Thursday, April 25, 2013

Beer Love: Shiner Ruby Redbird

I have a non-Texan friend who once told me that she doesn't think very highly of Shiner, the beer company that brews out of the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. That's blasphemy around here, but her reasoning wasn't bad: aside from Shiner Bock, she asked, how many of their beers do you actually enjoy?

The truth is, faced with a cooler full of all of the different brews that come from Shiner, I'll choose Shiner Bock every time. And if I find somehow myself with a different Shiner brew in my hand, I'm usually secretly wishing that it was a Shiner Bock. But that's not really an indictment of their Hefeweizen or their Black Lager as much as it is a reflection of the fact that I really, really love Shiner Bock. Shiner Bock is, to me, the Platonic ideal of a beer. Some days I might want something lighter or darker for a change, but when I think beer, I'm thinking Shiner Bock. And I measure other beers against that.

But as soon as I heard of Shiner's summer seasonal brew, Ruby Redbird, I knew it was a great idea. It's brewed with grapefruit, which is both very Texan and an obviously awesome flavor complement to a lager. Now, lots of brewers try to work fruity notes into their beers, and I generally don't like the results. Either the beers end up sweet, or the the fruit overpowers the beer. But light, bitter, complex grapefruit? It works.

So while I'm sure Shiner Bock will be back to dominating the beer shelf in my fridge soon, for now it's sharing space with a different Spoetzl product.


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