There can only be one...Bock in Shiner, Texas

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Todd, Nov 7, 2019.

  1. Todd

    Todd Founder (5,897) Aug 23, 1996 California
    Staff Moderator Fest Crew Society

    Spoetzl Brewery has a message for the people of Shiner, Texas...



    ### Here's the full text:

    To our friends in Shiner:

    We have heard some chatter about uncommon sights around town last month—three billboards and a concert sponsorship touting: “There’s a new Bock in Shiner.”

    That’s not Shiner Bock my friends. They are talking about Karbach Brewing Co., which is owned and operated by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, the largest brewer in the United States and in the world.

    It is not the Shiner Bock that’s brewed here in Shiner at the K. Spoetzl Brewery. This brewery has been providing jobs and giving back to our community since 1909—that’s 110 years. It is not the 110% independent and family-owned Shiner Bock. Our beers proudly wear the Brewers Association’s “Certified Independent Craft” seal on our labels—something an A-B-owned beer will never be able to do.

    A-B is a public multinational company with its global headquarters in Belgium. A-B acquired Karbach Brewing Co. in 2016. This was part of A-B’s larger scheme to acquire craft breweries around the United States and use its huge plants to produce the former craft beers they now own.

    A-B does not want you to know that Karbach is produced at the formerly craft Karbach brewery and at its large, low-cost A-B plant in Houston. This is a huge company with deep pockets seeking to force its way into our town.

    It is not the first time they have tried to imitate our iconic Shiner Bock—A-B’s Ziegenbock and Michelob AmberBock have been around for years. Now, Karbach’s Crawford Bock joins A-B’s family of bocks: “There’s a new Bock in A-B.”

    But they can try again. It won’t be the first time some local Texans faced unbelievable odds.

    We’ve got pride on our side. We are proud of our beer, proud of our independence, proud of our heritage, proud of our authenticity, and proud to be in Shiner, Texas.

    To the drinkers who love Shiner, we say “Cheers” and to the giant breweries, as our friends down the road once said, “Come and Take It.”

    Thank you for your support.

    Your friends at the Spoetzl Brewery

    ###
     
  2. Ffenski

    Ffenski Devotee (403) Apr 24, 2008 Ohio
    Society

    Good for Shiner, haven't had it in a couple years but just added it to my "Next purchases" list.
     
  3. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,927) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    Shiner is very popular in Casper...on draught at a number of places. I had a couple of pints last week.

    Kudos to Spoetzel Brewing!
     
  4. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,995) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    One beer I’ve never ever had.
     
  5. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    It is quite similar to Yuengling Traditional Lager in my opinion.

    Cheers!
     
  6. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,995) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Trader

    Hmmm so a Bock = Yuengling. Then I can easily pass.
     
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  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Well, if you stated American Bock = Yuengling Traditional Lager I would agree with you here. I coined the term of American Amber Adjunct Lager (AAAL) to describe these beers.

    Cheers!
     
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  8. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,661) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    An American-style Bock, not the continental kind.

    From Karbach's website, theirs is all malt, but clocks in fairly light at 4.5%.
     
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  9. Longhorn08

    Longhorn08 Aspirant (232) Feb 4, 2014 Texas
    Trader

    There are a ton of beers I’ve never had. Great contribution to the thread.

    As for me I grew up in a smaller town next to Shiner Tx and I’ll be sure to grab a sizer tomorrow!
     
    officerbill likes this.
  10. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    :thinking_face: Well, after operating it for 16 years, "Miss Celie" Spoetzl sold the family brewery founded by her father Kosmos (actually he took over the lease of an existing brewery) to a brewmaster, William Bigler, in 1966. Bigler was the masterbrewer at Lone Star in the 1940s -1950s, later working in California at Regal Brewing Co. in San Francisco.

    Bigler sold it two years later to a local group, eventually headed by entrepreneur Archie Ladshaw (best known as the owner of Ladshaw Explosives, Inc.). Ladshaw apparently took on more investors, usually described as "Central Texas businessmen" who created the Shiner Brewery Investment Corp. as the parent holding company. In 1984, they sold out to a "Houston investment group" made up mostly of Texas distributor owners.

    Finally, Carlos Alvarez, a former Grupo Modelo executive who created what was originally The Gambrinus Import Company, which had the import/distribution rights for Corona for roughly the eastern half of the US, bought Spoetzl in 1989. (Gambrinus lost the Corona deal in 2006.)

    As noted, Gambrinus (which has also owned the recently closed BridgePort Brewing Co. Portland, OR, the defunct contract-brand Pete's Brewing Co., and was formerly also importer for Moosehead) does call itself a "family-owned company" but it's not exactly the same as breweries like August Schell or Yuengling being "family-owned" by the same family for generations stretching back to the 19th century.
     
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  11. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (142) Aug 30, 2007 Texas

    It is similar to Yuengling in that it is a lager but in flavor they are not the same in my opinion. I also enjoy drinking Shiner and have never found the appeal of Yuengling. Both are well made beers, brewed to style, and a classic representation of their state. Don't sleep on Shiner Light, great beer for hot summers in Texas. Cheers.
     
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  12. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, even if one accepts the sub-style of "US-style Bock", Shiner Bock was something of an outlier - lighter in color and lower in ABV than the handful of mostly mid-Western seasonal bock beers still being brewed in the 1980s by pre-craft era brewers (Leinenkugel, Huber/Rheinlander, Schell, Point, Stroh) - when Spoetzl made Shiner Bock a year-around release. Like most US lager brewers, Spoetzl had brewed a seasonal bock previously, but given that by the 80s Shiner Bock was using Cascades hops*, they obviously changed the recipe (as they also did, earlier in the mid-70s, for their standard "Shiner Premium" beer).

    * By 2007, an article in the UK publication The Brewer & Distiller International on the brewery said of Shiner Bock "Hops are Brewers Gold, and they are about to phase in Nugget and English First Gold."

    Yuengling Traditional Amber Lager, too, was a creation of the 1980s - I always felt they were influenced by beers like Anchor Steam, New Amsterdam Amber Beer and Samuel Adams Boston Lager as far as the color went.
     
    #12 jesskidden, Nov 8, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
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  13. BeerandFitness

    BeerandFitness Initiate (18) Apr 24, 2019 Washington

    I enjoy Shiner Bock.
     
  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    JK, below is what Chris Colby reported in his 2004 article entitled Chip Off the Old Bock -- The American Adaptation of Bock Beer:

    “Walking through the Spoetzl Brewery, Peter and I came to a cold room with boxes of Brewer’s Gold hops stacked to the ceiling. “Guess which hop we use?” he asked. For a Shiner clone, use Brewer’s Gold, but any decent bittering hop would work in a generic American bock as you are shooting for a bitterness level below 20 IBUs. (Shiner is rated at 17 IBUs.)”

    Cheers!
     
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  15. PatKorn

    PatKorn Initiate (142) Aug 30, 2007 Texas

    So Yuengling Traditional Lager is not a 100 year old recipe that was smuggled over from europe and snuck through Ellis Island and guarded with peoples live's?! It was created at the same time as leg warmers and Reagan?!
    As a West Coast guy we always heard about the glory of Yuengling, it was the Anchor Steam of PA we were told. Back in the day it was a Whale. I had my first one in Lancaster back in the mid 00's and while not disappointed I finished my pint, shrugged my shoulders and had another one.
     
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  16. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Yeah, it's the old story that the recipe for most every beer with a decades long history has been "tweaked" over the years. The all-Cascade version of Shiner Bock was reported in a 1988 Zymurgy article, which even quotes long-time Spoetzl brewmaster, John Hybner, as saying the beer is "not very dark...." using the phrase "dark amber" to describe it. Spoetzl claims it was "first brewed - 1913" but, obviously, things have changed over the past 100 years or so... :wink:

    No brewer ever advertises:
    "We've been brewing and marketing beers using various recipes that we've labeled "Shiner Bock" for the past century..."
     
  17. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I was recently in Prague for vacation and I took a tour of the Staropramen brewery (which was very close to the hotel we were staying). After the tour they provided four beers in smaller glasses and one of those beers was a beer brand I never heard of before: Granat. Below is something I posted in a past thread:

    “The Granat beer is marketed by Staropramen as being brewed using a recipe from 1884. From the Staropramen website:

    “Staropramen Granat is a unique lager which proudly embodies our brewing traditions. This beer is based on the original recipe from 1884. The special sprinkling process of mixing pale and specialty malts is what gives the beer its unique ruby red - granat - colour.

    Staropramen Granat – fine hops meet a perfect combination of three different malts.”

    The Granat reminded me of Yuengling Traditional Lager. It was brewed well but not exactly a favorite of mine.”

    The Czechs, in the English language, refer to these sorts of beers as being semi-dark (I personally would use the word “amber” here).

    Granat is the second beer from the left in the below photo:

    [​IMG]

    Na Zdravi
     
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  18. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    Similar to how the Czech's describe a beer style of "semi-dark" as I detailed above.

    Cheers!
     
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  19. gvickery

    gvickery Devotee (435) May 13, 2017 Texas

    Shiner bock is not really a bock, just a dark weak lager. The abv is less than 5% so it’s not a bock. I only use it to but brats in after I grill them. It’s ok for that but I would never buy one to drink. Shiner does make a nice Oktoberfest though.
     
  20. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,847) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    I'm sure it's blasphemy somewhere but *lowers voice into whisper* ... Karbach's "bock" is better:
    [​IMG]
    Crawford Bock tastes a lot like Karbach's now retired Sympathy for the Lager, and the barley malt is unmistakable. Shiner Bock is a toasted American adjunct lager. I enjoy both FWIW, but there's no comparing the two.

    I'm enjoying the back and forth between two of our better historians. Thanks for the info, @jesskidden and @JackHorzempa!
     
    #20 Premo88, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  21. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,661) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Wow, so by looking at that it seems that the two beers aren't even in the same ballpark, so to speak.

    Here's my main question regarding the Karbach, though: does it feel like a kind of Bock, or just like another dark lager?

    You kinda have to figure that there's some gamesmanship at play on their end by invoking Shiner like that.
     
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  22. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,281) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Really? You were sorely misled.

    To the question of Shiner Bock being "to-style" or at all a good drinker, every time I give it another go I'm sorry I did. The fake sweetness and off bitterness are just dreck on my palate.

    OTOH -- Shiner has made some very good specialty, German-style beers in the past. I wish they'd reformulate the Bock in a similar manner.
     
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  23. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,281) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Invoking, or provoking? :wink:
     
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  24. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,661) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Well, yeah, I suppose it's a little of both. A lot, actually :wink::grin:.
     
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  25. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,847) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    Honestly, it's more of a very malty Vienna lager. It's not in the ballpark of either a good dark lager or a bock. Catskills' Nightshine would drown it in darkness, if that makes sense. :wink:

    Now is Crawford Bock closer to a dark lager/bock than Shiner Bock? Yes, but that's not saying much. Shiner Bock often tastes like a tortilla chip to me, and that puts it in the arena of Miller High Life or maybe Lone Star — AALs that use plenty of corn.

    I'd put nothing past Karbach in terms of marketing, and that was *before* they cashed in with AB InBev. So sure ... they may have found a way to poke Shiner with a stick. Although in fairness to Karbach, the Crawford Boxes are a locally famous part of Minute Maid Park, and Karbach and the Houston Astros have been tied at the hip (again) before the AB InBev buyout. Naming a beer "Crawford Bock" and selling it in the Houston area ... that's just sound business sense.

    All of this is making me feel a bit dirty. I may buy a six-pack of Shiner Bock this weekend to wash off some of this dirt. :stuck_out_tongue:
     
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  26. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,474) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    This wouldn't be a Bock in Germany. Those are Starkbier, strong beer.
     
    #26 hopfenunmaltz, Nov 10, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
  27. PapaGoose03

    PapaGoose03 Poo-Bah (2,534) May 30, 2005 Michigan
    Society

    Spell check didn't even recognize this word when I highlighted it, and I thought it might be a typo so I had to look it up. It's a real word! You taught me something today. :slight_smile:
    Dictionary

    dreck
    /drek/
    noun
    INFORMAL
    1. rubbish; trash.
      "this so-called art is pure dreck"
     
  28. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,661) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    That's what I was implying, way too weak for the term. But American Bocks used corn, so it doesn't seem to fit with that tradition either.
     
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  29. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,281) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    It's a pleasure to be of assistance in the enlightenment and appreciation of vocabulary. :grin:
     
  30. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Even in the Post-Repeal era, there were several US all-malt bock beers by otherwise "adjunct brewers" - Jax Bock (New Orleans), Neuweiler (PA) and perhaps the largest-selling and longest-lived, Stroh's Bock. I'd imagine some of the many breweries that used rice exclusively for their adjunct beers also brewed rice-adjunct bock beer, too - but I can't recall one specifically so advertised. (I'd guess Budweiser Bock Coors Bock would be two of the most likely).

    But, yeah, many US-style bocks would have been slightly higher in alcohol that the same brewers' flagship, so figure 5 - 5.5% up? ABV info is hard to come by for that era and lots of US Bocks eventually became just the brewer's flagship beer with an coloring additive, so those wouldn't have been among the higher alcohol ones. Nugey's 1937 Beer Formulas book lists 4 sample bock recipes (more than for any other single style) with O.G.'s from 13° - 15° Balling. (In the late 50s, Rheingold Bock ads featured a letter from Germany noting that their bock's "specific gravity of at least 16%" met German law of the time - they avoided mention of adjuncts, however :wink:).
     
  31. pat61

    pat61 Poo-Bah (5,680) Dec 29, 2010 Minnesota
    Society

    I'm not a great fan of their beer but I make it a point to drink on from time to time as a matter of principle.
     
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  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    JK, do you happen to know when high gravity brewing became popular with US breweries? Maybe some of those higher alcohol American bock beers were simply less diluted versions of the high gravity batches with the coloring additive you referenced?

    Cheers!
     
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  33. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (1,884) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Late 1960s - 1970s for HG brewing in the US (according to Owades re: Carling in the US), so pretty much as seasonal Bock was dying out (yet again) in the US, but, yeah, playing with the amount of carbonated water added was something the brewers were doing (that's how, infamously, AB came out with Michelob Light so quickly after Miller Lite exploded and why it was relatively high in calories) - so adding less water for a slightly higher alcohol Bock would be possible, but most of the bocks left other than Stroh's and Pabst's were from smaller brewers who probably didn't have capacity problems to consider HG brewing. And can't say I can recall seeing ABV listing for either.

    I've always thought that HG's water ratio might also explain the very small differences in ABV of some of the MC-brewed Pabst brands.
     
  34. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,847) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    Yes, Shiner has. Their anniversary pilsener a few years back was shockingly good, a true mix of bread malt and green hops.

    They could never change the traditional bock recipe. Too many consumers like it the way it is. But they could cook up another bock under a different name with a more authentic recipe. And I bet it’d be pretty good.
     
  35. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,095) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
    Trader

    Their black lager wasn’t bad. Their premium lager isn’t bad either.

    Thanks for reminding me of that Shiner Birthday Beer, I believe it was 107 (Hoppy Pilsner). That was a really great pils, but it came and went so quick. Sad I didn’t buy more.
     
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,258) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    The Shiner Bohemian Black Lager is much better than not bad IMO. I recently returned from visiting family and friends (New Braunfels, TX) and one friend had the Black Lager in his fridge and I really enjoyed drinking a bottle of this beer.

    This beer used to be available in PA (3-4 years ago) but I have not seen it since then.:slight_frown:

    Cheers!
     
  37. Premo88

    Premo88 Poo-Bah (1,847) Jun 6, 2010 Texas
    Society Trader

    Yes! That's the pils that was good.

    And yes, Shiner Black is decent stuff. In fact ... damn ... *that's* the Shiner 6-pack I need to pick up.
     
  38. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,095) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey
    Trader

    I haven’t had it in a long time but I remember it being good. Full Sail session black used to be my jam back then though, then in 2016 I moved back East from AZ and suddenly neither are available here anymore. Bummer.
     
  39. Thankin_Hank

    Thankin_Hank Champion (846) Nov 18, 2013 Texas

    I liked Shiner when I was switch hitting with my Coors Light after I started interest in craft beer. I like Shiner. Gives me enough gas to blow up a Hinderburg.
     
  40. gvickery

    gvickery Devotee (435) May 13, 2017 Texas

    Karbach’s Crawford Bock is soooo much better. It doesn’t matter if it was bought out by Bud, it’s still much more of a craft brewer than Shiner is. They have some good beers but there so-called bock is not one of them.
     
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