It's hard to imagine that there's a brewer in America that hasn't popped out at least one pale ale in its history. Yet here we are. Spoetzel Brewery, better known as Shiner for the Texas town it calls home has been around for 102 years and focused exclusively on lagers. Guess that's understandable considering their German immigrant origins and the fact that they've done just fine with their flagship Shiner Bock.
And considering the arcane Texas beer labeling laws that say classify "lagers", "ales" and "malt liquor" by alcohol content instead of how they're made. But anyhow, Spoetzl, now a part of the Gambrinus group that also owns Bridgeport and the American Trumer Pils, has been catching up to the craft beer craze by issuing many new beers leadinging to their centennial. Now they've finally added an ale to their portfolio.
Wild Hare Pale Ale as described as "a classic American Pale Ale-richly hopped, fruity and floral. Munich malt nicely balances the assertive character of the U.S. Golding and Bravo hop varieties that give this brew its signature bitterness and aroma."
I was sent some preview bottles in advance of its national rollout (this is why I write about beer rather than head lice). So I popped open a bottle for one of my One-Take Beer Review videos, and i have a few more notes here:
Pours a very clear, burnished gold malt color, under a slightly orangey and thick head. The smell does bring in the hops, but in a gentle way. The intent seems to be as a "gateway" for people who may have had Shiner Bock as their regular. The malt taste is slightly light, possibly some of it is balanced from the hops, but the overall effect is a lighter mouthfeel. Hops are definitely American, with notes of citrus, pine and resin. Just not as powerful as the usual "hop bomb" American Pale Ales. In other words, easy going and almost sessionable. Though at 5.7% abv, you'll want to go easy.
Shiner wild Hare is still in limited distribution in Texas, but look for it starting soon locally.