Brewery: Spoetzl Brewery
Beer: Shiner 106 Birthday Beer Chocolate Stout
Style: American Stout
Character: Brewed with chocolate malt and real cocoa
Ratings at time of Review: BA: 81 | RB: 75
Metal Connection: PUNGENT STENCH – Happy Re-Birthday
The Spoetzl Brewery in a small town called Shiner, TX is well known as the oldest and longest running active craft brewery in our state. Their flagship beer, Shiner Bock is available in about 99.999% of bars and restaurants around the great state of Texas and around the country for that matter. It is a tough pill for some to swallow that anything related to Shiner or Spoetzl Brewery is considered craft. Sure there are a million other great choices out there and available at our fingertips, but we got to give credit where credit is due.
Since 1909, the brewery has been around in the town of Shiner, and has always been independently owned, and never sold their soul to the B.M.C. devils (Bud, Miller, Coors). At this time, they are owned by The Gambrinus Company, a family-owned company here in San Antonio. I know a ton of people who completely turn their heads to anything Shiner, but I give them a shot, and in fact, if I am at a bar that doesn’t have a wide variety of craft, and offer the typical BMC beers, I will gladly go for a Shiner, even their Shiner Bock, which the real scientist beer geek will scream is not a “Real Bock.”
Here we have their 106th Anniversary beer. Wow! I wonder how many other breweries would love to say that? No crazy name given to this beer. It is just simply Birthday Beer, with a nice colored label that really grabs attention on the shelves. So, happy birthday to The Spoetzl Brewery and their Shiner beer line!
I had purchased a 22 oz. bomber bottle, and used a short stemmed goblet style glass for this session. Birthday Beer poured a very dark brown, which was damn near black. Nice brown hues shining through on the edges when light shines through the glass. The beer was topped with about a half inch dark tan foamy head. Great head retention, and web-like sticky lacing left down the glass.
The aroma was very pleasing. There were traces of chocolate milk, chocolate icing, heavy cream, powdered cocoa, chocolate cake, and a good sturdy backbone of roasted malts. If blindfolded, you would probably think that someone took a fresh baked chocolate cake with icing into a blender and made some sort of drink with it. I was very impressed with the smell of this beer.
The taste was everything from the nose, but intensified a bit more. Again, all the components to a good chocolate cake were present. Chocolate icing, heavy whipped cream, chocolate milk, and a nice body of roasted malts. There was almost a powdered cocoa taste mixed with marshmallow, and even powdered sugar. This was a complete dessert beer. Probably not a beer you can drink a whole six pack at once of, but definitely over a few days.
The body was a bit thin, which wasn’t a complete disaster, as this beer had a consistency of powdered cocoa, and that worked well with the thin body. There was a slight creaminess as well with this beer. The finish was dry, sweet, and bitter, leaving you thirsty for more after each sip. There was excellent carbonation as well.
Overall, I was really impressed with this beer, and I think Shiner outdid themselves here. Before this beer, their Christmas/winter time seasonal, Holiday Cheer was my favorite beer that they make, but this one, I believe has now taken that top honor. I really, really enjoyed this beer, and would drink it as many times as I could. It is a beer that smells and tastes great, and delivers on it’s promise of being a chocolate stout. I know that everybody has a different opinion from one another, but I have seen once common thing going on with this beer when reading reviews or Untappd check ins. People are way too afraid of others opinions on their beer choices. All I see are words like this “Don’t judge me for drinking or liking this beer,” or things like “I’m only drinking this cause it was given to me…,” or my personal favorite “I never would have guessed that this was from Shiner.” I think if you like the beer, then you like the beer. Don’t worry what the other Craft Beer geeks will say about your check in. You’re not going to lose street cred, just because you like a beer from Shiner. I rarely ever see someone put these phrases when checking in a beer from, let’s say, Jester King, Jolly Pumpkin, or even Stone. Can you imagine reading “Please don’t judge me on this beer, it was the only beer I had in the fridge, and it was given to me. I guess I’ll have this Viking Metal by Jester King.” Ha ha!
Metal Connection: What better way to celebrate a birthday than with a good ol’ classic tune from Austria’s very own Pungent Stench. Here is the song “Happy Re-Birthday,’ which is a sweet loving song about a son’s dream to kill his parents in a very gruesome manner. Dad first, then to his mother where he basically crawls into her cavity and forces his way out of her again, hence the name Happy Re-Birthday. Pretty clever, if you ask me. The one things I really love about the underground Metal genres are the over the top lyrical content. Some of these bands write their lyrics like short stories, which would make an excellent movie, a good bloody disgusting horror movie. Pungent Stench were early an early favorite of mine, and influence to my own gore filled lyrics that I would pen for my band Putrilage, then later Exulcerate, and finally for Engaged in Mutilating. This song comes to us from the band’s second full length album, Been Caught Buttering from 1991, which has a wicked cover displaying what looks like two severed head’s of men kissing. It is in fact the same head that has been cut in half and positioned this way as art. The creator of the photograph was named Joel-Peter Witkin’s and he titled it The Kiss (Le Baisier). I also always thought that the title of the album was very sick and disturbing. So here you go, a slice (no pun intended) of gore soaked brutality to pair well with a beer that tastes like a slice of chocolate cake. Can’t go wrong here, right?