If I had to name a guilty pleasure when it comes to beer in general, it
would be that I tend to like fruity beers. Even in the case of a beer
like Shiner Holiday Cheer which is a fairly direct palate, the end
result is a good-tasting, easy to drink beer. So why not give it the
good score it deserves?
I received a six pack from my sister for Christmas (who got it from a
friend who traveled out of state - so thanks to everyone involved!). I
poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass.
Appearance: Beautiful dark ruby red, translucent body. Forms an
average-size, off-white, soapy head which mostly dissipates and leaves
minor lacing on the glass.
Smell: Canned peaches and a subtle floral scent.
Taste: I’ll be honest, there’s not a lot to Shiner Holiday Cheer, but
what’s there is pretty good. The label literature claims it’s actually a
dunkelweizen brewed with peaches and roasted pecans, but the actual
palate is more akin to an ESB or other British pub-style ale with a
strong fruity finish. It’s actually a bit disappointing that the wheat
character doesn’t come through stronger as I think it would pair really
well with the peaches and pecans. It also doesn’t seem to be brewed with
Bavarian yeast as there’s no banana or clove flavors or aromas, either.
So what IS in this beer? Well it’s a two-stage palate. Dark, sweet malt
flavors open the palate. The pecans aren’t all that discernible, though
they do add a nuttiness and earthiness to the beer. There’s light, dry
hop bitterness at the apex, followed by a strong, delicious taste of
canned peaches on the finish. It’s one of those rare instances where a
canned flavor actually tastes better than fresh as there’s a touch of
syrupy sweetness to appeal to your sweet tooth. It finishes fairly
clean, maybe even a little too clean for its own good. Still, it’s
thoroughly enjoyable and there’s no overt flaws, so what’s not to like?
Drinkability: What keeps Shiner Holiday Cheer from being a great beer is
the fact it’s a little too light all around. The mouthfeel is thin and
crisp with a clean aftertaste that’s actually kind of refreshing for a
moment there. This does not drink like a wheat brew in any way, which is
a shame because as smooth as it is, it could be even smoother. At 5.4%
ABV it’s got a pretty efficient body as it imparts a lot of flavor, but
doesn’t have any raw density to it. I’m not sure what so "Christmasy"
about it as I think this would actually work better as a summer
seasonal, but I’ll take what I can get.