Beer Buzz Hits the Road: Spoetzl Brewery
This guest post is by Roger Adamson, Beer and Spirits Specialist at Binnys Willowbrook. Roger is both a homebrewer and mixologist and is using his background in history to research and write a book on classic cocktails. I recently had the good fortune to escape the bitter Chicago cold and make a visit to the Spoetzl Brewery down in Shiner, Texas. Shiner is about an hour and a half drive from Austin but the scenery from the bus does not disappoint. The landscape was dotted with cattle ranches, oil pumpjacks, and prickly pear cacti. Before I knew it we arrived in Shiner, where the Spoetzl Brewery stands tall a short distance from the charming downtown.
The air was thick with the rich sticky sweetness of mashing grain right as we stepped from the bus. Signs of construction abound at this little Texas brewery. Growth has been dramatic for Shiner over the past few decades. Named in honor of early brewmaster and owner, Kosmos Spoetzl, beer has been flowing in Shiner since 1909. In 1989 Shiner beer was only available in a radius less than 75 miles from the brewery. Now in 2014 Shiner is available in 49 of 50 states. Youre next, Hawaii.
Due to the construction that was taking place all around us, our tour was a bit abbreviated. We did see the fermentation tanks, the quality control laboratory, and the bottling line roaring along at full speed. Watching bottles sail through the many twists and turns as the latest batch of Shiner Cheer made its way to package was mesmerizing.
Shiner Cheer, their winter seasonal, is truly a unique holiday brew. Amidst the massive influx of beers on the market today, thats saying something. Cheer is a German Dunkelweizen brewed with Texas peaches and pecans. The nuttiness of the pecans pairs perfectly with the spicy German yeast, and the peaches provide a nice rich fruity finish. After the tour our generous hosts treated us to Texas sized hospitality. Tables were lined with huge pans of barbequed brisket, hot links, potato salad and beans. All this delicious Bbq was of course washed down with ice cold Shiner Bock. There is nothing quite like enjoying a beer fresh off the line with the people who made it. Just before we left, I perused the gift shop and picked up a woven patch that read Shiner - Our Brewery Our Pride. After spending the afternoon with the people of the Spoetzl brewery, it proved to be more than just a slogan.
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