Friday, October 14, 2011
Shiner Bock - Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, Texas
In 1997, I left Texas. I used to live in both Temple and Killeen, when I was stationed there with the Army. Some of the best things that I remember about the great State of Texas are Austin, The University of Texas, The Food and Shiner Bock Beer. Shiner Bock is just about the best beer to come out of Texas, and when a friend of mine said that he had gotten hold of a case of the Bock brought back from Texas for him, I was stoked to get a hold of a Shiner. A bottle was rescued from the case for me, and here I sit sipping on a genuine Texas specialty. Here's what the website had to say:
Bock reflects the tradition of genuine Bavarian beers as a brew only a craftsman like Kosmos Spoetzl, trained in the "Old Country," could bring to life. With its deep amber color, distinctive rich flavor and full body, Shiner Bock demonstrates the care of a handcrafted brewing process to bring forth a mellow taste free of the bitter aftertaste found in many micro, specialty and imported beers. Just think of it as Shiner smooth.
Spoetzl Brewery is a brewery located in Shiner, Texas, USA. Also known as the "little brewery in Shiner", the brewery produces Shiner Bock, a dark beer that is now distributed in 41 states. The brewery is owned by The Gambrinus Company.
Spoetzl was founded in 1909, and claims to be the oldest independent brewery in Texas. 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 Kosmas (or Kosmos) Spoetzl co-leased with Oswald Petzold with an option to buy in 1915. 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, Kosmas Spoetzl kept the brewery afloat by selling ice and making 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 When the Prohibition laws were repealed larger beer plants, such as Anheuser-Busch, moved to Texas making life harder on the smaller independent breweries, but Spoetzl kept things small and simple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.
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. The company has 66 employees.
As of 2010, it was the fourth-largest craft brewery and tenth-largest overall brewery in the United States.
This is a wonderful brew. The coloring is dark and inviting, with hints of mahogany. The pour is smooth as silk, and there is just a hint of bitterness to the taste. The one downside, is that the head was a little loose, which made the beer seem to lose the aroma a little fast, but this was truly a small downside. The best parts of Texas are embodied in each Shiner Bock, and I highly recommend that you pick up a six-pack if you get a chance. You will not be disappointed.
8/10 - Texas at it's best
Posted by Doug Pfeffer at 7:11 PM