by Lisa Dempsey, Southeast Texas Chapter Guide
Shiner, Texas, is known by locals as the “cleanest little city in Texas.” Most of us are more familiar with Shiner because of the world-famous K. Spoetzl Brewery, established in 1909 as the home of Shiner Bock Beer. This stop is a great day trip from almost any direction in Southeast Texas. It is only ninety minutes from San Antonio and two hours from Houston Corpus Christi, or College Station.
My friend and I stopped in on our way home from dropping the kids off at summer camp a few weeks ago to take the brewery tour. Reservations are recommended ahead of time, we called from the road, and they had spaces open for us.
The experience was family-friendly, and there were several youngsters on tour with us. You don’t have to be a beer fan to enjoy this tour, as it includes a bit of science, chemistry, incredible machine work, Texas history, and everyday hardworking Texans. We learned about the early origins of the Czech and German settlers, the discovery of the artesian well still in use today to make the products, the days of Prohibition, and how their charitable work supports our Veterans.
Of course, the fun part was watching how the beer and other new beverages were made, canned, or bottled. We could watch from a second-story window the machines and the crew working them at an astounding rate of speed.
As we toured, there were images of the past and artwork dedicated to Shiner Brewing. The Harley-Davidson Motorcycle and the Ford Truck were incredible. We came through an area towards the end highlighting the products no longer produced. It feels like walking into an old honky-tonk bar filled with musical instruments, posters, neon, and glowing beer signs.
Then we finally came into the area with the stills working and the staff brew masters checking on the current batches and working on new brews. Everything was so sparkling clean, and bright. We were invited down to a tasting as we finished the tour. a place Before our final drive home, my friend and I walked the lovely grounds and decided it was time to find our dinner. We asked our tour guide for the local favorite, and Grace said, “check out Friday’s Fried Chicken, and make sure to leave room for a slice of pie!”
So down the road, we went to Friday’s Fried Chicken for some “cock and bull,” yes, it is a thing, chicken and hamburgers! We also took home Coconut Cream and Lemon Meringue Pies! There is more to explore in the little town of Shiner. Going to the brewery was great, but when I’m back in Shiner, I will stop for fried chicken and pie at Friday’s Fried Chicken. Maybe I’ll make it a picnic lunch on the grounds of the home of our famous Texas Shiner Bock Beer.
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If you are going to be in the Virginia area, here is an article about the Cape Charles Brewing Company by Virginia Girl Camper Guide Teresa White Carver.