Review: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

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Review: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

Post  Skully on Thu Jun 11, 2009 1:08 pm



Like that beat up station wagon your folks taught you to drive in, or that shitty Yamaha guitar that you learned to play on back in high school… Shiner Bock saved me from an eternally boring life of drinking flavorless macroswill. It was my first taste of a “craft beer”, and although I don’t drink much of it these days, it will always hold a special place in my heart. If I’m feeling nostalgic, everyone might get a round of those shiny brown bottles with their understated yellow label. It takes me back.

So you can imagine the feeling I had when I saw the new release, in it’s curious all black packaging with silver typeface. That’s right, I was giddy. The Bohemian Black. Apparently it’s a re-release of the amazingly popular anniversary beer Shiner 97, but with a few tweaks. Word on the street is that it’s even being brought back as a new member of Shiner’s regular lineup. This was exciting stuff.

A traditional Schwarzbier, or “black beer” brewed true to style, the Boho in it’s sultry black attire was calling my name. While I don’t remember ever having the 97, I fell in love with New Belgium’s 1554 black ale a couple of years ago and have been wanting to explore the style a bit. Turns out they were very different beers for being so seemingly similar.

Poured from a bottle (thanks Lefty!) it was as dark as I’d hoped. There wasn’t much of a head, but what little there was had a nice toffee colored brown hue. It quickly disappeared to leave the ebony liquid to stand there all alone. Smell? Not much. I get smoky malts and a little bit of coffee, but that’s about it. Down the hatch.

It’s taste is slightly more complex than it’s aroma, but it still left me wanting more. The smokiness and coffee are more pronounced here. I pick up on the yeast too, a little bready. There’s also a hint of bitter dark chocolate. It wasn’t the magician that the 1554 is to me though. It was fairly straight forward… perhaps a little boring. Might I suggest a little more of those Saaz hops? I’m just sayin’.

Mouthfeel was underwhelming too. A big part of what I love about the 1554 is that creamy feel it has in your mouth. There was none of that with the newborn from Shiner. Lefty even asked if it seemed watery to me. It did.

That said, I enjoyed the **** out of this beer. I’m willing to admit that some of the reason for that may be the nostalgia and perhaps even a twist of sophisticated marketing. The style is meant to be a little “boring” though, so in that respect, the boys at the Spoetzl Brewery really knocked one out of the park with this one.

It was also unfair of me to go into this review ready to compare it to New Belgium’s black beer. Theirs is actually a black ale brewed with lager yeast “at relatively high temperatures”, so of course it’s going to have some funky **** goin’ on.

This would make a great session beer and I know that I’ll be drinking more of it. I’m also really glad to see Shiner branching out and trying to keep things new and exciting, even if they did strike out with their attempt at a Hefeweisen. Keep ‘em coming boys, I’m still here.

Would go well with: Some vegetable stew, a grilled cheese sammich and perhaps a little Pantera? Anything that’s dark and takes you back to your high school glory days.
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Re: Review: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager

Post  Logan on Sun Jun 14, 2009 11:26 am

Sounds like an awesome beer. I personally enjoy Czech beers like Pilsner Urquell, Budvar and Staropramen. A new beer garden opened near my hometown. I'll see if they have that Shiner Bohemian Black Lager "on tap" there.
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