The new summer seasonal is Ruby Redbird - a crisp lager brewed with Texas Red Grapefruit juice from the Rio Grande Valley and an addition of ginger. Just like Smokehaus, this has turned out to be a Shiner beer that divides drinkers into either the love it or hate it camp far more passionately than most of their other brews.
Me? I like it, but I’m a big fan of those west coast IPAs with their citrusy, grapefruit-ey American hop character. It’s pleasantly dry and refreshing with plenty of that grapefruit flavour and just a hint of ginger in the finish. Nowhere near enough to make it taste like the deliciously moist and spicy ginger cake that my mother used to make, but just the right amount to enhance the flavour of the grapefruit. Ever had honeydew melon with ginger sprinkled on it? Same thing. Or maybe you’ve dusted a little ginger on your Rio Star grapefruit half in the morning. No? Try it, it’s pretty darn good.
I’ll come right out and say that I probably wouldn’t want to drink more than one or two of these, but on a hot Texas summer day when the mercury’s flirting with triple digits it would really hit the spot before I move on to one of my other favourite locally brewed hot weather refreshers such as Live Oak Pilz or Independence Saison.
Ruby Redbird is currently on the menu at Lamar, in bottles, and will remain there throughout the summer until Shiner stop brewing it. It’ll be a strong contender for draft status next summer if we can find a tap for it, but with all the new Austin and Texas breweries opening up, draft placements are getting harder and harder to come by with a finite number of faucets on the tap wall.
Jim Hughes, Head Beer Nerd, Alamo South Lamar
“If I had all the money I’ve spent on drink… I’d spend it on drink.” ~ Sir Henry Rawlinson