One of my favorite elements of Major League Baseball is how cherished the history of the game is. Unfortunately, I don’t think Milwaukee Braves legends like Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, and Eddie Mathews are held up in the same light as Brewers greats like Paul Molitor and Robin Yount.
When I saw that Oklahoma-based Choc Beer Company released a beer honoring Spahn, the winningest lefty in MLB history, I knew I had to try it. I’m not a jersey guy, but I’ve often said if I did get one, it would either be a Spahn jersey, an Aaron jersey, or a Cecil Cooper jersey—three players who I think are severely underrated in Milwaukee baseball lore.
Spahnie 363 is a combination of the Hall of Famer’s nickname and the number of victories the lefty tallied in his outstanding career. The Choc brewery teamed up with the son of Spahn (spawn of Spahn?) to create the beer in honor of the ace of the 1957 World Series championship Milwaukee team.
Spahn, who played 12 of his 21 remarkable seasons in Milwaukee, was good friends with the owner of Choc, which is now run by his son. The brewery describes Spahnie 363 as, “an unfiltered ale made with Wisconsin grain, and with Warren’s unique style in mind.”
Tyler and I were lucky enough to be able to pick up a six pack of Spahnie 363 for reviewing purposes. After popping the tops on a couple bottles, it became clear that we’re much better at drinking beer than reviewing it, but we gave it a shot anyway…afterall, we’ve never been prone to turning down free beer, or a new excuse to drink it.
Personally, I thought the beer was good, but not remarkable. It doesn’t have a strong taste, but does have a hint of bitterness, and is not unlike Heineken in that respect. It’s a smooth-drinking beer, and while it doesn’t have a distinctive flavor, I could easily drink several while catching a ballgame.
All in all, I think I summed up Spahnie 363 best when Joe asked what I thought about it; “It’s beer.”
Warren Spahn is a name synonymous with greatness, longevity, and consistency. Spahnie 363, however, seems quite the opposite.
Let it be known, I am far from a brew master, but as an appointed taster to a beer seemingly honed to the preferences of baseball-loving traditionalists like myself, I felt as if the end product of “363” was not something fitting of an all-time great like Spahn.
Aesthetically, the bottle, packaging, and accompanying text is pretty cool, and would make a great holiday buy for the Milwaukee baseball aficionado in your life. But after tasting it, I consider Spahnie 363 to be more a novelty gift than a qualified beverage.
In direct opposition to the presence the beer’s namesake had in 21 seasons on the mound, the unfiltered ale’s flavor is lacking. It seems watery, if anything. A light skunk, a la Peroni or past-date Rolling Rock, posed the only semblance of flavor.
Again, I’m no beer snob, so I almost certainly missed certain accoutrements a more specific palate may enjoy. But Spahnie 363 isn’t a beer I’d choose to take tailgating, sip while taking in a game on the radio, or even purchase.
The unique and specific look of the product seems something fitting of Warren Spahn, but the taste seems more fitting of Brett Tomko.
Here's a review from BeerAdvocate.com.
Spahnie 363 is the latest variation of the Choc beer to be released by the brewery. It pours up quite easily with a moderate carbonation that creates a bit of froth above the very hazy, straw-pale golden body. The zesty aroma has some wheat berry maltiness that contributes a subtle sweetness.
The flavor starts off with some flaked wheat graininess followed by a light citrus (lemony) fruitiness & a grassy bitterness that develops late bottle to create a balanced, off-dry finish.
This light-medium bodied beer is very approachable with a good quaffability which is what the brewers intended, but it’s certainly not a Kölsch or even a Wieß. No matter what it’s described as, it’ll be nice to find a good hand-crafted beer like this around at the baseball stadiums & special events in OK.
I found the first incarnation of this beer called Lefty 363 which was considered by many to be a farmhouse (saison-style) ale much more interesting. I seriously doubt it was the beer that Warren Spahn visited Pete’s Place for, as he mostly drank Heineken but it makes a good story nonetheless.
Here’s to one of baseball’s greatest pitchers!
Spahnie 363 is available at the following locations in the Milwaukee area (alphabetical by city name):
- Chill Zone, 801 Park Ave., Beaver Dam
- Market Basket, 14835 Lisbon, Brookfield
- Otto’s Beverage, W63n157 Washington Ave., Cedarburg
- South Shore Inn, 5483 S Lake Dr., Cudahy
- Club Paragon Pub, 3578 S 108th St., Greenfield
- Forest Home Beer & Liquor, 5612 W Forest Home Ave., Greenfield
- Loomis Food & Beverage, 4415 W Loomis Rd, Greenfield
- Otto’s Beverage Center, N88W15413 Main St., Menomonee Falls
- Scotty’s Beer and Liquor, N56 W14108 Silver Spring Dr., Menomonee Falls
- Blatz Market & Liquor, 270 E Highland Ave., Milwaukee
- Coach’s@13th-Pub & Grill, 5356 S 13th St., Milwaukee
- Corner Pub, 7602 W Lisbon Ave., Milwaukee
- Derry’s Pub, 5328 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee
- Friday’s Front Row, 1 Brewers Way, Milwaukee
- JJ Stripes, 3101 S 15th Pl, Milwaukee
- Kampus Foods, 1414 W Wells St., Milwaukee
- Long Wong’s, 5230 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee
- McGinn’s/McZar’s, 5901 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee
- Oklahoma Liquor, 933 W Oklahoma Ave., Milwaukee
- Otto’s Bev Ctr Milw, 4163 N 76th St., Milwaukee
- Rnr Liq & Conv/A1 Petro Inc., 8333 W Morgan Ave., Milwaukee
- Rookie’s Sports Club-Howel, 3915 S Howell Ave., Milwaukee
- Steve’s on Bluemound, 5841 W Bluemound Rd, Milwaukee
- Gary’s Corp of Oak Creek, 9555 S Howell Ave., Oak Creek
- Woodman’s, 8131 S Howell Ave., Oak Creek
- Piggly Wiggly, 1300 Brown St., Oconomowoc
- Sonoma Cellars, 1290 Summit Ave., Oconomowoc
- Sentry, 101 W 7 Hills Rd, Port Washington
- Shopko, 1011 N Wisconsin St., Port Washington
- Snarley’s, 1400 Missouri St., South Milwaukee
- Discount Liquor, 919 Barstow St., Waukesha
- The Icechest, 96 Gateway Dr., Waupun
- Colonel Harts, 7342 W State St., Wauwatosa
- Sentry Foods, 6700 W State St., Wauwatosa
- Mc Guire’s Bar Inc., 6235 W National Ave., West Allis
- Oklahoma Liquor & Tobacco, 10711 W Oklahoma Ave., West Allis
- 4th Base, 5117 W National Ave., West Milwaukee