Beer Journal

A quasi-daily examination of beer and things related to beer.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shiner 101

Confessional Note: Shiner has always been my favorite craft brewery. I am not unbiased. There is a good chance it might show in the following review. My apologies.

A Brief Overview

Shiner, Tx is tiny. Really, really tiny (2,000 pop). Located in the south-eastern side of Texas, it has been the home of the Spoetzl brewery for the last 100 years. It was founded in 1909 by a group of Shiner businessmen, but in 1914 it was bought out by the joint team of Kosmas Spoetzl and Oswald Petzold. The brewery barely survived Prohibition, producing near beer and ice to keep the doors open. Even after the return of legalized drinking, the brewery stayed small, trucking their beer no farther than 70 miles in any direction from Shiner (it was not until 1991 that Shiner beer was available outside of Texas).

The flagship brew for Shiner is Shiner Bock, of course, originally brewed in 1917. The 70s brought huge popularity to the beer in the Austin area, transforming the beer from a seasonal (for Lent) to what now accounts for 80% of their brewing. The popularity of Shiner Bock brought the brewery from 1% of the Texas market share to the #1 craft brewery in the state and #5 craft brewery in the country.

In 2005, Shiner began a countdown to their 100th anniversary by generating a beer named for the year (2005= 96th year of brewing = Shiner 96, etc.). Shiner 97 was the most popular so far, going from a one-time beer to a fixture in their lineup: Shiner Bohemian Black Lager (a personal favorite). 2010 brought to us a new beer, today’s taste, Shiner 101.

Some Thoughts on Design

There is something distinctly “crafty” about the Shiner 101 label. The script is very Western and unpolished. It’s good marketing in a world dominated by slick advertising campaigns.

The word that is used all over the website and labeling is “Prosit”. I looked it up, it’s a German word used for toasting someone’s health, originally a Latin word for “may it benefit.”

My Experience

Sis and I were craving the fine dining that is Wendy’s. So I grabbed a bag of hamburgers (a Baconator for me, hilarious name by the way) and a couple of Shiner 101’s. Sissy was working on homework, so I began the difficult job of consuming the Baconator and combined it with a good-looking pilsner.

The pour yielded less than 1/4 inch of foam that quickly dissipated. The beer was a nice amber or golden color with almost no smell to my nose. I’m sure some “expert” would make a list of aromas, but that really isn’t my smell. Hit beeradvocate if you need those type of notes. The beer was light to the tongue, slightly hoppy without much malt, almost fizzy. Just a light bite to remind you its beer. It’s very much a Shiner beer, reminding me of the other beers from that brewery.

Final Thoughts

Shiner 101 is a great beer to relax with and enjoy a cheap meal. It’s uncomplicated and easy to drink. It produced an easy-drinking experience that reminds me why I love the Shiner brand so much. They make beer the same way they have always made it, building a label with solid product. I very much enjoyed this brew.

Rating: 8.5

Pair it with: a burger (make it a Whataburger for a completely Texas experience!)


Blogger Monty said...

Carlos also recommended this beer, but I haven't been able to find this in EP yet.

March 4, 2010 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Monty said...

So I've finally got my hands on Shiner 101, and I agree with everything Dan said about. While having a glass last night, the phrase "perfect pilsener" came to mind. And while I'm not sure if I completely agree with my own assessment, but I think I just stumbled upon a neat idea...

March 23, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

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