Thursday, January 17, 2019

Episode 24: Shiner Bock and Shiner S'More with Smilin' Mike Mason

I. Introduction

"Does Jason listen to these?"
"Let's talk about him."

Today’s beers come from the oldest independently owned brewery in Texas, the fourth largest craft brewer in the United States, a brewery founded by Czech and German immigrants in 1909 who simply missed the quaffs of their motherland.  With careful planning, a willingness to ignore the misguided precepts of the Prohibition, wonderful marketing, nearly universally respected craftsmanship, and of course the help thirsty hippies from nearby Austin, the products of the Spoetzl Brewery are no longer just local gems and are now available in 49 of 50 states – sorry Hawai’i. 

Today, on Pickled Eggs & Cold Beer, we’re talking about the beer that is arguably most synonymous with the great state of Texas, a beer that has been smuggled in ice trucks and hearses, a beer with one of the most loyal followings in the world.  Today we’re talking about Shiner beer. 

This week's music is Frank Tanner and His Rhythm Kings's 1936 "Texas Teaser" 

II. Our Guest, Fire in the Sky Lovin' Mike Mason

"Jason Clayman is the only person I know who's ever has broken a bottle in his hand 
like in a barfight.  But he is also the only person I know who has done that and required stitches."
From front to rear, Smilin' Mike Mason, Jason M. Clayman, and 
Doc Eric Drummond Smith, enjoying their toasty Shiner S'More beers.

III. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points: Shiner Bock

BeerAdvocate: 3.19 of 5

RateBeer: 2.59 of 5

Untappd: 3.48 of 5

ABV: 4.4%

Ingredients: Roasted barley malt, German specialty hops (we aren't sure exactly what type and when/how they're used), and artesian well-water. 

Cost: $$ (We paid $8 for a sixer)

Appearance: Dark amber, honey-colored, leaning brown.  A little carbonation, but not tons.  Light on the Brussels lace. 

Aroma: Malty, Mike felt he caught a little skunkiness, Eric felt it was almost ale-y but his nose was stuffy.  Pilsner/lager notes with a little caramel sweetness. 

Flavor: Malty (clear roasted notes); bold on the front end, dry on the back. Crisp, very smooth. Very drinkable. 

Clayman compared it favorably to Newcastle and was inclined to think this is more of a cool-weather beer, Eric and Mike are inclined to think it is a all-year.  

Mouthfeel: Smooth, tingly, effervescent (like a mineral or tonic water). 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  This beer began as a seasonal but in 1973 demand from Austin hippies lead to it becoming a year-round product. 

Still owned privately, by the Gambrinus group that owns only three craft breweries that are local in their distribution.  Still very much a beer made in "the cleanest little city in Texas," home of the Shiner Hobo Band.  Their advertising is amazing, their craftsmanship is impressive.  They seem to be balancing their desire to expand nationally but retain small-town quality and identity wonderfully.  

Overall: Mr. Mason , Mr. Clayman, and Dr. Smith all agreed to award this quality quaff a 3.5 of 5 - our first unanimous rating ever!

IV. Rubrics, Reviews, and Talking Points: Shiner S'More

BeerAdvocate: 4.02 of 5

RateBeer: 3.12 of 5

Untappd: 3.6 of 5 

ABV: 5%

Ingredients: Dark roasted malts, artesian well water, but the rest remains a mystery to us.

Cost: $$ 

Appearance: Very dark brown, not transparent nor translucent. 

Aroma: Mild, sweet. 

Flavor: Very good, but heavy. Starts like a more traditional brown then evolves.  Sweet on top, tartness on the tongue. Brown ale with every damn bit of a s'more flavor profile - graham crackers, marshmallow, and chocolate.  Eric described this, straight up, as better than he thought.  A warmer, and it lives up to that. 

Mouthfeel: A little sweet, a little sticky. 

Authenticity, Marketing, and Other Factors:  Beautiful, like everything else Shiner does.  We flat out like the label.  Reminds Eric of an old 1920s cartoon about devils or snowy such-have-yous. 

Overall: Not an everyday beer, but a beer we like and would have again. Smilin' Mike gave S'more a 3.5 of 5, Clayman a 3.2 of 5, and Eric a 3.4 of 5 for an overall of 3.37 of 5.

V. Sponsors

This episode was sponsored by two wonderful local businesses:

Leben Farms of Abingdon, Virginia

Leben Farms is a community supported-agriculture (CSA) program that offers locally grown fresh vegetables in weekly boxes to its members in Southwest Virginia and East Tennessee.  Using organic and regenerative practices to grow nutrient dense food, community-supported agriculture is a food production and distribution system that directly connects farmers and consumers. In short: people buy "shares" of a farm's harvest in advance and then receive a portion of the crops as they're harvested.

Check them out on Facebook or Instagram.


Glade Pharmacy in Glade Spring, Virginia
33472 Lee Hwy, Glade Spring, VA 24340

Locally owned and managed, Glade Pharmacy provides the highest quality pharmaceutical service in the Emory/Glade Spring area.

VI. Plugs

The Hangover

Burlington, Vermont
Sierra Nevada Brewing
California & North Carolina

Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Abingdon, Virginia

VII. Selected Readings and Viewings

Cameron Day. July 2, 2013. "Twelve Questions: The Shiner Beer Van." Vintage Van Company. 

Jeff Holt. "Shiner." Historic and Modern Texas Breweries.

Diana J. Kleiner. June 15, 2010.  "Spoetzl Brewery."  Texas State Historical Association. 

  CultureMap: Houston

"Shiner Beer Client Page." McGarrah Jessee. 

Lee Nichols. March 13, 2007. "Shiner at 100: Spoetzl Brewery." The Austin Chronicle.

Ronald Theriot. May 20, 2018. "Shiner Bock Revisted."  Louisiana Beer Reviews

Ronald Theriot. January 12, 2019. "Shiner S'more." Louisiana Beer Reviews

"Shiner Beer Client Page."  Tom, Dick, & Harry Creative Co. 

Cat Wolinski. September 28, 2018. "10 Things You Should Know About Shiner Beer." Vinepair. 

VIII. Selected Advertisements 

c. 2012

c. 2014

c. 2014
c. 2014

c. 2018

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