Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Shiner Smokehaus

Shiner sent me some samples of their new "Sommer bier," Shiner Smokehaus, a helles-style lager made with malt smoked over local mesquite. And it was smoked locally, too: the pictures show two Shiner employees smoking the malt out back of the brewery, loading 50 lbs. of malt in each tray in the smoker (the smoker's in the back of a truck; this is Texas, and you never know where you might need to smoke some meat). The firebox is juiced with wet, aged mesquite and started with propane, then the propane's turned off and the mesquite smolders smoke up through the trays.

As you might know, I'm a big fan of Schlenkerla Helles. Light smoke goes great with this kind of beer. The Shiner Smokehaus is more than light smoke, but it didn't overpower the beer; maybe it's the mesquite, maybe it's the solid malt quality of the beer, but it was juicy-good and fantastic with grilled beef.

This is not a big bear of a beer like Schlenkerla Märzen. It's summer-weight, and very drinkable. It's going to be a love-it-hate-it thing with people because of the smoke (getting panned in some newspaper columns by sunny-day "beer experts" who don't get smoke...risks of stretching the paradigm), but you can put me down in the love-it camp. If you're in a Shiner distribution area, get some of this before it's gone.

16 comments:

Jeffrey said...

I am in the "Like It" camp. Nice photos!

Lee said...

I generally don't get smoke beer either, but I like this one. I think it's because the smoke flavor is far more subtle than others I've tried.

The smell is certainly noticeable, though — I had trepidations at first because I'd never had a beer that smelled like barbecue!

Goonster said...

That MBB article is perhaps the best single piece on Rauchbier I've ever read, and I'm a guy who has twice made the pilgrimage to Bamberg.

Between Sly Fox and Victory we are fortunate to be fairly well served in the Rauchbier department here in SEPA.

I'd be curious to know how much smoked malt Weyermann sells in the U.S., and which way it is trending. Can you find out, Lew?

Anonymous said...

Definitely in the "like it" camp. I love to barbeque, smoke a brisket a week lately, and this beer is perfect. Light, easy to drink, and I agree, goes perfect with meat!

Steve M said...

Great to see some love for a Texas beer, and Shiner at that! Thanks, Lew.

on-the-rocks said...

Put me in the "Like It" category, too.

As for true Texas beers, Spoetzl is the last of the original Texas breweries.

assurbanipaul said...

I did like it as a helles but, true to Spoetzl's nature (and typical of their recent anniversary series), they stopped just shy of greatness.

I was one that had difficulty detecting smoke at all. Just an ounce or two more could have made an outstanding beer unique in its market.

on-the-rocks said...

I agree that it could use a little more of the smoke flavor. One of my close friends (a homebrewer) said he liked it and he could taste the smoke.

Maybe my tastebuds have been destroyed by years of jalapenos and salsas.

Lew Bryson said...

Wow. I wouldn't say it was a smokebomb -- because it wasn't -- but I didn't have any problem getting the smoke. Have you two ever had the Schlenkerla Lager? It's along that line, and I love that beer.

Emily said...

Anyone know where I could get this in Philly, either at a bar or a distributor? I'm hosting a Texas-born guest this weekend who has expressed some serious interest.

Lew Bryson said...

Emily,
The Shiner website says Smokehaus is available in Delaware and Maryland...but neither Total Wine nor State Line say they have it; I called for you. Sorry. Anyone else?

Emily said...

Thanks so much! I also biked around the city today and made just-in-case stops at the Foodery and Bella Vista. The folks at BV confirmed that Spoetzl won't distribute Shiner Philadelphia, despite multiple attempts to convince them that it'd be a good idea.

Lew Bryson said...

Emily,
They may be right; there's a lot of beer snob snobbery about Shiner beers. They're missing out; I think the Shiner Black is a very nice beer, and I do like the Smokehaus. It's funny; I've read varying reports on it from "couldn't get any 'smoke' out of this at all!" to "smoke is overdone, like licking an ashtray." I is amused.

The American Don said...

Not a huge fan of Shiner's most recent slate of beers. What i need to do is get to the level where breweries are sending me beer. I'm still smuggling beer in luggage, praying the bottles don't break.

Emily said...

I'll report back on my smoke level perceptions once I finally find it. I agree that generally Shiner makes very pleasant beers--I'm always happy when someone shows up at my BBQ with a six of it. HOWEVER, Shiner Hefeweizen is possibly the most horrifying beer I have ever tasted.

Lew Bryson said...

As long as Matt's keeps making Utica Club, Emily, I'll have to disagree...but I will swiftly agree that the Shiner Hefe is by far my least favorite beer they make. By far. Like, lightyears of farness.