I love beer.
Some people laugh uncomfortably when I say that, as if enjoying a delicious brew is shameful. I enjoy trying new craft beers but I will gladly drink a Budlight (I know, gasp!) if that's all that's available. I love amber and brown ales, as well as stouts and porters. But really, my approach with beer is like that of food: I'll try anything once.
Shiner Bock has always been a favorite of mine. There's just something very tasty about that dark lager that I quite enjoy. It's not a beer you drink all night long, but it's one that's great to enjoy simply for it's delicious taste.
On December 1st, me and my boyfriend, along with a couple of close friends, made it over to Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, which is about a 2-hour drive west of Houston. Shiner is a small town of just over 2,000 people, but Spoetzl Brewery is their pride and joy.
We arrived on a cool and cloudless day with ample sunshine. We couldn't have picked a better day to visit. Spoetzel is a small brewery and the hangout spots are in the area near the front entrance where they have cornhole set up and picnic tables dot an ample green lawn in front of the brewery.
As we learned during our free brewery tour, the brewery was the brainchild of a group of thirsty German residents in town for whom water just wasn't cuttin' it. It turns out they were in need of some good ol' German bock. So they started brewing in 1909. Today, Spoetzl Brewery (named after Kosmos Spoetzl, the brewery's founder) is now Texas's oldest independent brewery.
We attended a Saturday tour at 11 AM. Each attendee (except the kiddos, of course) receives 4 drink tokens before embarking on the tour. Our tour guide was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, informing us of the history of the brew house turned brewery and its current status in the craft beer market.
Each of the tokens you receive gets you 8 ounces of any Shiner beer on tap, and 2 tokens gets you a pint. And, let's just say, if you stick around for the 1 PM tour, you might get handed another 4 tokens. 😉
Living in Houston, I have my choice of breweries on any given day, but there was something I really enjoyed about visiting the little brewery in Shiner that made it well worth the crawl back to Houston.