Monday, February 14, 2011

Spoetzl Brewery: Shiner Kosmos Reserve

For the second in a series of six Spoetzl beers I've chosen Shiner Kosmos Reserve. As disappointed as I was in Shiner Old-time Alt I am equally as pleased with Shiner Kosmos Reserve. The brew is a dry hopped American pale lager named after the brewery's founder Kosmos Spoetzl. It can only be purchased as part of the family reunion mix pack. Kosmos Reserve was originally offered in 1999 and from what I've read it was a very different brew with a much higher alcohol content (although I cannot find ABV% or IBU specs on either edition).

I do find it odd that they have chosen to market to very different beers under the same name. Maybe the assumption is that the original was offered in the last millennium and people have forgotten about it. Still I haven't had the first edition produced under the name Shiner Kosmos Reserve so I'm approaching it with an open mind and I think I was able to judge it objectively.

A little history on Mr. Kosmos Spoetzl and the Shiner brand. Kosmos Spoetzl was born in Bavaria and immigrated to Shiner Texas. He purchased the Shiner brewery in 1915. His marketing philosophy was simple: A good beer will sell itself. So he set out to brew the very best beer he could.

Style: Dry Hopped American Pale Lager

Vessel: Pilsner Glass (poured from a 12oz bottle)

Appearance: Straw colored with a hint of copper appears to be about 7 or 8 SRM. Average head that holds for a decent amount of time. The lacing is quite nice. (3.5/5)

Aroma: Citrus hop notes that are high for a lager (yet not that hoppy compared to other styles). Subtle biscuit note but overall very little malt aroma. (2.5/5)

Flavor: I find the combination of clean yet complex maltiness and unusually high hop flavor (for a lager) a pleasant combination. The malt complexity reveals itself more with each sip. It is slightly sweet for a lager with hints of bread flavor. Mild hoppy after taste that lingers for a few seconds after each sip. Very slight hint of alcohol that is barely detectable. (3.5/5)

Mouth Feel: Medium bodied with average carbonation. Crisp and light on the palate. (3/5)

Over all: This is a brew I could consume on a hot day or an afternoon at the lake. It is easy to drink and offers more than your average American lager without straying to far from the style. I've read a few reviews that were not so kind to Kosmos Reserve but I found it pleasant, crisp and easy to drink. To each his own because every palate is different. If it was available on its own I would buy a six pack for a hot weekend in the summer, but overall it does not stand out enough in the vast universe of craft beer to pursue again. A hoppy American lager is a nice surprise to a style that I consistently find bland. (12.5/20) 63%

 - Jay

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