Shiner, TX – population 2,107 – is hard to get to. It’s 85 miles from Austin, 130 from Houston, 90 from San Antonio and 120 from College Station. That’s where Kristi and I were visiting from.
That the famous brewery which produces the beer that bears the town’s name was packed with similarly long-distance travelers like ourselves is a testament to the product produced there and the passion consumers have for it.
Shiner Bock is my favorite “daily drinker” beer. What I mean by that is if I’m enjoying a cold one for no special reason in particular and have as choices brands readily available at most grocery stores in the US, Shiner Bock is my go-to.
Ever since Kristi and I started attending a football game at Texas A&M each fall six years ago, we’ve wanted to make the trek to Shiner. This year we made sure of it, arriving in College Station for our stay a day early.
From September through May, we visited in November, brewery tours are available at 11 am and 1:30 pm. Due to the overflow crowds experienced on the day we visited, multiple tours went out around 1:30ish, with our group having roughly 30 members, as did the two which went out just prior. The tour features a short walk through the surprisingly small K. Spoetzl Brewery, named after founder Kosmos Spoetzl, with stops at the brass mash tuns as well as bottling (1200 bottles a minute at peak) and packaging warehouses.
All tours begin and end in the gift shop and include four free samples of various Shiner beers on draft, including those difficult to find outside of Texas. Shiner Premium (lager), Texas Warmer (Brown Ale), Homespun Cream Ale, Wicked IPA and White Wing (Belgium White) were all available. I’m a sucker for Belgian Whites, and did enjoy White Wing, as well as Shiner Premium, but I’ll still stand by the Original Bock as my favorite. Kristi leaned heavily on Holiday Cheer which has likewise, always been her favorite flavor of Shiner.
One question about Shiner Bock I did have answered was the name and logo. “Bock,” along with being a style of beer, means “ram” in German; Spoetzl brought his recipe for Shiner Bock with him from Bavaria. That’s why a ram appears on the label.
There isn’t much to see or do on the way to Shiner. There isn’t even that much to do once you get there. So why is it worth going that far out of your way to see it?
Have you tasted the beer?
What do you think?