Grab A Beer – Shiner, Texas

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shiner sign

The Flying Monkeys were restless and wanted to explore some new place, so off we went to Shiner, Texas

Shiner is located in Lavaca County.

It all began in 1887 when Henry B. Shiner donated 250 acres of land for a railroad right of way.

As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 2,069.

shiner old

To our amazement there are no hotels in Shiner!  So we booked a room at the Shiner Country Inn..

Not the lap of luxury, but clean

Shiner is the home of the Spoetzl Brewery,  the oldest independent brewery in Texas.  The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock,  a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.

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………..but more about that later.

We explored the entire town to plan our itinerary………okay that took 10 minutes,

so we went to Snowflake Donuts for breakfast…

 

Upon entering we found a table of about 20 locals, all of whom ceased conversation and stared at us the entire time we were in the place…….okay weird!

………..now back the the Spotzl Brewery……

A group of businessmen incorporated Shiner Brewing Association

and placed Herman Weiss in as the company’s first brewmaster.  

In 1914 a German immigrant brewer named Kosmos Spoetzl co-leased with Oswald Petzold

with an option to buy in 1915.  

kosmos

Spoetzl had attended brewmaster’s school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada.   He moved to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health, bringing with him a family recipe for a Bavarian beer made from malted barley and hops.

During Prohibition in the United States,  Kosmos Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making Low-alcohol beer  “near beer.”   After Prohibition only five of the original 13 Texas breweries were still intact.   When the Prohibition laws were repealed, larger beer plants, such as Anheuser-Busch, moved to Texas making life harder on the smaller independent breweries,  but Spoetzl kept things small and simple,  never going more than 70 miles for business.

The owner’s daugher, Miss Cecelie took over operations in 1922

and became the only woman in the United States to be a sole owner of a brewery in 1950.

In the 1970s and 1980s the brewery’s ”Shiner Beer” and ”Shiner Bock”  had less than 1 percent of the Texas market.   In 1983 Spoetzl produced 60,000 barrels of beer;  in 1990 only 36,000.   Sales improved after Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio acquired the brewery in 1989:   Production grew to 100,000 barrels in 1994,  and over the next ten years,  production nearly tripled.

As of 2012,  it was the fourth-largest craft brewery and tenth-largest overall brewery in the United States.  Spoetzl currently produces eight beers year round and four seasonal brews per year.

shiner beer sign ending

We were so lucky to have the Brewmaster, Jimmy Mauric, conduct a personal tour!

brewmaster

The brew house was so very beautiful with the copper brew tanks…

The view of the bottling room was amazing……..many thousands of bottles whirling around…..

The tour over it was time for a late lunch……….where should we go…..oh yes the only restaurant in town….

The Shiner Restaurant and Bar..

The place was empty!  The bar was quite beautiful and ornate

The dining room sported wonderful old cabinets…

The food was great….we began with the Shiner Beer Bread and Shiner Black Butter

…..then on to the Pulled Pork Sandwich and the “World’s Best Sandwich”……that was really the name!

It was a Club Style BLT with a Chicken Fried Steak thrown in for Good Measure…….don’t tell my Cardiologist about this post!

Well that was Shiner a quiet, quiet, quiet little Texas Town

So until next time…………PROST!

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24 responses »

  1. What a delight to find a small, quaint town WITH a brewery. I have great affection for breweries and beer. I started drinking beer when I was about ten years old. Gasp. Really. My girl friends father worked in a brewery. We would frequently walk the fourteen long blocks to meet him after work. There was a room with rows of copper tankards hanging on the wall. They belonged to the employees. At the end of a shift they were entitled to fill their tankards (which held close to a liter) with beer. On a hot summer day he would give us a sip or two. Heaven, we thought. It is wonderful seeing all the artisan breweries that are springing up everywhere. Tin Man – proust! V.

    • Thank you my darling Virginia! It was quite fun to tour the brewery. The town is dying, and if not for the brewery would long be gone. So many of our small Texas towns are withering away……….it is usually accompanied by the arrival of WalMart and hence the closing of all the small family businesses………sad………an era gone by, replaced by big boxes.

      I too (being quite the German Tin Man) drank beer my entire life (and wine also, as we made wine, beer and rootbeer on our ranch). I think if alcohol were part of life then teenagers would not find it so enticing and drink too much and get involved in horrific accidents.

  2. Tin Man = Proust! Yes, Virginia! I also adore this tour. Confession: I got very hungry after reading lunch description. What beautiful bar! I also love its exterior. Tin Man, your photographs are wonderful. Factory tours are so appealing. It’s all about the process, I guess. I once toured the Domino Sugar Factory in Baltimore. It took five hours! But the complimentary hard hat and bag of sugar made it worth it. And speaking of Charm City, I used to love driving through Brewer’s Hill–the former home of National Bohemian Beer “Natty Boh.” (My dad’s favorite beer!) The entire ‘hood had an appealing smell. . . T. (I also love your shots of the billboard. Gorgeous!!)

    • Theadora! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your marvelous comments. I have taken soooooo many photos of the Domino Sugar sign in Baltimore, never ever thought about touring………..next time!!! Shiner has the very best billboard. For such a small company they must have a genius advertising agency! I looked up Brewer’s Hill……..we have been so close but never explored……next time also! XXOO Tin Man

  3. Love the post Tin Man! It’s been quite a few years since I was in Shiner. Good memories. You have to know that when non-locals walk into any small town establishment, conversation stops… When my husband was competing in Highland Games Heavy Events there in Texas after games everyone would descend on any place that had food. The guys would still be in kilts. Talk about a conversation stopper 🙂
    Back to the beer – I do have to say though, the last Shiner Bock I had, I was disappointed. It didn’t have that full robust taste that it used to. It was bottled, not on tap, so maybe that made the difference.
    Thanks for sharing – love the tour and the photos of the food. Yum-Yum!

    • LMAO………I can just see the townsfolk with a bunch of guys walking in with kilts on! I do agree with you about the Shiner Boch, they have lightened it up over the years. I almost find it lighter in flavor than Shiner Blonde!! Thank you so much for stopping by and for your lovely comments, I do so very appreciate them!

  4. Great post! So is Shiner near San Antonio? I will have to look that up. Love the tour and adore the bar! Hubby and I enjoy checking out small towns as well. Thanks for sharing….makes me wish I liked beer! 😉 paula

  5. When I saw the title of the post in my e-mail, I somehow knew the post was from the Tin Man. Thank you for the tour and history. I am glad that Shiner Bock is still available. I am not much of a beer drinker but I do like to sample and Husband likes beer. Cheers! I will put this Texas location on my list.

  6. All of these different craft brews, but nowhere (except in Cologne itself) can I find my own favorite brew, Kolsch!
    You are so adventurous, Tin Man! I regard a small town billing itself as The Cleanest Town in X——– as a more formidable sociological challenge than Paris or Berlin or New York.

  7. I enjoyed you post about Shiner. It is a shame the small towns are dying away…thank goodness they have the brewery. I was never a beer drinker when I lived in Texas but do remember some of my friends liking the bock beer.

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