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The Shiner Series: FM 966 Farmhouse Ale

18 Apr

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I live and work in the country. A small Texas town similar to Shiner. When I give directions to folks from a big city, referencing a Farm to Market road is often met with a confused question mark. FM? What’s that? Always makes me giggle. 🙂

This ale is named after FM 966 located in Shiner, TX. I’d never tried a Farmhouse Ale before, but I really enjoyed this special Spring brew. This ale is super drinkable and delicious – smooth, refreshing, and perfect to sip on a warm Spring day in Texas!

From the label: “A few centuries ago, during the cold winter months, farmhands in Europe brewed a ‘seasonal provision’ Farmhouse Ale to be enjoyed once spring rolled around. In the farmlands of Shiner, TX that tradition lives on which is why our tribute to this style uses Golding, Sterling and Meridian hops for a sweet yet lightly spiced flavor. Our incredibly refreshing farmhouse ale bears the name of the farm to market road just to the south of where our brewery has proudly stood for over 100 years.”

The Shiner Series: Wild Hare Pale Ale

27 Feb

I always get so giddy when I find out about a new Shiner brew. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to get my paws on their new Wild Hare Pale Ale. I haven’t tried many ales in my life, but this one had a bolder flavor than I was expecting. The hops make themselves known from the start and I was impressed with the “rich malt flavor” they promised. It’s golden amber color was beautiful and you can definitely pick up on a light taste of citrus and pine.

This is actually the first ale ever made at the Spoetzl Brewery. I say “well done!” to the first timers and can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeves!

And to top it off, they have fun retro-style commercials: 🙂

Wild Hare Pale Ale: Characteristics

Wild Hare Pale Ale: Dominance

Wild Hare Pale Ale: Breeding Habits

Shiner Bock Hamburger Buns

26 Oct

I’ve seen food bloggers say that once you make homemade hamburger buns, store bought buns are never the same. I can now vouch for that statement and say that it’s very true! (but then again, isn’t fresh baked bread always better?) I bookmarked this recipe a while back, since any Shiner infused food is right up my alley, but just recently got around to finally making these hamburger buns.

I paired them with my favorite pulled pork recipe (my how my photography has improved since then!) and it was a big hit. This recipe makes lots of buns for two people, so I simply froze half of them for future meals. The whole wheat flour gives an even healthier flavor and deeper color to these soft buns that are just firm enough to handle whatever sandwich you want to make of them. I think next time burgers are in store – can’t wait! 🙂

Shiner Bock Hamburger Buns

Ingredients:
2 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bottle Shiner Bock, room temperature and flat
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
Sesame seeds for garnish

Directions:
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and let sit for 10 minutes. Add honey, oil, and Shiner. Add dry ingredients and turn mixer to low.

After the dough is mixed well, turn to medium speed and knead for 5-7 minutes (adding additional whole wheat flour 2 Tbsp at a time if necessary) until sides of the bowl are cleaned and the dough is smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic until it doubles in size. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Form 6 buns from each half. Place buns 1/2 inch apart on a lined baking sheet and cover with oiled plastic wrap. Let rise for 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Whisk the egg with 1 Tbsp warm water. Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until browned. Remove from oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely before slicing.

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

The Shiner Series: Oktoberfest 2011

8 Sep

It’s that time of year again! Currently in stores: the tasty Shiner Oktoberfest! This brew tastes like authentic Germany to me – I imagine folks having fun and drinking big mugs of this amber colored beer at an Oktoberfest event. No doubt it’s due to the two types of German hops and the Munich and caramel malts used. And surely they used an extra spoonful of love, since this is the epitome of Shiner’s tradition and heritage in a bottle. Prosit!

*I know I wrote about this beer last year, but you can never have too much of a good thing, right? 🙂

Shiner Bock Mac and Cheese

4 Sep

For whatever reason, I’d NEVER made truly homemade macaroni and cheese. Sure, I’d drool over photos and bookmark recipes, but still never attempted it myself. Until now – and I sure wish I’d done it sooner! This recipe is amazing – you break through the crisp breadcrumb topping to delicious layers of cheesy gooey goodness. And the addition of beer gives this Shiner lover something else to cheer about.

So if you’ve never made homemade mac and cheese before, go for it! I promise the extra prep work is well worth it. Also, try and use freshly grated cheese, rather than pre-packaged shredded cheese. The quality will be much better! Feel free to use different cheese combinations too – the delicious possibilities are endless! 🙂

Shiner Bock Mac & Cheese

Ingredients:
8 oz elbow pasta
1 stick butter
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Shiner Bock beer
1 cup half and half
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
3/4 cup fontina cheese, shredded
3/4 cup provolone cheese, shredded
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. (an 8×8 pan works well) Cook the pasta per the directions on the package, minus one minute. Drain the cooked pasta and rinse it under cool water to stop the cooking. Set pasta aside.

In a medium pan, melt stick of butter over medium heat. Add the onion powder, salt, pepper, and cayenne and cook for a minute. Add the flour and whisk it until smooth. Cook for two minutes, whisking constantly. Add the half and half and Shiner Bock and whisk constantly until smooth. Let the sauce simmer and add the cream cheese, whisking in until smooth.

Turn the heat to low and 1/3 at a time, add the cheddar, fontina, provolone, and half the parmesan. Once mixture is smooth, turn off the heat and add the cooked pasta. Spoon the mixture into the casserole dish and top it with the other half of the parmesan.

In a bowl, combine the melted butter and bread crumbs. Spread the mixture over the top of the macaroni and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the macaroni starts to bubble at the edges. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Source: Slightly adapted from Evil Shenanigans

The Shiner Series: Giveaway Winner!

13 Jul

Congrats to Deborah, the winner of the Shiner goodies! I’ll contact you via email to get your contact information. Hope you enjoy – and thanks to all who entered!

And for your enjoyment, check out some of the fun Shiner Light Blonde commercials that have been airing this summer:

See even more here: Shiner Films

The Shiner Series: Giveaway!

7 Jul

Hey everyone! So, this is the last post regarding my lovely trip to Shiner. My awesome husband recorded a few video clips during our time there and complied them into a short video if you’re interested in watching:

 

Also, there is a sweet Shiner giveaway! One lucky reader will receive a Shiner cookbook and a set of Shiner coasters – woohoo! Straight from Shiner, TX!

Here’s the name of the game:

To enter, you HAVE to leave a comment on this blog post and make sure your email is somehow attached. Here’s what you need to comment on:

1. Visit www.shiner.com and tell me what your favorite brew is – or – if you’ve never had Shiner beers, tell me which one you’d most like to try!

2. Additional Entry: Subscribe to my blog and leave a comment saying that you’ve done so (if you’re a current subscriber, simply comment saying so)

It’s easy as that! The giveaway will be closed on Tuesday, July 12 at 12:00 midnight. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winner and post the info on Wednesday, July 13th. Good luck! And as they say in Shiner…Prosit! 🙂

The Shiner Series: Spoetzl Brewery (Part 2)

6 Jul

So after the group tour, Anne took the three of us on an extended private tour of the brewery. It was awesome getting to see the whole process up close. We got to see everything we viewed from afar upstairs; the bottles going in for filling, capping, labeling, and packaging.

Some cool production facts:
-They have 80 tanks for fermenting
-85% of their production is Shiner Bock
-They make 600,000 barrels a year
-635 bottles are filled a minute
-They produce 1000 kegs a day
-Less than 3% of the bottles are damaged in production

The brewery is very good about being economical and resourceful – if a bottle has a label error, it’s taken to be cleaned and then reused. If a bottle breaks in the process, the glass is kept and sent back to their manufacturer to be recycled. We got to see the bottle graveyard…rest in pieces…

Then we were taken to the packaging area, where the bottles are placed into 6 packs, then put into cases.

Then after a pallet of cases is ready, they are stacked and sent to get wrapped in shrink wrap for safe transporting.

Then we were taken to another section of the brewery where the kegs are produced and stored. It was a very happy place. 🙂

The kegs are highly monitored for quality and quantity standards, and once they’re up to par, are sent to packaging and meet the shrink wrap machine too. Anne was telling us how they used to do that part by hand and it was very time consuming, as one can imagine. They would also play around sometimes and a poor brewery employee would end up like a shrink wrapped mummy. 🙂

Then we wandered through the shipping/receiving area and headed back towards the gift shop. When guests are done with the tour, they’re given four wooden coins to trade for a small cup of their choice of brew. (don’t worry, they have kid-friendly options too!) So we perused the gift shop and picked up some goodies while enjoying a fresh taste of our favorite beers.

Then, we had a nice surprise – Anne had asked Jimmy, the current brewmaster, to come over and meet us! Jimmy was a pleasure to speak with…he’s been working at the Spoetzl Brewery since he was a teenager. He started at the bottom of the food chain and has steadily worked his way to becoming the brewmaster. That was such a great thing to hear – knowing that hard work pays off and now, he knows all the different aspects of the brewery from experience. He was such a kind man and after asking about any upcoming special brews, we were told of one that’s in the works. I won’t spill the beans, but folks, it sounds amazing!

Jimmy then introduced us to an awesome man named T-Bone, the shipping supervisor. He directed us to bring our car around to the loading area for a special treat. Let’s just say we had several extra passengers for the drive home! 🙂

Fun fact: You’ll see a cute little white house on the property too – this is where Cecile Spoetzl, Kosmos’ daughter also known as “Miss Celie”, lived while she ran the brewery after her father’s death.

Then we went back inside to finish our sampling and relaxed in the hospitality room, where they show a video about the history of the brewery. There’s also this cool artwork on the wall, featuring Kosmos Spoetzl wearing that purple and green tie!

We went outside to take some more photos and finally had to say goodbye to the lovely town of Shiner. (I really want one of those benches, by the way!)

Thank you again to everyone we encountered on our trip – yall made it a truly unforgettable experience! An extra special thanks to Anne, Jimmy, and T-Bone: your generosity, kindness, and obvious love of Shiner beers has not gone unnoticed. I hope to visit yall again in the future! Prosit!

The Shiner Series: Spoetzl Brewery

5 Jul

“There’s nothing finer than an ice cold Shiner” – while this slogan stands true, I think visiting the place where the magic happens is rather fine too. 🙂 Last week, I had the chance to finally visit Shiner, TX – home of the Spoetzl Brewery and motherland of Shiner beers. This will be a two-part post, because I have A LOT to share! Let me start by saying that the hospitality, kindness, and generosity experienced on this trip were extraordinary. Thanks to everyone we encountered who made it a truly wonderful experience.

Jason, myself, and our friend Jessica headed out bright and early to beat the North Texas traffic as we headed south to Shiner. We jammed to Relient K’s new EP and chatted the whole way, enjoying views of the Texas countryside as we headed to our destination. After arriving an hour early (woo! lack of traffic!) we headed inside to meet up with Anne, who was our guide for the day and a sweetheart from the beginning.

She pointed us in the right direction for a quick lunch before our tour, so we headed to Friday’s Fried Chicken, a local joint just up the road from the brewery. Friday’s was such a homey small town eatery where the locals and visitors alike converged. With a wide selection of sandwiches, homemade baked goods, and of course, fried chicken, we definitely enjoyed our lunch.

We got back to the brewery just in time for the 1:30 tour which Anne was leading. She was the perfect combination of Southern hospitality and professionalism – keeping everyone interested and answering questions like a pro. Anne allowed us to take pictures on the tour (thanks!) but sadly our nice camera was accidently left at home, so iPhone photos will have to suffice. We started on the lower level as a group and were given a brief history of the Spoetzl Brewery. There were some neat photos of Kosmos Spoetzl, the first brewer and namesake of the Shiner brewery. Besides being an excellent brewmaster who was handpicked for the job by the local Germans and Czechs, he was known to be a fun and colorful man, wearing a purple and green tie in this famous image.

Then the group was led upstairs to where the brew kettles and the brewery’s laboratory are located. (Beckster was pretty excited to see the “Laboratory” sign, as one can imagine) The brews are seriously tested and monitored for quality levels – only the best!

Cups of hops were passed around so we could see and smell the different kinds used for different brews. Love the hands on aspect! Interesting fact: their hops are from Germany, the Czech Republic, and Washington.

Then we moved on to another section where you could peek into the brewery and see all the action happening, from bottling to capping, labeling to packaging. We got to see the crew at work and even witnessed them fixing a jam in the machinery. Thanks for your hard work, Shiner employees. 🙂

Anne walked us through the brewing process and discussed each of the current Shiner brews. She even shared some favorite recipes and stories of her own, like brownies made with the Shiner Bohemian Black Lager.

Side note: To any readers living in states with more strict alcohol laws (like Oklahoma), to find your favorite beers with higher than 3.2% alcohol content by weight (rather than the low-point versions), visit liquor stores to find what you seek. Good to know!

PS: If you’re ever on this tour yourself, check out the “King of Beers” chair. You’ll know what I mean 🙂

Turnover is very low at the brewery, and understandably so! The employees are well taken care of – benefits are wonderful and there’s no forced retirement. Fun fact: the longest working employee at the brewery was there for 63 years! While the brewery has seen its ups and downs, they’ve recently expanded to 90 employees after adding extra shifts. A very good sign – business is growing as more people fall in love with Shiner’s spectacular brews!

From here, the group was led down to the gift shop for shopping and sampling. But more on that later – the three of us were lucky enough to then go on an extended tour with Anne. Can’t wait to share more!

Stay tuned for part two where you’ll get a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes at the Spoetzl Brewery! 🙂

The Shiner Series: Ruby Redbird

7 Jun

So besides the classic Shiner Bock, the Ruby Redbird quickly became my 2nd favorite Shiner beer. It really is the perfect summertime beer – the hints of ginger and grapefruit in this light and refreshing brew are to die for and when paired with particular foods, really brings home a brilliant flavor profile. And as a proud Texan, (if you couldn’t tell) the fact that Texas Ruby Red Grapefruits are used, makes it even more awesome. I haven’t seen them in the store the past few weeks, so sadly it looks like my Ruby Redbird enjoyment was shortlived. But hopefully we’ll see this seasonal brew again next summer – if you still find some, definitely try it while you can!

PS: I’m SO excited to announce that at the end of June, I’ll be visiting the legendary Shiner, TX!! I can’t wait to tour the brewery and see the homeland of my favorite brand of brew – and can’t wait to share it with yall! 🙂