Shiner 99 Munich Style Helles Lager
Time for a review of a “legacy” beer – one that is no longer on the market. It’s the Shiner 99 Munich Style Helles Lager, sometimes written simply as the Shiner 99 or as the Shiner 99 Helles Lager. Whatever you call it, it was one of Shiner’s anniversary beers as they were working towards their 100th anniversary of brewing. This was the beer they come out with for their 99th year – 2008. We actually reviewed it in February of 2009.
The Helles (German for “bright”) style of beer has an interesting history going back to the 1800’s when the Czech pilsners were starting to become popular. The Munich brewers were worried that Germans would start favoring Czech beer over their own German beer so they created the Munich Helles Lager. The Helles shared some of the same spiced hop notes as the Czech beers but had more malt backbone to balance it out. Problem solved. The style lives on today with some great Helles beers coming from Paulaner, Hofbrau, Lowenbrau, Spaten, Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr and the usual cast of Munich greats.
But back to the beer at hand. The Shiner 99 Helles Lager comes in with an ABV of 4.99% (or “5”). It packs 18 IBUs into the 12 oz bottle. For our review we used a tumbler glass and got a starting beer temperature of 46.6 F. As always, all Shiner beer comes from the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, TX.
Our initial pour gave us an average 1 1/2″ foamy white head that left no head lacing as it dissipated quickly. It’s a got a lively amount of carbonation to it and the body was a clear sparkling golden color.
For our aromas we pulled out hay, lemon, yeast, pepper and spices. For our initial flavor we got only a moderate sweet that evolved in the finish to a light sweet, light bitter and light acidic. For our tastes we got a light biscuit, lemon, light pear, light pepper and a touch of corn as it warms.
The finish length is short, the mouthfeel is dry and the tongue hit is in the middle. There’s no body lacing as you drink it down and on the malt to hop scale it comes in one click to the left of balanced on the malty side.
For our bottom line notes we got a yes to drinkable, repeatable, balance and buy again (though that would be impossible now that it’s not on the market anymore). We got a no to harmony, memorable and wow factor.
The hops are just right in this one – the Hallertau hops out of Germany are mild and nice. The taste is not too far off from an actual Munich style Helles (American beers tend to be more hopped up even if the style is the same as their European counterparts).
It’s a tasty gulper of a beer – a perfect session beer actually. We found as it warmed it was still good even at 60 degrees – it didn’t fall apart like a lot of American hefeweizens, for example. The hops do come out a bit more as it warms, a noticeable shift from the more malty edge we felt it had as it was colder. No matter, it’s a well crafted beer and a welcome treat from Shiner, who is known so well for their Shiner Bock.
Though the Shiner 99 is off the market now there’s always a chance they could bring it back – the Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager (their Schwarzbier) proved so popular that they made it a permanent part of their lineup. Keep your fingers crossed because this one is pretty good.
Shiner 99 Munich Style Helles Lager Rating: 5 out of 10 (?)
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