…To be merry and have plenty of cheer! Shiner Holiday Cheer that is. The bottle cap says “To: You, From: Shiner.” A gift from Irving, I recently got my hands on this and gave it a whirl. He could only use a few adjectives to describe what he thought of it – weird, different. After drinking it, I have come to the conclusion that this gift was, well, interesting. It’s like no beer I’ve ever had before (and believe me, I have had PLENTY), but that’s not to say it’s a bad thing.This is a dunkelweizen, or dark wheat beer, that has been brewed with peaches and roasted pecans. Different yes, but not altogether bad.

I would be remiss if I didn’t note that I expected something with nutmeg or cinnamon, something you would generally associate with most holiday fare. This however is not one of those. The aroma is quite fruity, like a bowl of freshly sliced peaches. There is a bit of a malty nose to it as well, but the dominant aroma is of sweet peach. Coincidentally, during a process called krausening, the peach and pecan flavors in the beer really come to life. For those not yet familiar with it, let me explain krausening. Krausening occurs near the end of the primary fermentation when some younger, still actively fermenting wort and yeast are added into the mix. This secondary fermentation process helps to smoothen the flavor of the beer and eliminate strong tastes and odors.

The color is a deep amber, and almost brown, yet offers an almost red hue when hold up your glass into the light. It is quite clear, meaning this dunkelweizen has been filtered. No cloudy or murkiness to try and sift through like most weizen beers. This one is clear as day. There are plenty of tiny bubbles racing to the top of the glass, indicating a pretty good amount of carbonation. The head that develops at the top is a good finger’s worth of ivory white foam that dissipates fairy quickly. Lacing is average, but with minimal retention throughout. Mouthfeel is pretty good, light to medium body. The taste is sweet and peachy, with a subtle hint of malt and perhaps the roasted pecans at the beginning, then giving way and ending with a slightly bitter finish. Quite odd, but satisfying if you’re into the experimentation and the whole fruity beer thing. One thing I did notice that was absent was any spicy notation that would come with a wheat beer. Perhaps it’s due to the sweetness of the peach or the earthy component of the dark malt and roasted pecans. Maybe the krausening smoothed it all away.

Overall, this is a pretty unique beer. That much is certain. Did I really like it? The jury is still out on that one. But I will say it is different. Ultimately this comes down to individual preference. Some will love it, others will hate it, some will simply scratch their heads and wonder what it is they’re drinking exactly. Would I spring eight to ten bucks on a six pack of this? Don’t know. But I will offer this – Good thing this is the holiday season and I’m feeling festive…