New Beer: Shiner FM966 Farmhouse Ale

One Big Bottle

The brews we're sipping, one by one.


[Photo: Maggie Hoffman]

The beers from Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, have a devoted following—mostly the flagship Bock, best enjoyed in copious amounts alongside copious amounts of barbecue. Their Christmas beer also has its adherents—we have to admit we found that peachy, nutty dark wheat beer a little disjointed. But we're always curious about a popular brand's new releases, so we eagerly cracked open a sample of Shiner's new spring beer, a farmhouse ale that will be available through March.

Belgian yeast gives this brew some spicy, fruity character—there's no spice added, but y'all are experts on what yeast can do now that you've read up on it. The scent hints at cardamom and white pepper, and the beer has a floral flavor up front that veers toward chamomile tea (or soap, if you're sensitive to floral flavors in your brew.) Light malt flavor fills out the core—it reminded us of the flavor of saltine crackers.

This isn't the most flavorful farmhouse ale you could try—if you're new to this style, it's worth calibrating your palate on Belgian examples like Saison Dupont and Fantôme Saison, plus domestic brews from breweries such as Ommegang and Hill Farmstead (plus Southampton, Boulevard, and Lost Abbey, if you can get your hands on them.) Still, this Texan farmhouse ale is plenty food-friendly, with a slight malty sweetness that will work well with Thai food, ham with mustard, or the delicate flavors of bratwurst.

Have you tried Shiner's new seasonal? What did you think?

About the Author: Maggie Hoffman is the editor of Serious Eats: Drinks. She lives in San Francisco. You can follow her on Twitter @maggiejane.