This week's Sunday Night Suds review looks at Shiner's Ruby Redbird.
This Pesach we had the z'chus to drive to Chicago with the kids due in large part to the impact of oil prices on airfares. The silver lining to driving to Chicago for the last half of Pesach is that after Pesach I can load up on beer that is unavailable in the New York metropolitan area and drive it home. Of course with Pesach ending so late in the day and near the time that the better beer stores (read:Binny's) close, we had to wait until they opened on Wednesday morning to depart Chicago. So we loaded up the car early Wednesday, got some Dunkin Donuts for the kids for breakfast and arrived at Binny's not long after it opened at 9 AM.
For those who have never been to a Binny's store, you are truly missing an experience. Binny's is a chain in Chicago with 25 stores around the area. I generally shop at one of two their stores depending on where I need to be and what I am looking to buy. For kosher wine, there simply is no better store in the Midwest than the Binny's on Dempster in Skokie. Although the Skokie Binny's has a good beer selection, the Binny's in Lincoln Park (on the site of the former Sam's o'h) has a far superior beer selection. Stay tuned over the next few months to reviews of various Shiner, Sprecher and New Belgium brews which I purchased last Wednesday.
One of the odder beers which I saw at Binny's was the Shiner Ruby Redbird. In perusing the six pack holder, I noted that the Ruby Redbird was made with Texas grapefruit juice and ginger. I paused and wondered to myself - would it be safe to buy a six pack of this beer, or would I wind up tossing the other five bottles after I tried my first? Almost every Shiner beer that I have tried has been excellent, but I did have a bad experience with the Shiner Smokehaus (see review here http://kosherbeers.blogspot.com/2009/11/belated-sunday-night-suds-shiner.html). After a few moments of reflection I decided to take the plunge and bought a six pack of the Ruby Redbird.
So now that you have read this far you must be wondering what the beer tastes like. My first answer is that it doesn't taste like beer. Mrs KB and I tried this after dinner this shabbos as I could not see pairing this with anything on our shabbos table. My first few sips of the brew were all ginger. However, as I continued to drink the beer I began to pick up the grapefruit juice and by the end that was all I was tasting. Mrs Kosher Beers liked the Ruby Redbird, but only picked up the ginger.
Bottom line - the Ruby Redbird is a great drink, but just does not taste like beer at all. Although the bottle identifies the hops used in production which it claims balance the flavors, I could not identify any hops while drinking the beer. Indeed, if I were to sum up the Ruby Redbird in one sentence I would compare it to one of those fruit infused Canada Dry flavors, but without an overload of sweetness.
Shiner Ruby Redbird 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 Ruby Redbird, send me an e-mail and I will gladly oblige.
To see what the experts on Beer Advocate think about Shiner Ruby Redbird, please follow this link http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/143/67274.
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).
If you have seen this post being carried on another site such as JBlog, please feel free to click www.kosherbeers.blogspot.com to find other articles on the kosherbeers blogsite. Hey its free and you can push my counter numbers up!