Saturday, July 23, 2011

Shiner Family Reunion Six-pack

Y'all are getting some bang for your reading buck in this review, as I tackle all six beers from the Shiner Family Reunion six-pack. The reason I am doing it this way is because these beers pretty much all taste the same. Plus it's way easier than writing six reviews. Consider it a menage-a-six (in French, six is six, no different spelling - I feel gipped!).

Shiner beers are brewed by the K.Spoetzl (rhymes with pretzel!) Brewery in Shiner, TX, which is a small-ass town of 2070 people in the middle of nowhere between San Antonio and Houston. Spoetzl is the oldest independent brewery in Texas, being started by Kosmos Spoetzl in 1909. The brewery employs 55 people, and big props to their website for showing pictures of some of the employees on Shiner beer bottles. I always like it when the common man (or woman) is rewarded and acknowledged. The brewery makes 7 styles of Shiner, as well as a couple of seasonals depending on the season, ya know, with their most famous beer being Shiner Bock, now served in 41 states. I wonder why Yuengling can't get that distribution deal? - I would have loved drinking it in the hot hot heat of the California summer. Or anywhere else you can't currently buy that sweet, sweet, sweet nectar.

This variety box of liquid treats contained six different Shiner beers, all while selling for the low sticker price of $7.99 (read: great value). I'm going to list some of the different taste and drinkability characteristics for each of the beers below, but to tell you the truth, these beers all kind of tasted the same and were similarly easy to drink. They are all kind of watered-down, low ABV beers with average tastes, and were super-duper-UPER easy to drink. As my lovely wife said, "they taste like beer," which I guess is what any competent brewer should strive for. God forbid she tasted it and said "this tastes like turpentine" or "this tastes like maple syrup," although I bet there is a maple syrup flavored beer out there somewhere - FOR SHAME!!!! Now for the reviews...

Shiner Bock: Their most popular/widely distributed beer. There is a slight malty taste, but not a whole lot else going on. It's like dark colored beer water. But not bad! 4.4% ABV

Shiner Black Lager: This beer tasted like smoke. Seriously, like campfire smoke. Maybe they added some liquid smoke to the brew who knows, but at least it had some taste to it, which went down easy and was pretty yummy. 4.9% ABV

Shiner Kosmos Reserve: This beer is a shout out to the founder, Kosmos Spoetzl, and only appears every now and then, depending on when the brewery feels like making it. This is a total fridge beer, or one that you drink while watching your kid's (or someone else's kids) T-ball game. Gotta pass the time somehow right? It has a really mild taste, not much different from the others, but it super easy to drink. And it gives you a buzz if you drink enough of 'em. 5.0% ABV

Shiner Old Time Alt: I'm not sure what they mean by Alt, I thought it was misspelled on the bottle but I guess I am in the wrong here. This one has some hops to it, and you can taste them, but its not overwhelming at all. 4.2% ABV 

Shiner Blonde Ale: Probably the worst of the bunch, the blonde ale was pretty pathetic in the taste department and only had a little malt noticeable. Not a lot going on here. 4.4% ABV

Shiner Hefeweizen: The hefeweizen was probably the best of the reunion (kind of like Uncle Jessie at the Full House reunion), and it had some real flavor to it. I could taste some fruits, maybe a little orange or apricot, in this beer. And I usually think most hefes taste like dirty sausage, but this one didn't taste like that at all, so I enjoyed it a fair bit. The overall taste was weak for a hefe, but it was, as with the others, really easy to drink. Plus it had the highest ABV at 5.4%.

Like I said up top, while these are six different beers (at least by label and bottle cap), they all taste remarkably similar. But that isn't too bad of a thing, because the taste is pretty mild and smooth, and they are easy as hell to drink. These six were gone remarkably fast, like in less than a Jiminy-cricket minute. This was a fun six-pack to buy, and your party hosts will like you when you bring it because it screams FUN AWESOME TEXAS PARTY ANDREW WK YES YES YES NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO when you walk in the door with it, and its easy to drink/get drunk on so its a win for everyone. They aren't memorable beers by any stretch of the imagination, so you'll just as easily forget what these beers taste like as well as the rest of the night if you so choose to black out. So go ahead and try the Shiner Family Reunion six-pack - it'll make your family reunion more tolerable and maybe even help you to score with your cousin.

Drinkability: 7/10 (average)
Taste: 5/10 (average)
Value: 7/10
Curb Appeal: 7/10

Overall: 6.5/10

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