The 11th Annual Bocktoberfest 2004 will be on Saturday, October 16th, at the historic Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas. Gates will open at 12:00 NOON, music begins at 12:30pm and runs throughout the day ... and the Fireworks Finale will be spectacular!
The Spoetzl Brewery is Texas' oldest independent brewery. The original tin brewery was founded in the centre of an Austrian, German, and Czech farming community near the railroad tracks in 1909. Kosmas Spoetzl, a German immigrant brewmaster, learned of the Shiner operation and coleased the facility with Oswald Petzold with an option to buy in 1915. Spoetzl was well experienced in brewing practices in Germany and Cairo before moving to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health. He came, carrying the recipe for a Bavarian beer made by his family from pure malt and hops. Within a year Spoetzl bought the brewery, which he renamed the 'Home Brewery,' and began to produce beer in wooden kegs and bottles.
Take a tour through the brewery, it is well worth it. The lady taking the tour is quite dramatic in her storytelling and obviously sees herself as part of a big family there. At the end of the tour, you are invited to the hospitality room to sample the different beers. On a 100F day, this is a very pleasant end to the tour.
If you are going to drink the best beer in the world (Shiner Bock), then you must pay homage to the brewery itself, the Spoetzel Brewery in Shiner, Texas. It is located in a tiny town between San Antonio and Houston. There are some B&Bs, and a small hotel that is just about as cute as can be. In fact, the hotel, which was less than $65, was decorated in antiques, which made it feel like an inn or B&B.
The brewery is about a 45" tour which includes 4 free tastings of different beers at the end of the tour. Yahoo! And the brewery's store has all kinds of cool beer paraphanalia you can buy. There is not much in the way of restaurants in town, just a few small ones that serve mediocre food. But otherwise this is a cool day trip to make if you are in the San Antonio, Houston, or Austin area.
Shiner's first Opera House lives again. Originally the setting for plays, balls, political debates, church socials, town meetings and "social hops", the opera House claimed a center of Shiner's social life from 1895 until 1927. Inactive for many years, The Gaslight Theatre was born again in 1975 thanks to a local nun and her drama class. Today, the ornate proscenium arch and vaudeville-style stage are all original from the building's 1895 construction. The Gaslight Theatre is known for its outstanding amateur productions usually held four times a year. This dinner theatre is worth the drive!
This is an outstanding legacy of Shiner's history. It graciously displays an antique gun collection, old-time country store, dinosaur bones, embroidery and hand stitchery collection, a delightful doll display, musical instruments, an implement shed, and many other interesting antiques
Open Monday thru Friday, 8AM till 5 PM which isn't too convenient if you are a weekend visitor. You can move to Shiner, or wait for the 2nd or 4th Sunday when it is open 2-5 P.M.
The Kasper Wire Works which is across the street from the brewery, also has tours, but by appointment. They celebrated their Centennial in 1998.
The introduction of barbed wire in 1874 put a serious crimp in smooth wire sales. It was either attach all those barbs or find another use for it. This is exactly what August Kasper did. From a simple woven wire basket, they are now one of the largest manufacturers of fan guards, fry baskets, and newspaper racks in the world. If you have lost money in one of these racks, do not ask for a refund here. The coin mechanism is not made by Kasper. The fact that you couldn't remove a paper after losing your money, well, that demonstrates the quality of the product.
A Funny Fact about Shinerites: Being from Shiner, you're bound to know at least a handful of people who work at either Kaspers or the Brewrey or both.
This is perhaps the main draw for those who visit Shiner. As you may have gathered by their recent ad campaign, Shiner Beer is "Brewed with an attitude". You can tour the brewery (Monday thru Friday 11a.m. & 1:30p.m.) and find out for yourself what kind of attitude. Just keep in mind: The brewery is closed on weekends and major holidays.
after your tour at the brewery, it's a good idea to hit Howard's store for a brewsky on tap. you can get any of the shiner beers available. a pint for something like a buck and a quarter. it's basically a gas station, but for the small town of shiner, is also a movie rental place, convienent store, gas stop, beer stop, and during good weather, Howard's got a back porch with benches, a bbq pit and a stove for when it's a bit cooler.
great place to hang out and relax.
where Shiner Bock is made, along with Shiner Blond, Heffewisen, Shiner Light, and the winter and summer stocks.
you can take a tour - given daily around 1:30 every afternoon.
before and after the short tour you can sample some of the beer.
i prefer the heffenwisen - non pasteurized, and reminds me more of a european beer. but i'm no pro when it comes to drinking beer, so...i could be off :-)
shiner beer is now sold in over 25 states - mostly the bock. it's a speciality beer, and that's why you see in under the import beers many times.
and when you're in the hospitality room sampling a beer, you may run into a local coming in on his daily route to sample a beer or two! :)
Approximately 5,600 cases a day are produced which does not include kegs.
They bottle only one brand a day (Bock, Blonde, Honey Wheat, Hefeweizen, Winter Ale or Summer Stock) which is based on distributor demand.
(photo courtesy of Spoetzl Brewery)
a yearly event that combines great beer, great food and great music (this year -2003- to feature Nickelback) come rain or shine, the act will go on.
expect long lines at the port-o-potties, but it's just a way to meet someone new, run into an old friend, or just stand impatiently with your legs crossed :-)
There are almost 25,000 barrels produced annually and almost all of these are marketed in the surrounding area.
Don't forget to visit the gift shop, museum which features memorabilia from the brewery and the town of Shiner. Open daily, except Sunday.
Unfortunately you were not allowed to take photos inside. This brewhouse apparently was the last built of this caliber in the last 20 years.
The beautiful shiny copper cookers are kept in immaculate condition and you are not permitted to touch them. There are something like 5 of these huge copper cookers all performing various procedures of the processing.
The main ingredients in beer are water, malt (barley), hops and yeast. The water in the Spoetzl beer comes from a pure Artesian spring that runs deep beneath the ground. An important ingredient in beer is hops. Hops is a natural preservative and gives beer individuality, through bitterness and aroma.
Louis Ehlers Cigar Factory was first opened in 1895 and produced three favourites, the 'Becky Brown,' 'Katy Lee,' and 'Good Company.' They employed five labour union men who were paid one cent per cigar made. Open Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday 10:00am to 2:00pm.