603 E. Brewery St, Shiner, Tx
Tour is free, as is four samples of beer. They have about 7 types of beer, including Bock, Blonde, Blonde Light, Holiday Cheer, Hefeweizen, Black Lager, and Pale Ale, and I think that is all they had. They also have strawberry lemonade for those who do not consume beer, for whatever reason. I tried most of them. You’re not supposed to share, as they want to make sure no one gets into their cars and is drunk. But I was only really taking a sip. I’m not a beer drinker, don’t care for it at all. But I figured, when in Rome. Also, I’m a firm believer in being able to change your palette. The Blondes we both felt tasted closer to a Budweiser. Yuck. Holiday cheer has hints of peach, which I LOVE in wine, but felt it was out of place with beer. Bock was OK, but I doubt my husband needs to be concerned that I’ll be drinking his any time soon. Black and Pale Ale were gross for me, Gabe thought they were OK. Hefeweizen, Gabe thought it was OK, and this was the one I liked the most. However, since I don’t like beer, it’s not really saying much. HAHAHA
Our tour group must have been at least 50 people! Which is HUGE for any tour, let alone one midday on a Monday! The people who worked there also commented that it was a large group. I wonder if the local German festivals going on brought in more people who are traveling than typical. Either way, the tour guide grew weary. There is a five minute part at the start in the downstairs gallery where she describes a bit of the history of Shiner. Then you go upstairs. We enter into a room with HUGE copper vats, and the tour guide describes the processes. We were towards the back because Corbin was confused as to how to “pass off the door” to the person behind him, and ended up just holding the door for everything. SIGH. After that we moved into a room that overlooks the main part of the factory. She got up on a bench and told everyone that they needed to stop talking and that she would not speak until everyone was quiet. HAHAHA People immediately began talking louder! I happened to be standing somewhat close to her and said sort of low “What did you JUST say?!” And she gave me a bit of a wink and then said “How many teachers do we have here?” I raised my hand with two others who had been standing quietly waiting for everyone else to settle down as well and the tour guide nodded and smiled at each of us in turn. HAHAHA There was one more time people as a whole started talking and the tour guide stopped mid sentence until they got the hint and shut up. And then a second time, there was a small group of people chatting in a corner as they looked down at the factory floor. Someone else had raised their hand to ask why production seemed to have stopped. The guide spoke loudly and pointed out the people standing and talking in the corner and said something to the effect of “Well….what I”m SURE you were all just talking about is the fact that the bottle caps jammed and so production has stopped”. They looked at her, looked at each other, looked back, and all nodded enthusiastically. HAHAHAHA Caught!
So, if you’re reading this tour guide…..Good for YOU! You’re great at crowd control!
I thought it was pretty interesting in all. Very informative, including her talking to us about if you’re at the store and you pick up a box that has one broken, not to re-shelve it, but to bring it to the front and tell the store employees about it so it doesn’t get purchased by someone else. Another cool thing was the fact that they started making beer during Prohibition. So they actually make Near-Beer. Now, I guess there were two steps to making this, the second being the removal of alcohol. Apparently, sometimes the owner would “forget” that second step and provide some good friends with something a bit closer to actual beer. Wink, Wink. Moral of the story……have good friends!
If you’re thinking about going to Shiner and look on the map and see it’s “so out of the way of I-10”, it’s only 30 minutes each way. It’s not that far. And it’s a cool experience. Make the time, go drink some beer, see how it’s all made, and spend a bit too much in the gift shop. You won’t regret it.