i'm doing some research on texas breweries for a friend of mine. spent some time reading about shiner beers today. there's a feature on the shiner website where viewers can post stories about themselves drinking shiner beer, kinda like what we do here at beer club only it's all texans and they all think shiner bock is the way into God's Kingdom. (i got tough news for them). anywho, i took a moment here just now, sipping on this PBR and feeling fine, to write up my shiner story. here's a copy of it. it ain't good and all, but it's true. and it needs more umph eventually.
ps. do NOT drink a shiner bock while reading this.
my friend mark said sometime early last summer, right around the time that we were all standing on the concrete of his bryan, texas driverway, that he'd like to celebrate his birthday by driving on down to shiner, texas and seeing that spoetzl brewery first-hand. i liked that kinda notion. as a beer-nerd, i kinda wondered if he might be trying to celebrate my birthday as well. he said no to that, but i still felt rather important coming on down to shiner in the middle of wednesday in july.
to be honest, i am not a fan of that bock that shiner sells. tastes like sweet tea with a touch of vodka in it, if you asked me. never been a bock fan. never might be a bock fan. my tasters don't lean towards the malts as much as to the hops. still, i fancy a shiner hefeweizen, when it's poured right, and i can't stop at just two shiner blondes when the sun goes to boasting even through the trees. not to mention, shiner black pours a nice glass of late night, book-reading beer when the hour ain't rightly fit to a pot of coffee but the pages need some grease to keep turning.
so, back to my buddy's birthday: we loaded up tim's car, the three of us - mark and tim and me - and we headed to gonzalez first. them boys i was with thought it might be novel to climb around in the gonzalez old-timey jail there. and we did. climbed on up the ladder and touched the noose dangling from the ceiling. i didn't like the feel in that place. felt a bit like racist ghosts were walking shouting "COME AND TAKE IT" all over the place. i think the klan might live heavy in gonzalez. not to mention, i never seen a town with so many churches. that many churches seem a sign of trying to cover a multitude of sins, like racism and running off other races and hating people who ain't white. i mean, that's just what i felt in gonzalez, particularly in that jail and when i looked at the flag they got. not good. my hair was standing up, and i was ready to get on to the beer, which i know for a fact ain't racist beer, nor is it brewed for racists. unless people in gonzalez drink shiner beer, in which case it weren't brewed for them.
drove over to shiner and found the brewery. biggest building in that part of the state. sat right over there in the corner pocket like it'd been there a hundred years or more. guess it has. and we walked in and got a nice tour. you know, the land out there in shiner is conducive to wind, and wind is conducive to dust, and dust it conducive to making things dirty. and while i may have toured half a dozen beer breweries in half a dozen states, that shiner brewery was the cleanest, most sterile beer place i ever forgot to wipe my shoes off for. felt a bit like a hospital in there. but the factory they got going, i mean, that's really impressive. my friend mark was standing there looking down into the factory, all those bottles rolling circles around the place. i said, "happy birthday, bro." he said, "i suppose so."
then they let us drink the beer. gave us three tokens each. some tall drink of scotch walks up and says, "i don't even drink beer. don't know why i'm here." and he hands me six tokens. i drank a lot of beer that day. never once touched the bock tap handle.
all in all, it was a good day. met some ghosts, saw beer get made in the cleanest facility i ever seen, and then drank half a tank of shiner black label straight off the factory tap. it was good. and i hope to on back that way soon enough.