Shiner brewery reveals new beer for 100th anniversary
Known as the “Little brewery in Shiner,” the Spoetzl Brewery is an American brewery located in Shiner, Texas that is wholly owned by the Gambrinus Company. The brewery is most well known for producing Shiner Bock, a dark German/Czech-style beer that is now distributed in 41 states.
In 2005, Shiner began producing a yearly brew in a progressive, anticipatory celebration of its 2009 centennial anniversary. The centennial program began developing and producing one special celebratory beer in small batches in each final calendar quarter. The name of each such specialty beer corresponds to the age of the brewery: Shiner 96 was the specialty beer of 2005, and so forth; the specialty beer of 2008 is Shiner 99. Spoetzl brewed Shiner 96 and Shiner 97 only from September through mid-December of the first two years, when the numbered specialty beer production stopped and that year’s pre-centennial beer retired. Spoetzl released Shiner 98 four months earlier in 2007 — in May — while Shiner 99 entered the market even two months earlier, in March 2008. The Spoetzl Brewery intends to conclude its centennial beer production in 2009 with Shiner 100.
Next year, the not-so-little brewery in Shiner will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and there has been a good bit of speculation about just what style the Spoetzl Brewery would go with for Shiner 100.
For those well-versed in beer tradition, the name alone will give it away: Commemorator.
The “ator” designation at the end of a German beer name indicates a dopplebock, or more precisely in some brewing circles, a starkbier. The best known in America are the Paulaner Salvator from Munich and the Ayinger Celebrator – complete with plastic goat hanging around the neck of each bottle – from the town of Aying just south of Munich.
An eagle-eyed beer enthusiast picked up on the label-approval filing by the brewery with the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau of the U.S. Treasury Department.
There are still some regulatory hoops to jump through state by state, but expect Commemorator, aka Shiner 100, to debut with much fanfare in January.
The Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner and its San Antonio-based parent company, The Gambrinus Co., have been doing special beers celebrating the brewery’s German and Czech heritage since 2005 with Shiner 96.
That was an Oktoberfest, or Marzen-style lager. That was followed by Shiner 97 Bohemian Black Lager, Shiner 98 Bavarian-style Amber and this year’s Shiner 99 Helles.
The black lager, or schwarzbier, was well-received and put into the regular Shiner lineup last year as Bohemian Black.
“The 100th year had to have gravitas,” said Jaime Jurado, director of brewing operations for Gambrinus, which also owns craft brewer Bridgeport Brewing Co. in Portland, Ore., and the U.S. brewery of Austrian-born brew Trumer Pils.
It also had to be something Kosmos Spoetzl, who became brewer and owner in 1914 “would recognize as a style” that German and Czech immigrants would have known at the time of the brewery’s founding, Mr. Jurado said.
Led by Spoetzl’s head brewer, Jimmy Mauric, the team shot for creating something more reminiscent of the German Weihenstephaner Korbinian than the better-known Paulaner Salvator.
Until January, Shiner fans can make themselves merry with Shiner Cheer. The special brew, available through December, is basically Shiner’s Dunkel Weizen, or dark wheat beer, brewed with Stonewall peaches from the Texas Hill Country and pecans.
A few thousand pounds of the peaches were harvested for the brewery at their peak the second week of August, pitted and pureed by Austin’s Gourmet Resources and then put in the freezer.
The peach flavor is the high point, while the caramel-like brewer’s toffee provides a top note and the pecans add a subtle saltiness.
Mr. Jurado said Cheer has been well-received and the brewery keeps making more batches. The good news is that rather than 450 pounds of frozen peaches left at the end of the year, Jurado expects there to be only 45 pounds left out of thousands. That will be made into ice cream for brewery employees.
By TRAVIS E. POLING / San Antonio Express-News source
Shiner, the oldest independent brewery in Texas, has been incorporated since 1909. A group of businessmen incorporated Shiner Brewing Association and placed Herman Weiss in as the company’s first Brewmaster. In 1914 the founders offered the plant for lease, a German immigrant brewer named Kosmas (more commonly referred to as Kosmos) Spoetzl learned of the operation and co-leased with Oswald Petzold with an option to buy in 1915. Before this business venture, Spoetzl had attended brewmaster’s school and apprenticed for three years in Germany, worked for eight years at the Pyramids Brewery in Cairo, Egypt, and then worked in Canada before moving to San Antonio in search of a better climate for his health. He came to Texas with the recipe for a Bavarian beer made by his family from malted barley and hops.