Welcome, beers of summer. According to the calendar, summer has yet to begin, and won’t in fact do so until June 21st. Mother Nature, however, has other ideas, as the thermometer here in Georgia has already been hitting the mid-nineties of late. That being the case, I’m ready to welcome the beers of summer-among them, Shiner Ruby Redbird, a refreshing treat made with real Texas Ruby Red grapefruit juice and ginger.
This isn’t ale, either; it’s a lager, and a very interesting one at that. The beer is on the light side in body, though that makes it all the more drinkable and refreshing. It’s light on alcohol, too, at 4.2% by weight, another reason I find it such a wonderful hot-weather quencher. It’s not, however, short on flavor by any means.
Shiner Ruby Redbird pours to a decidedly caramel orange color with a spritzy, short lived head formation and a very spicy citrus and ginger nose. I have to say I really loved this one from the first sip: a small hint of caramel up front is quickly overwhelmed by pungent ginger straight off, which is in turn tempered by juicy, citrusy, sweet red grapefruit notes. Closing my eyes I can almost imagine biting into the sweet, tart fruit-until the ginger emerges again in the finish and dries the beer nicely.
The ginger is the biggest flavor here, but the grapefruit certainly gives it a run for its money and both of these flavors work so well together. Kudos to Shiner for a winning concoction, and for featuring a local ingredient. This beer is a natural summer quencher, and I enjoyed a bottle with Jerk chicken hot off the grill with wild rice and a fresh vegetable succotash of corn, lima beans and tomatoes. The spicy ginger in the beer went delightfully well with the spicy chicken.
Even if fruit beers are not normally your thing, you should give Shiner Ruby Redbird a try. IPAs are often prized for their hop-inspired citric grapefruit character; why not then a beer that has grapefruit infused grapefruit character? And the ginger is a welcome addition to boot. Try it, and tell them the Bruguru sent you.
Update October 28th, 2012: Enjoyed this on tap at Taco Mac in Kennesaw, Georgia. Full of delicious grapefruit, ginger, and hops. Three great tastes that taste great together. I really enjoy this beer and its a great deal for just $5 on tap.
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.