K. Spoetzl Brewery, located in Shiner, Texas (just west of Houston) was founded in 1909 by German immigrants and has produced its famous flagship, Shiner Bock, since the very beginning, as it survived Prohibition and the beer wars as a family owned entity by sticking to local distribution within 100 miles of the brewery.
Now owned by Gambrinus Company, along with the vestiges of Pete’s Wicked Ale and others, it brews over 100,000 barrels and its products are distributed in 41 states, still led by its flagship Bock.
Most of their brands center around classic German beer styles and their Hefeweizen evolved from an earlier Honey Wheat label about ten years ago.
To preface, I’m admittedly a severe wheat beer snob. I cut my teeth in the brewing world at a Bavarian weissbier brewery and tend to be more critical of this style than most others.
This Hefeweizen is most certainly not Reihenheitsgebot, as it contains orange and lemon peel and is also bottle conditioned with honey. On the bright side, it is non-pasteurized. The fruit spices are very mild, however, and it is a little more German in direction—with fancy terms like “Prost!“ on the label—than the more common Belgian-style wit beers produced by our macro-brewing friends, such as Blue Moon by Coors/Molson and Shock Top by AB-InBev.
While they recommend serving with a lemon wedge—sacrilege to any true Bavarian weissbier—I avoided such nonsense. The brew pours very light and with a pale straw color. The head was unfortunately almost non-existent. The body is also thin and the aroma has just the faintest hint of fruit. Very mildly hopped, it drinks very easy and is, as they suggest, a nice summer refresher.
This is better than most American wheat beers as it has a little of the classic weiss’n character, however it certainly isn’t anything to write home to mom about. It’s a nice, non-offensive and refreshing pour.