Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I drink quite a bit of beer. I don't drink it to get drunk, but I confess that's a "happy accident" if I'm in no mood to be reasonable and deal with the travails or even minor setbacks of life in a sober mindset. Here's the part where I quote some genius of times past who all but credited beer for enabling them to trail blaze some new mode of human thought or invent something really functional that changed the world without fucking up the environment, but I'll spare you all the intellectual gymnastics because it's overkill when talking about something as awesome as beer. Beer doesn't need it. Beer--at least good beer--is a thing of variable complexity but the reason for its value couldn't be more simple: it tastes good and in the best cases, makes you feel good.
So here's the first of what I hope will be many entries of beer I like. And the winner is....
I was only recently turned on to Shiner Bock. I went down to visit a friend in Austin, Texas where Shiner beers are kind of everywhere the way Sierra Nevada is here in California. Only the company has been around much longer and though they don't seem to have major distribution, they seem to be popular in other states besides Texas.
According to the bottle, bock was brewed in Germany "to celebrate the arrival of spring," but I seem to remember reading that it was also brewed during winter solstice and Christmas. I can see the reason for the seasonal versatility. Though I haven't tasted a whole lot of bocks, Shiner's just as good on the cold nights here in the Bay Area as it was on the scorching days and nights in Texas over the summer.
So here's the rundown:
The carbonation is pretty moderate and it has a really dry feel to it, making it kind of crisp. If complexity is your thing, Shiner will probably bore you. It's about a medium dark beer with a medium body, which is probably why it's so good on a cold night, but hints of caramel give it a sweetness that's damn good during the summer. This is balanced out with some a delicious roasted malt flavor and a pretty sharp aftertaste.
The biggest problem I've found with Shiner Bock is that though it doesn't contain a ton of alcohol (4.40% abv), it's so easily drinkable that a hangover is the next logical step, so watch it.
It's not the best stuff in the world. I like Shiner Bock a lot because of its quality for the price (around $6-$7) and because it doesn't give me that "beer coma" if I have one after work but before dinner.