We made our annual pilgrimage to The Castle of Muskogee for the Renaissance Festival this past weekend and I was pleasantly surprised on the draft beer choices. Not as much on the beers themselves as the number of them. In the past, I only remember a couple of draft beer options available. Perhaps there were more last year and I just didn’t notice. This year I first ventured into The Cave and at the Cavern Tavern found 6 beers on draft:
MillerCoors Brewing; A number of beers under this corporate shell.
- Blue Moon Brewing Co.’s Signature Beer; Blue Moon, Belgian White Wheat Ale
- Miller Brewing Company’s; Lite, Pilsner
- Coors Brewing Company: Coors Light
- George Killian’s; George Killian’s Irish Red
- Leinenkugel’s; Summer Shandy
As I went through the day’s festivities I drank two of the beers. The first was the Summer Shandy and the second the Shiner Bock. In The Cave was the only place I found the Summer Shandy and Blue Moon offerings. They may have been in other places around the Festival, but most of the drink stations I saw only had the other 4 on draft.
From the Breweries…
“Our own unique take on Franz Kugler’s original Munich tavern tradition. Leinenkugel’s® Summer Shandy® is our traditional weiss beer with refreshing natural lemonade flavor that makes it the perfect summer beer. As we like to say, it’s fresh-squeezed Wisconsin-brewed beer.
Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Wheat, Corn syrup (Maltose), Yeast, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hops, Honey, Citric Acid, Natural Flavors”
Pairs with: BBQ chicken, fruit salads, watermelon and freshly caught, grilled fish.
“Tip back a Bock. Brewed with rich roasted barley malt and German specialty hops, this lightly hopped American-style dark lager always goes down easy. Originally a seasonal beer, fans have demanded it year-round since 1973.”
I selected the Summer Shandy because I hadn’t had it before and we had just walked into The Cave and “Wolgemuf” was about to start playing. Wolgemuf means “happy” and is a German Folk music group. This being a German inspired beer I felt it appropriate. The first thing you smell and taste from this beer is LEMON. Major lemon taste that smacks you right in the mouth. Yes, it is beer and there is a malt taste to it too, but you are getting lemon. I think this beer is perfectly advertised for being a high heat summer beer. I would drink it again during the heat and especially with grilled fish. No bitter to note and good carbonation throughout the drinking.
I may need to see if I can use this beer for a beer bread/cake recipe or other cooking recipes where lemon would be a good complement.
I had a late lunch, as most of the eating establishments had long lines during the lunch hour and I didn’t want to mess with it. Besides I always stop in at the Pauper’s Eatery (in the Harbor) for Chicken Poppers and Waffle cut fries and have never been disappointed. What’s best to go with seasoned chicken wrapped with bacon and deep-fried, but another draft beer. This time the Bock by Shiner. I have had Shiner Bock several times, it being the only “Imported Beer” on draft in many beer bars in Oklahoma. It still is that in a lot of the OK bars. Overall the beer is a nice change from a traditional American Pale Ale/Pilsner and when those are the only choices I will go for the Bock. Definitely a malt centric beer with very little bitter or hop flavor. No strong flavors or lasting aftertaste for this beer. Good carbonation that lasts throughout the drink.
Summer Shandy: A beer I would repeat if it is high summer. For its style and what it advertises itself as, I have no problem with it. I wouldn’t get this beer unless you like lemon flavor.
Bock: Let’s just say there needs to be some wholesale cleansing of the alcohol laws in this state. All that aside, I have enjoyed Shiner Bock more than once in the past. Would it be my first choice in a beer, no. Is it many times the best choice in the dive bars, yes. As such it is a solid beer, just nothing overly special.
I give both beers a 3.25 out of 5. They both met their expectations.
So sit back, relax and have ABigBeer.
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