Shiner Smokehaus - Spoetzl Brewery, Shiner
Smoke beer is a passion of mine. It's an interesting style that has a great range of flavors that fit under the "smoked" name. Shiner Smokehaus is a beer I first saw on the shelves last month and was intrigued, and not just because it's promised to be smoky. The first thing I noticed was the packaging, it has a really fun design that looks like it was pulled right from a 1960s Boy's Life magazine. The retro look of the label is great but what it says is what sealed the deal for me. At the bottom of the label I saw "Mesquite Smoked Beer - Helles Style." Done. Put this in my cart, I'm ready to drink it right now.
I should let you know that the glass of Shiner Smokehaus I'm drinking for review isn't the first one I've had. I bought a six pack of this beer and opened the first bottle a week ago. I wasn't impressed by this beer at the time. It may have been a result of the other beers I was drinking that evening, but I was not impressed. I didn't get any smokiness at all and the flavor seemed quite bland. Well, here we are again, the Smokehaus and I, and it's a different story entirely.
The aroma coming from this glass is really quite good. You'll notice the smoke right up front, but it isn't over powering. It lends a nice bacony aroma to the beer and makes the malt seem a little sweeter. It's also worth noting that this beer uses a Helles base, so it's got a clear warm golden color to it. While a lot of smoke beers use a Porter base to convey as much smokiness as possible, it's much more of an accent in this beer.
The flavor of the Shiner Smokehaus follow the aroma pretty closely. There's less bacon in the flavor but it's still eluded to. It's nice and smoky up front, not overpowering but definitely strong enough to get your attention. When the beer reaches the middle of your palate you get more of the softer, sweeter malt flavor. The finish is where the Helles flavors come back into play, leaving your palate cleansed of the heavy smoke and greasy bacon. It almost seems like this beer starts out really dark with the smoke, lightens up as you get the malt and then finishes even lighter, like a Helles. It's was a lot of fun to drink this beer.
Shiner Smokehaus was really easy to drink and very enjoyable. For anyone who has been turned off by smoke beers before, I'd suggest trying a glass of Smokehaus. You'll get the smoke flavor without being overpowered by a dark beer and thick, persistent smoky aftertaste.