Shiner Prickly Pear: Beer Made from the Cactus Plant!
To quote from the label on the back of the bottle, “This small batch brew is the third in our Limited Edition Brewer‘s Pride Craft Brew Series. A combination of Citra and U.S. Golding hops gives this refreshing lager its citrus flavour and floral aroma. The brew’s signature tartness comes from the fruit of the prickly pear, a cactus native to our brewery’s landscape that’s hearty, rugged and unmistakably unique – qualities we surely appreciate – Prosit!”
For an adherent of the German “Reinheitsgebot” -and not even a fanatic at that – the idea of brewing beer from the cactus plant makes, of course, one’s hair stand on end. But then, why? After all it was the ancient Germans who brewed mead, which, to the best of my knowledge, was made from honey, and which some call honey-wine, but others call honey-beer. Thus this idea has a long tradition in Germany. And as far as using local plants to brew intoxicating drinks, it was the ancient Aztecs who used the Agave plant to make their Pulque, and that even by chewing up the leaves and spitting the resulting mash into a big container where it then was allowed to ferment. And even nowadays – so I have heard – very “real” bottle of Tequila has to contain a dead worm. Yuck! It’s really astonishing what craving for intoxicating drinks makes man do. 😉
And here in America, the land of the microbreweries, so to speak, brewers like to experiment with the basic ingredients and additions when brewing beer. And even if one might have reservations, this beer made from the cactus plant does not overturn one’s stomach. Talking of beer made from the cactus plant: why don’t I start brewing it since we have quite a few prickly pear cacti on our property! 😉
But back to the beer itself: I really can’t say much about it. To my mind it has a “lemonady” taste, somewhat like fruit drops, and I don’t really care for it. It’s of a dark-yellow or light-brown colour – let’s call it amber. I can’t agree with the description that, since it is made, among other stuff, with Citra hops, it has a citrus flavour. But I agree that it is refreshing – kind of. And I’d also agree that it has a certain floral aroma. But, as I said before, that is not exactly what I want to taste in a beer.
Conclusion: it was well worth while buying that beer and trying it, but I won’t buy more of it.
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