On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me....

12 Champagnes, and one little Shiner Cheer Beer.

WAIT. That sounds like the 12th Day of Christmas....

Ok, is it really fair to put ANY beer against 12 single-grower champagnes? I mean Henri Billiot, Pierre Peters, Rene Geoffrey, Pierre Gimmonet here folks.  SERIOUS champagnes with more complexity and depth than you could shake a stick at....

The answer is yes, and I'll tell you why.  After all of that delicious, crisp or yeasty, bright or lush, vibrant or dense, wonderful array of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay based Champagnes, my palate yearned for something entirely different, a flavor profile set apart. Which is where beer comes in. Always my deliciously edible life-raft in the active sea of wine that I happily drown myself in. That's a keeper quote.

So onto the beer of the Fourth Day:

Shiner Holiday Cheer: ABV: 5.4%

Wellll, ok, so maybe it is tough to follow champagne, but I don't think this is the issue here.  The beer is, according to the website, "brewed with Texas peaches and roasted pecans." Being a big fan of both, I am simultaneously interested and worried, because I DO NOT like overt fruit in my beer. Let me clarify.  I enjoy a lambic poured over fresh fruit, or alongside a trifle or fruit tart.  It is absolutely delightful and it has its place.  But sitting down to a blueberry or raspberry wheat or the like is not my cup o' tea.

So my guard is up, yet I am hopeful for something unique and different in the holiday brew genre....Well, it's different.  The nose is...peach Jolly Ranchers.  No kidding, folks, sweet, extracted, syrupy, candy peach aroma.  With a good dose of Luden's cherry "cough drops" a.k.a. candy on top.

The beer and website state it is brewed with pecans, but I just don't get it.  And I am searching.  And in my nasal defense, this girl grew up with pecan trees in my Papaw's field, and my mom and Mamaw baking more pecan pies than you could imagine in a lifetime.  I'm talking enough to sink a battleship here.  So I know what a pecan aroma is.  Add to that my 30 day crash course with porters and stouts and nutball galore. Nutty aromas...I've got 'em. If you don't believe me, then just put your nose in Lazy Magnolia's Southern Pecan brew, and then tell me what pecan in beer smells like.

I had hoped that the roasted nuttiness would show itself in the palate, but it was only that same candied peach profile that was so predominant in the nose.  I don't know how anyone could drink more than one of these, unless you are seriously diggin' on the peaches.  I honestly think if you dialed back that overwhelming aspect a few notches and ramped up the nuttiness, with a bit of spice, you could have an intriguing beer.  But as it stands, it is off-balanced and heavy-handed. Interesting enough for a Christmas beer lineup tasting, but needs a serious overhaul....

As for the Champagnes, holy wow. THAT is why I love sparkling wine.....

CHEERS!

Posted on December 15, 2009 and filed under Uncategorized.