In 1909, Shiner Brewery Association began brewing its handcrafted beers with old-world influences. Founder Kosmos Spoetzel, a Bavarian immigrant, wanted to share his passion for beer with his fellow immigrants in their new home of Shiner, Texas. Since that day, Spoetzel’s “Little Brewery” has made every single can, bottle and barrel of Shiner beer.
“We are the oldest independent brewery out of Texas,” says Ed Doman, the Midwest region manager for Shiner. He says it’s important to recognize that Shiner isn’t owned by a big company. It gives Spoetzel’s Brewery the chance to be creative and passionate about its products, and lets the company stay close to home — a home to 2,018 folks, most of whom work at the brewery.
In October 2014, Shiner became a national craft brand, and they only expect growth from there. Already, Shiner Bock is the No. 5 craft brand in the country, and that’s just in retail sales.
Doman oversees the distribution, marketing and developing of the brand in seven states. He’s seen firsthand how the company has kept the family feeling alive, even while going national. It’s about “tradition more than anything.” And what a fine tradition it is.
Shiner’s most popular beer, Shiner Bock, is usually known as the brand’s “classic” or original beer. Fans of the brand know, however, that Bock was actually seasonal until fans demanded it year-round in 1973. According to Doman, Shiner Bock is ranked as the No. 7 craft beer brand in Iowa. Growing in popularity every year, this dark amber lager is smooth without the bitterness and lightly hopped enough to keep a clean aftertaste.
Availability: year-round, bottle, can and draft
Another of Shiner’s beers that used to be seasonal is the Shiner Ruby Redbird. Only out of the brewery three years, demand was so high that Ruby was put on shelves as a full-time product this year. The dry, tart lager is infused with ruby red grapefruit and a kick of ginger. “It’s such a unique product,” Doman says. Ruby Redbird is something to quench your thirst while doing something much less enjoyable. “I’d call it a lawnmower beer.”
Availability: year-round, bottle, can and draft
The summer seasonal at Shiner is not something that’s offered by many breweries. Shiner Prickly Pear isn’t what most would expect — in fact, it’s not actually pear. The beer is brewed using a fruit, just an unconventional one. The fruit of a prickly pear cactus — which is native to the Shiner, Texas, landscape — is the tart and citrusy flavor that fills every bottle. Don’t think of it as a cider or shandy; Doman affirms that it’s definitely a lager — exactly what it was meant to be. He calls it “the crisp and refreshing alternative to drinking from the hose,” on those triple digit degree days.
Availability: summer only, bottle, can and draft
June 25: Stitch and Bitch, 7-9 p.m., 515 Brewing Co., 7700 University Ave., Clive, iowacraftbeertent.com
June 27: Dog Days of Summer, 6-10 p.m., Millstream Brewery, 835 48th Ave., Amana, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 2: Social Run with Fitness Sports and 515 Brewing Co., 5:30 p.m., Fitness Sports, 7230 University Ave., Windsor Heights, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 2: Nickelback Ticket Giveaway, 5-7 p.m., Overtime Beer House, 4810 N.W. 86th St., Urbandale, otbeerhouse.com
July 3: Blue Moon Full Moon Rides on the High Trestle Trail, www.bikeiowa.com/Trail/high-trestle-trail
July 11: Tour De Brew, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Millstream Brewery, 835 48th Ave., Amana, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 11: Pedal for Paws, 9 a.m., starting at Mad Meatball, 401 S.E. Fifth St., Des Moines
July 11: Fifth Annual MS Bags Tournament, 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., Grimes Sports Complex, www.grimesiowa.gov
July 15: Tap Invasion, 5-8 p.m., Hy-Vee Market Café, 7101 University Ave., Windsor Heights, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 17: Stripes at Flix Brewhouse, 7 p.m., Flix Brewhouse, Merle Hay Mall, 3800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 18: Fat Tire Fun Ride, noon, Sully’s, 110 Grand Ave., West Des Moines, www.sullysdesmoines.com
July 18: Hops and Grapes, 6-10 p.m., Millstream Brewery, 835 48th Ave., Amana, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 18: Blood, Sweat and Beer at Flix Brewhouse, 6:30 p.m., Flix Brewhouse, Merle Hay Mall, 3800 Merle Hay Road, Des Moines, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 23: Stitch and Bitch, 7-9 p.m., 515 Brewing Co., 7700 University Ave., Clive, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 25: Brew-aua Beach Party, 6-10 p.m., Millstream Brewery, 835 48th Ave., Amana, iowacraftbeertent.com
July 31: Blue Moon Full Moon Rides on the High Trestle Trail, www.bikeiowa.com
Shiner Bock: This dark lager is an outstanding companion for any food that is slow-cooked and smoky. Doman says Shiner Bock is best when it’s “tied to anything Texas barbeque.” So, when you crack that beer, pass the potato salad, marinate that meat and fire up the grill.
Ruby Redbird: A sweet and spicy beer should be paired with a sweet and spicy plate. The grapefruit relaxes the bite of a Mongolian grill-style dish, while the sweetness of a slice of cheesecake is tamed by ginger.
Prickly Pear: A great drink for washing things down, this not-too-sweet beer is best alongside salty or dry foods like trail mix, granola and cheese and crackers or fruity treats like a raspberry sorbet; an awesome beer for beach food or camping trips.
The taste sensation caused by the acidic flavors in a beverage. CV