Friday, March 06, 2009

The Session # 25: Love Lagers

Its the first Friday of the month, which can only mean its Session Time! The host this month is The Beer Nut, the theme is Love Lager, to focus on those beers that no one does seem to love and why not. Initially I was excited about this month's session, I actually like lagers, and think that there some really special ones made. However, I got a note from the host, the Nut himself:
Nooooo! Don't go looking for a fancy, complex, connoisseur's lager. Or at least, compare one to those mass produced lagers you mention -- remember they're exotic foreign beers to me and lots of others. What do they taste like? What's wrong with them, and why do so many beer drinkers not care about what's wrong with them? That's what I'm trying to get at: those lagers which are part of the scenery where most of us live, but which almost never get a proper treatment in beer blogs.
Now as a former host of this amazing event, I' hoping I am not stepping on the hosts toes, but I guess I have problems with the above statement. I love to celebrate beer, beer that is art, beer that is craft, beer that has meaning, and of course tastes good. I have a hard time wrapping my head around why in the world would I want to taste a mass produced lager that isn't any of those things I just listed. It would be like having a cheese paring and tasting a great Stilton or Gouda with a slide of Kraft American Singles...why would you? I mean could I go out and find a lager in this state to do a tasting? Heck yes, besides the ubiquitous BMC products, Texas is also home to Lonestar and Pearl, two lagers that while not quite mass produced like BMC, taste like. The Beer Nut asks whats wrong with them? They don't taste good, they use cheap adjuncts and they lack any discernible complex flavor. They give beer a bad name.
So as you may have been able to tell I didn't want to do a tasting on some standard lager, luckily I got a chance to try something while not one of those fancy lagers, is not quite one of the every day lagers we beer advocates see in stores and quickly pass by.
The beer this month is Shiner's new Kosmos Reserve. This beer is available only in Shiner's new Family Reunion mixed six pack. Initially folks around Texas were hoping that this was the same version that was discontinued in the mid 90's, an all malt tasty thirst quenching every day lager. Well I'm not sure how much the recipe over all has changed since this, but this one is different its dry hopped which does add a whole new flavor to this beer (I would assume having never had the original). The beer is named for Kosomos Spoetzle the founder of Shiner a hundred years ago. He started the brewery making traditional German Lagers so I've always found it funny that Shiner didn't have one in their line up. So enough with the introductions, how does the beer taste?
The Beer: The beer pours a bright golden yellow with streaks of orange color throughout and a nice sized stark white head on top. The nose has honey and floral scents, toasted buttered bread, yeasty and doughy. The mouthfeel is vibrant, crisp and clean, but rather heavy for a lager. Toasted bread, and mild hop bitterness, floral like. A very smooth beer. There is a slight coppery taste in the beer. Over all the beer is very nice, a nice although short lasting hoppy bitter finish. Missing some depth, but I guess I don't really expect that from Shiner beers, just good solid drinkable brews and this one hits that mark solidly. This is a lager that Texans should be proud to call their own and if gets them away from drinking Lone Start as the beer of Texas that would be even better. Hopefully Shiner releases this one fully. Gets a B from me. The few folks that have reviewed it on BA tend to agree.

Well I'll be sending this on to the Beer Nut and while not perfectly within the scope of his Session I'm still very glad he hosted as it does get us thinking about why we don't choose our every day lagers and instead reach for something else, something better in my mind. Once he posts the round up I'll post a link to it.

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