Shiner FM 966 beer from Spoetzl Brewery of Shiner, Texas is 5.7 percent ABV.
Shiner offers some nice beers besides the bock it is best known for, such as its Bohemian Black Lager, peachy Holiday Cheer and Czech pilsner.
FM 966 is its farmhouse ale offering and offers a lot of flavor for a great price, about $7.99 for a six-pack.
To start, I would have to say that this is more of an entry-level farmhouse ale for the uninitiated. The flavors are mostly there and it has a refreshing crispness, but the body is thin and the taste is not as complex as is found in many of the great farmhouse and saison ales of Belgium and France.
That said, there is still a lot to like about this beer. The golden body is accented by a bright-white, snowy head and the aroma is biscuity and fruity. The bubblegum-like esters produced by the yeast create a peachy fruit profile, accented by a bit of grapefruit and lemon.
The latter two are likely from its hops, which are of the Goldings, Sterling and Meridian varieties. This is an interesting mix - Goldings are a traditional flavoring hop for British ales, Sterling has a profile of Czech Saaz meets American Cascade and Meridian is relatively new, with a very citrusy profile. The end result complemented the fruit taste of the beer without adding any pine notes.
There are also hints of coriander and pepper spice notes, along with a crisp and refreshing body with minimal sugar that is just enough to bring out the fruit notes. The 5.7 percent ABV ale ends with a slightly dry and clean finish.
While thoughts of spring are just barely stirring throughout many parts of the country, temperatures in Texas are already in the 60s and 70s, so introducing a thirst-quenching spring beer there makes perfect sense.
The name of FM 966 comes from the farm-to-market road in Shiner. Such roads were established in Texas specifically to link rural areas to market towns.
Shiner is distributed in about 43 states and its online Beer Locator link can be found at www.shiner.com.