Shiner beer

Shiner Beer
Brewed in Shiner, Texas

By Lori Grossman

If you're a Texan, or have lived here for a while, you know what it means when someone asks you if you'd like a Shiner. For the rest of you, let me explain that I'm not referring to what happens after you get punched in the eye, so bear with me. I'm talking about what used to be one of the best-kept secrets in the Lone Star State -- Shiner Beer.

The first time I became aware of Shiner beer was when I was a little girl and saw several bottles in the back of our refrigerator. My dad wasn't a big beer drinker, but he liked to savor the occasional longneck along with a charcoal-grilled hamburger or some barbecued chicken. Back in the 1960s, you were pretty much limited to a few local or regional beers, plus the national brews. Lone Star and Pearl were Texas' most popular beers back then. They were brewed in my hometown, San Antonio.

Shiner beer is produced in Shiner, Texas, which is located roughly halfway between San Antonio and Houston. It's small-town Texas at its best, with a population of a little over 2,000 folks who are very proud of their city's famous beer. The brewery opened in 1909 and was acquired in 1915 by a German immigrant brewmaster named Kosmos Spoetzl. He brought with him the recipe for a Bavarian beer that his family made from pure malt and hops. With a little time out for Prohibition, it was onward and upward from there.

Spoetzl's daughter, Cecile, promoted their beer on local radio and by sponsoring area polka bands. The family sold the business in 1966, but the brewery is still active in the community, sometimes in unusual ways. In 2009, Spoetzl Brewery celebrated its 100th anniversary. One November night, Shiner residents were invited to an outdoor event. Two polka bands played, a song was sung honoring the beer, and 100 beer bottles were set up with a bottle rocket in each one! Obviously, a good time was had by all.

The object of this devotion is the beer, of course. Five are available year-round: Shiner Bock, Blonde (the original recipe), Black Lager (added in 1997), Hefeweizen (a wheat-based beer), and Shiner Light. Some are seasonal, including Holiday Cheer, brewed with Texas peaches and pecans, and Fröst, a full-bodied beer first brewed in Dortmund, Germany. Here are some delicious recipes for main dishes that will taste even better with the addition of some Shiner beer.

The mecca of Texas barbecue is in Central Texas, also referred to as the Hill Country because of the low, rolling hills. It is a beautiful area that attracts crowds of wildflower devotees in the spring, and 'cue lovers year-round. Fire up your grill and enjoy this brisket along with a cold Shiner Bock (or two). It's almost as good as being there.

Hill Country Brisket
This brisket comes close to the "real deal" that you'll find in the heart of barbecue country.
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 boneless beef brisket (6 to 8 pounds), trimmed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Shiner Bock beer, divided
  • 2 cups steak sauce (your favorite), divided
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
Combine the paprika, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder. Rub this spice mixture evenly over the surface of the brisket. Place the brisket with the fat side up in a large disposable pan (a heavyweight aluminum foil roasting pan works well). Add water and about half of the beer to the pan. Seal tightly with foil.

Place the pan in the middle of a grill rack over hot coals. Close grill cover and cook for 5 hours, turning brisket in the pan juices about every 1-1/2 hours. Add additional water to the pan as needed.

Remove foil from the pan. Transfer the brisket directly onto the grill rack over very low coals. Combine 1 cup pan drippings with 1 cup steak sauce and the remaining beer. Brush some of this sauce over the meat. Set remaining drippings aside. Close the grill cover and cook for 1 hour. Brush meat occasionally with the remaining sauce. Allow the brisket to rest for 20 minutes after removing from the grill.

To make the sauce, sauté the onion in butter in a saucepan until the onion is transparent. Stir in the ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, hot pepper sauce, remaining steak sauce, and the reserved drippings. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Slice the meat 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick across the grain. Serve with warm sauce on the side. Serves 8 to 10.

Beer-battered seafood can be found on many restaurant menus and in the freezer section of your neighborhood grocery store. Here's how you can make your own. Experiment with additional seasonings if you like a spicy batter.

Beer-Battered Fish Fillets
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) Shiner Blonde (or Light) or other pale beer
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 pounds fish fillets (like trout, red snapper, or cod)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for coating fillets
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Lemon wedges or tartar sauce
In a large bowl, combine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, paprika, and salt. Beat in beer, egg, and oil until smooth. Let batter stand for 2 hours.

In a heavy, deep saucepan or wok, heat about 2 inches of oil to 350°F. Put remaining 1/2 cup of flour on a plate. A few pieces at a time, coat fillets by rolling them in the flour. (Another way to do this is to gently shake fillets with the flour in a paper bag.)

Dip the floured fillets in batter to coat, shaking off the excess batter. Set in the hot oil to fry. Cook about 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot with lemon wedges or tartar sauce. Makes 6 servings.

Here is a different version of a Texas classic. Use some of our great Texas Gulf shrimp in this recipe.

Shrimp Chili

The Base

  • 3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups bell peppers (red and green), chopped
  • 3 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 2 large jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground and toasted
  • 1 (15-ounce can) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (optional if you don't like them in your chili)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce can) diced tomatoes packed in juice
  • 1/2 cup Shiner Black (or other dark beer, if Shiner Black isn't available)
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
The Shrimp
  • 1 pound medium (31 to 35) shrimp, shelled
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce (from the chipotle can)
Heat a large, wide saucepan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, onions, and bell peppers. Sauté, stirring often, until the onions are translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the jalapeños, chili powder, and cumin. Sauté, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the beans (for those of you who like beans in your chili), tomatoes, and beer. Add the minced chipotle and the bay leaf (if you're using one), and season with salt and black pepper.

Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the base, at a continuous simmer, for 15 minutes. Check to see if you need to add more salt and/or pepper. Be sure to remove the bay leaf, if you used one. (You can prepare this base a day ahead, but make sure you bring it back to a simmer before adding the shrimp.)

Once you have the base simmering, cut the shrimp into nuggets and toss in the adobo sauce. Refrigerate until just before you're ready to serve the chili.

Stir the shrimp into the base and cook over medium-high heat until it's heated through. It will take about 2 minutes after adding the shrimp and bringing the mixture back to a simmer. Spoon the chili into bowls and serve hot. Makes 4 servings.

Here's an interesting statistic: In the 1970s and 1980s, Shiner had less than 1 percent of Texas beer sales. These days, you can find Shiner beer in most parts of the United States, and it's one of the most popular Texas beers in Texas.. The website has a U.S. map showing where the beer is available. Tours of the Spoetzl Brewery are conducted on weekdays at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with additional times in the summer. For more information, check out their website at www.shiner.com.

Spoetzl Brewery
603 E. Brewery Street
Shiner, Texas 77984

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