Call Me Confused
A Review of Shiner 102 by Spoetzl Brewery
Posted on 11/1/2011 by Brew's Your Daddy
When I first started my journey down the better beer trail, I can still remember thinking that the Shiner line was one of the most amazing things I had ever gotten my hands on. The beers were just so different than what I was used to drinking that I couldn't pull myself away from them. But as I slowly did, I started to realize that while they were a great bridge beer, they weren't much more than that. Recently at the World Beer Fest in Durham, NC I saw the Spoetzl Brewery stand and felt a slight tug at my heart. Though I knew there were tons of better beers at the festival, I felt the need to give them a whirl just for old times sake. I saw that the Shiner 102 was one of the available selections, and seeing as how it is their anniversary beer, my choice was pretty simple.

Now right off the bat, I will admit that I was pretty confused. According to my festival guide, it claimed that the Shiner 102 was a pilsner. In the looks department, I was convinced. A mix somewhere between yellow and gold was what I saw, with a bright white and foamy head sitting on top. Ok. Yes, it looks like a pilsner. But when I went in for the first smell, I almost had to slap someone. There was no pilsner aromas in my glass. Either something went terribly wrong, or someone lied to someone else somewhere. I was picking up on a lot of wheat characteristics. Aside from a large grain presence, there was some light caramel notes in there, along with some faint coriander, lemon, and even a slight hint of floral hops. There might have even been some toasted bread laying down deep in the glass, but I was still confused at this point so don't hold me to it. I looked at the beer, then back at the festival guide, then back at the beer, then smelled the beer, then looked back at the guide, then decided ''Who cares? Im gonna drink it anyway and see what happens''.

The first sip, while confirming that my nose was correct in that it was a wheat (my research later revealed its actually a ''double wheat''), left me disappointed. There were a lot of what I would call ''good intentions'' in there, but none of them were clear or profound. It was almost like a really good wheat beer got watered down and they decided they would go ahead and serve it anyway. I found the usual suspects of a wheat beer in there. Some lemon grass and coriander peeked through a base layer of toasted malt that was highlighted with some light grain edges. There was a bit of a watered down sweetness that I was getting and that just disappointed me more. As I said earlier, there was a lot of potential there, but it was never fully recognized. The finish was dry and clean, and there was plenty of carbonation available to clean up what I thought was a bit of a disappointment beer.

I'm not gonna sit here and rip Spoetzl Brewery for what seemed like a misprint in the festival guide. I am however going to be brutally honest when it comes to the Shiner 102. It disappointed me. I have a soft spot for the line that was partially responsible for showing me that better beer was out there. Be that as it may, this beer falls far short of amazing, and really barely comes in at average. I think it might be yet another decent bridge beer for those new to the game due to it having a few better than average flavors in it, but those who have been around a while would probably be as disappointed by it as I was. There are far better wheat beers out there. If that is what you are in the mood for, go ahead and roll the dice on something else.

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Shiner 102 by Spoetzl Brewery
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