.
“This one takes the cake.” Their tag line is directly from the Shiner website, and seems to encompass this particular chocolate stout in one short sentence.
We poured from a glass bottle into a pub pint glass at approximately 60F.
When held up to the light, the liquid is dark and dense, not allowing light to pass through it. At the edges, however, there is a deep burgundy color, reminiscent of a good red wine.
The foamy head was thin for us as it was poured to be thin. Had it been poured for a head, I imagine it would have crested the glass. The flavor was reminiscent of coffee and cream with a tan color. There was a definite Belgian-like lacing on the glass.
The flavor was definitely chocolate, without the waxy overtone of ersatz cocoa. There was a little nuttiness complimenting a dark roasted malt. The hoppy bitterness was mild throughout, taking away form a more standard stout experience. The finish was mostly sweet, leaving chocolate cake and coffee in the aftertaste along with the malt and hops on the back of the tongue.
Body is medium, quite unlike most stouts. There is a very smooth, creamy texture overall. The carbonation was somewhat heavy, clinging to the glass from start to finish.
Overall this Shiner Birthday Beer is for anyone with a sweet tooth, or as a dessert beer. It would pair well with smoked or roasted meats rubbed with coffee.
On a scale of 1-5 —
“It tastes like chocolate cake… and beer!” said a resident non-beer drinker. He really does not care for beer overall, but is willing to develop his beer palate.
–Ann Cathey & Christopher