24 Aug Shiner Brewery Visitors Guide (AKA Spoetzl)
Shiner Brewery (AKA Spoetzl)
Known for Shiner Bock and brewing every drop in Shiner, TX
603 East Brewery Street
Shiner, TX 77984
What You Need to Know Before You Visit the Shiner Brewery
Food: None, SMH
Value: See above and make your own determination
Kids/Pets: Kid friendly, but no pets indoors
Parking: Free and easy. Perfect! Big ole lot right out front
The Shiner Brewery Experience
We had a good time at Shiner Brewery, but it wasn’t anything like we expected. Having been to breweries around town, our expectations may have been skewed a little bit (because Houston’s so awesome) but despite that, we had fun and learned some cool beer-trivia for whenever we end up on Wheel of Fortune.
Time out for a second. We drink beer from all around the world, but we focus this site on Houston beer. Why’s Shiner Brewery on the site, you may be asking yourself? Simply for the sake of honor and a fun but quick road trip. Most of us don’t find ourselves hunting down Shiner’s latest creation, but all of us have a special spot for them in our heart, as they are Texas’ oldest independent brewery. Many of our first craft beers came from Shiner, TX, and that can’t be ignored.
Ok, time in.
When we pulled up, it was an impressive facility. It definitely dwarfs the ones we’ve visited in Houston, and bigger is better, right? We were pumped about Shiner Brewery the moment we arrived. We were greeted by big, towering tanks and multiple buildings.
Neither of us had ever visited, and we didn’t do any homework on what it’d be like. Instead we just headed out one afternoon, thirsty for knowledge and of course craft beer. Maybe we should’ve done our homework before hand, and THAT’S what this site is for, so y’all don’t have to figure it out the hard way.
When we visit a brewery, we usually have a couple of beers, eat a little, hang out and shoot the breeze – this is usually a several hour experience. Not at Shiner Brewery, nope. You enter, taste a few beers, tour, and then you’re outta there. The whole thing might take an hour and a half, max.
You’re greeted by a small sign that welcomes you into the brewery, to sign up for a tour inside the gift shop. Once you get in, it’s a narrow cavern of a room, filled with some of the happiest people you’ve ever met, and every Shiner tchotchke you could ever hope to collect. (We went with the pint glasses, books, and a few koozies to bring home to our friends).
You sign up for your tour on a book, and then you get in line to taste some beer. The bar is at the back of the narrow room, so the line wraps along the wall to the right, and as you get your beer, you’re headed up the left side to return to the back of the line for another beer. Because they’re tiny – 3 or 4oz, I believe.
Essentially, you’re doing laps around the gift shop, in order to exchange your little wooden chips for shots of beer until you buy something. Not bad, Shiner. Once you’ve drank your beer and chatted a bit, your tour begins at the top of the hour (during summer hours), and you’re off to check out how it’s made.
They show you some old timey photos, tell some cool stories about the history and the future of Shiner Brewery, and then you go up stairs in a giant, white, fish-bowl of a room. From here, you can see the production floor, all the machinery and beers whizzing back and forth. It’s pretty cool, but very impersonal. The room was built specifically for tours.
Your guide will walk you from left to right and back, explaining what you see, and then they’ll close with questions. Then you go back and get in line for four more swallows of beer, in hopes they don’t recognize you among the masses of people that are herded through there.
Not a bad experience by any stretch. We had a ton of fun and learned a lot. However, it was definitely not what we expected.
Important Facts from the Shiner Brewery
- They sell mostly bottles because that’s where the money is for them. They only sell 4% cans.
- Shiner is privately owned by the Gambrinus Company, based in San Antonio, TX.
- They claim that a focus on tradition and heritage are what make them special
- What new beers are made is a decision made by the brewmaster
- Takes 6 months to prefect the recipe for a single brew
- They’re currently creating an ale tank farm, most likely for their next seasonal
- The guy from the ads, Jimmy, is a real brewmaster
- They offer internships
- Capacity of beer per year 1.2 million barrels per year
- Bottle cap, in production, is referred to as the crown
- 1947 stopped using wooden kegs
- In Germany a male ram is called a bock, hence Shiner Bock
- Shiner bock is the number 5 craft beer in sales in Texas
- They produce 1400 kegs a day
- They produce 1200 bottles a minute
- You have to be under a certain amount of barrels produced to sell beer at the brewery, and they exceed that
- Brewers pride = specialty beer