When I was deciding between moving to Chicago to attend Kent and moving back to Houston to go to U of H Law, one item on my “con list” for Chicago was the lack of Shiner in the state of Illinois. Thankfully, during my 1L year this was no longer a problem. I was on the Halsted bus and saw an advertisement on the side of a building that said “Hi Chicago” using the H-I from the Shiner label and I freaked out: Shiner had arrived in Illinois. Needless to say, that it was clear that my move to Chicago was right, because Shiner followed me.
When I decided to take advantage of the cheaper flights and come home to hang out with my mom in TX, we planned to take a day trip (that turned into an over night trip) to Shiner. We ended up spending the night in La Grange, enjoying Kolaches, good BBQ, and painted churches (go to my Flickr page for more pics and I’m sure I will discuss the amazingness that is good Kolaches). But the highlight of the trip was definitely going to the Shiner Brewery. Shiner is celebrating its 100th year, so it really was a perfect time to go.
Shiner, Texas is a small town, just a little south of 1-10 about half way between Houston and San Antonio. This area of TX was settled by German and Czech Immigrants.
The brewery employs 60 people (from 2000 total population) and brews enough beer to reach 41 states (including IL YAY!) and now Mexico. I can’t remember exactly how many (so don’t quote me) but I think they brew 750K bottles EVERY DAY. If you could see how small the brewery seemed, it really is amazing. Since it was Spring Break our tour was on the large size so the tour guide was a bit overwhelmed. The best part of the tour of course was the FREE BEER.
We got to sample the Commemorator Centennial Ale Brew as well as Shiner Blonde and Shiner Hefeweizen.
I really enjoyed the Hefeweizen. After the tour, we listened to our tour guide’s tips and went to their little grocery store so that we could buy a “Family Reunion Pack” so that we could try the Kosmos Reserve.
The Kosmos Reserve is an “aromatic dry hopped lager that is specially brewed to celebrate the man who started it all.” Kosmos Spoetzl was the original brewmaster of Shiner and the Brewery still carries the Spoetzl name.
This beer was very tasty. I wish that I could some how get a bunch back to Chicago, but alas, I will have to settle for enjoying the 4 in the box in The Woodlands. I very much enjoyed our short little road trip to Shiner and I encourage any body to make the drive, and enjoy a day in the little towns near the TX Hill Country.