Wild West Brew Review: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager, Billie's Chilies, Lucky U IPA

Photo Courtesy of Lisa Colburn

Three Wild West Beers

Howdy folks, I’m here today to tell y’all about some popular brews ‘round these parts. We might not have all those fancy New York beers down here in the desert southwest but we like ours just fine. In fact we think they’re just dandy and I’ll bet a handful of silver dollars you will too.

You see, when you’re out on the range on a cold evenin’ and settle down for the night, you want a drink that’s gonna help keep you warm as a horned toad on a sunny rock. Well, now, whisky will do the trick but everyone knows it’s the devil’s water. My posse and me always pack a case of Shiner Bohemian Black Lager, that grain elixir made right here in Texas. It’s dark as old Black Bart’s wretched heart and it smells like the mercantile candy section. Now it’s a might clean and sweet at first but it finishes with favorable charred wood, molasses, and licorice flavors. This 4.9% ABV lager is smooth as a newborn’s bottom and dee-licious. Sure is easy to have a few while sittin’ a spell around the fire with the guitar after a long day. Darn good, like sarsaparilla. We figure this Shiner is a solid B+.

A local fella, Wild Bill, gave us a few bottles of Billie’s Chilies Beer. He brought some down from Colorado where we reckon he’s wanted by the sheriff. It’s light-colored like straw and clear as a mountain stream. He says it’s brewed with five different peppers and it sure smells like it. Jalapeno aromas smack you cross the nose as the bottle cap comes off. Chilies, as one might expect, dominate the taste throughout. Green chilies are noticeable first followed by a sweet graininess and of course, more chili flavors. This 5% ABV one trick pony might be a bit hot to drink on it’s own but Cookie says it would go good with chili or smoked beef brisket, and a canteen of water. This C+ beer is certainly unique.

The local saloons carry a bitter barley tonic called Lucky U IPA. We were a might concerned at first because the Lucky U ranch down on the bluff is a popular house of ill repute, uh… that‘s what the cowboys ‘round these parts tell me anyway. The cantina proprietors say it’s brewed way up in Colorado by an outfit in Breckenridge with the same name as the town, guess it‘s easy for folks to remember that way. It’s colored amber-orange like the bottom of a Tequila Sunrise. A dense head of foam sits on top, big as a ten gallon hat, and off-white. The 6.2% ABV ale smells of perfume, like they tell me the fillies down at the Lucky U Ranch do — again, not that I know firsthand or nothin’. Hints of apricot, peach, and citrus aromas also fill the air. Tastes of sweet malt lead into grapefruit hop flavors oh, probably about midway through or so, where they’re then joined by some pine hop notes and bitterness. I’d say it’s a rootin’ tootin’ fantastic and complex IPA that’ll leave those darned hop heads hollerin’ for some more. It’s approachable enough for the greenhorns and lasses though and Cookie keeps rambling on about how swell it would be with southwestern grub. We reckon the Lucky U’s probably a B+.

Well, thanks for listening to my story folks. I’m much obliged.

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