Riding the Beer Trail for a Taste of Shiner, with Stops for BBQ

jaime_shinerbanner.jpg
Jaime-Paul Falcon
We're living in the golden age of Texas beer. Seriously, we are -- there are craft breweries popping up all around the state, our major cities are seeing growler-filling shops opening up and giving us the chance to take home brews that aren't available in bottle or cans, and we're being graced by multiple beer-centric festivals this month.

With the Texas Senate passing a round of bills that would allow in-state brewpubs the right to sell to distributors and finally letting breweries sell their products on site (though with restrictions, and still pending approval from the House and governor, and knowing our governor who knows what will happen), I started thinking about the new tradition of spending a day touring a brewery, learning about its history and process, and then sampling some of the brewery's hard work in the form of frothy, delicious goodness.

spoetzl565.jpg
It's sort of a goal of mine to go to each brewery in Texas. In fact, I've made it a point to drive into the Hill Country to walk around Real Ale's small operation, I've attended almost every tour in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and I've even had the pleasure of enjoying a warm pretzel in St. Arnold's beer hall. But there's one tour that I've always thought to be out of reach, one that I figured would be too much of a hassle to go to, and that was the tour at our state's most popular brewery, Shiner.

I came of legal drinking age too late for Shiner's music fests and hometown celebrations, and I'm not nearly confident enough on a bike to attempt the Great Austin to Shiner Peddle. And, to be honest, sometimes it feels as if Dallas is too big to escape -- as if the rest of the state is too far away to enjoy. This is a foolish thought, and with a little bit of research I realized that even with some must-stops, Shiner is just six hours away. The decision was made, I was going.

The drive came together quickly -- head down Interstate 35, make a stop in West, pick up TX-130 in Georgetown and then onto U.S. 183 into Lockhart for a bite to eat. From there it's country roads to La Grange, then TX-95 directly to Shiner. That's 329 miles, four iconic Texas stops. The only real question was whether I listen to Lift to Experience, Robert Ellis or Slobberbone once I lost The Ticket's signal.

My first stop occurred about 90 minutes outside of Dallas in West. You are implored to stop in West by everyone whom you tell you're going to Austin. "OH MY GOD" they say, "You have to stop and eat a kolache at the Czech Stop!" which means you have done this a half dozen times. I for one think we're overselling the real reason to stop in West; we've turned pastries into golden calves while ignoring our state's best vintage shop. We've neglected to insist we stop at the Style Station.

Located on the southern outskirts of West in an old gas station, the Style Station sits on a service road waiting to greet lovers of its eclectic assortment of vintage fashion and art. Long known to hipsters looking for a fashion upgrade, the stop has become sort of a rite of passage for those making the trip to catch a show or festival in Austin. Hell, it's where I bought my first pearl snap. I duck into the shop to look at its wares, making sure to avoid any political talk with the proprietor. Not finding anything to my liking, I hit the road. Lockhart isn't too far away, and I'm starting to get hungry.

Listen, I'm not Gavin Cleaver, I don't write about barbecue, but I know what's good, so let me sum up Lockhart like so. Barbecue is good, barbecue made in Texas is better than barbecue made anywhere else and barbecue made in Lockhart is good enough to constantly be raved about online, in print and on television. If you're looking for an in-depth take on whether Smitty's, Black's, Kreuz or Chisholm is better, wait for Gavin to make the trip down. (Editor's note: Check this space next week.) I'm sure the word "wicked" might show up in his review.



Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
10 comments
1dailyreader
1dailyreader

Why has the price of beer gone up so much?  At the corner gas station, it's gone up at least $2.00+ a twelve pack.  Shiner that was about $12 is now almost $15.  I'm not switching to Natural but I have to move on over to Bud now.  

Shamelessbrewer
Shamelessbrewer

I got engaged near the end of our tour.  The tour guide knew in advance of my plans.  Some guy in our tour even started to cry.  Magical Special

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

You should have stopped at Prause's Market, on the square in LaGrange, for some good BBQ.

Don_O
Don_O

I have Black's and Kreuz BBQ in my freezer.  No waiting for some Englishman, here.  :)

gmit
gmit

Shiner Blonde tastes much better now that its back to its origins, call it my love of nostalgia cause when we started drinking Shiner it wasnt that Orange shit it was the really good Shiner Beer, how that BOCK thing overtook the situation strikes me as odd or just how certain folks like the idea of what they think is a stong (dark) beer, even though many times darks are sweeter and contain less "strength" than their lighter siblings 


For all my confusion over the popularity of Shiner Beers I guess they deserve praise for cuting the path and showing others its not only possible but profitable

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING..tastes better than those samples at the Shiner factory.  Nectar of Gods!

Gipson
Gipson

I'm actually surprised they only shipped 600,000 bottles last year. I feel like I drank half of them.

cynicaloldbastard
cynicaloldbastard

@1dailyreader   Because Barry Andrews paid State Senator John Corona to increase the cost of beer to consumers so that the beer distributors can make more money.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...