Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Another Disappointment from the Spoetzl Brewery

I want to like Shiner beer. I really do. It's regional. It has a long history. It used to be really good. Shiner Bock was the beer of choice for my first 8 years in Austin--- years that admittedly came before the Beer Revolution that swept our country starting in about 1994. I'll save my longer lament about Shiner Bock for a later post, but suffice it to say that I think my growing disappointment in what we once termed "the creamy creamy" had less to do with the rising standards for beer that accompanied the Beer Revolution than with the falling quality of the once-vaunted products coming from the the little brewery in Shiner.

The latest disappointment is "Shiner Commemorator", brewed to celebrate Spoetzl's 100th birthday. Like many Shiner beers, it is not all bad--- it's only half bad, as if each bottle consisted of 6 ounces of a mildly decent craft brew and 6 ounces of downstream American wank. Add two drops of vanilla extract and, Voila!, there you have it-- Shiner Commemorator. Even at the bargain price of $5.99 for a sixer, it proved a bitter disappointment... though without the bitterness, which would have been a step in the right direction.


stephen said...

i'd heard the gambrinus importing company had purchased the spoetzl brewery in the 90's. perhaps, the issues stem from that?

Po said...

I remember when the Gambrinus Brothers issued a statement promising that they had not changed the recipe for Shiner Bock. Obviously, enough people had that concern to prompt the compnay to respond.

mrpod said...

Here is my theory:
Back when Shiner Bock was considered the creamy creamy, almost all of it was consumed in Austin, probably in a five square mile area. It travelled a short distance from the brewery and sat only briefly in the warehouse of the distributor (on Airport Blvd?).

After Gambrinus purchased the brewery and expanded distribution it now sits in multiple places and trucks in the Texas heat for longer periods.