This week’s Sunday Night Suds looks at Shiner Smokehaus beer.
While I was in Chicago this weekend for my nephew’s bar mitzvah, I visited Binny’s on Dempster (Skokie) to look for beers which are not available on the East Coast. For those not familiar with Chicago, there used to be two liquor outlet chains in Chicago – Binny’s and Sam’s. Both of these stores had their individual strengths – Sam’s had an incredible selection of wines, while Binny’s had superior beer choices and usually better prices on beer and harder alcohol. When I came in for the first days of Pesach (or when I found myself downtown) I used to shop at Sam’s. When I was looking for good prices on scotch or beer (or when I found myself in Skokie) I would shop at Binny’s.
In October 2009 these two chains merged, thus I found myself traveling to Skokie with Mrs. KosherBeers on a Saturday Night looking for new beer. I had checked the Binny’s website in advance and saw that they had a wide selection of New Belgium beer (which I recently learned had many styles with kosher certification). While perusing their many well stocked aisles (as usual) I noticed that they carried Shiner Smokehaus, a beer which is made with smoked hops.
[For a great article about Shiner Smokehaus and Rabbi Krupnik, the amicable Rav Hamachshir (certifying Rabbi) for many beers which are certified kosher by the Va’ad of Detroit click here http://www.victoriaadvocate.com/news/2009/sep/30/ab_m3_shiner_kosher_100209_67375/ ]
As my shopping cart already contained three sixers of New Belgium, I pondered whether I should invest in a six pack of the Smokehaus as well. I consulted with one of the knowledgeable clerks at Binny’s (always helpful and never pushy) and he told me that the beer tasted like “a barbecue in a bottle.” This of course only added to my concern about spending $7.99 +tax on a six pack when I might not want to drink more than one. I asked whether I could buy a single since I was already buying three six packs of New Belgium varieties, but the manager indicated that they did not sell singles except for specific oversized bottles. I kind of expected this response, but figured it was worthy asking.
As you can tell from the picture at the top of the page I did get a bottle after all. While I was being rung up for the New Belgium, they brought me a bottle of Smokehaus and presented it to me as a gift. I was shocked and grateful. They don’t know me, as I only shop there once or twice a year. They don’t know about my beer blogging hobby and certainly did not know that I had previously given their store a positive review on beer advocate two years ago. It was just a nice thing to do for a customer and shows why they are a great store.
So what did the beer taste like? Upon opening it, the beer did not smell like a BBQ. It also was somewhat pale in color and much lighter than the dark brown beer I was expecting. But the taste is undoubtedly mesquite. The beer basically tastes like a lager with a few mesquite chips floating in it (no I did not see any in the bottle). I don't know if I could drink a few of these at a time, but it was an interesting flavor and I would recommend trying one if you can find it.
I leave the food pairing for Shiner Smokehaus to your imagination, but if you can grill it, this beer probably would go well with it.
Shiner Smokehaus is under the Kosher Supervision of the Va'ad of Detroit, although the brew does not bear the Va'ad symbol on its label. If you would like me to e-mail you the Va'ad LOC for Shiner Smokehaus, send me an e-mail and I will gladly oblige.
To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about Shiner Smokehaus, please follow this link http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/143/50270.
As always, please remember to drink responsibly and to never waste good beer unless there is no designated driver.If you've tried this beer or any others which have been reviewed on the kosher beers site, please feel free to post your comments (anonymous comments are acceptable).
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