Spoetzl Brewery, founded in 1909 and now the fourth-largest craft brewery in the United States, has made quite a name for the Central Texas town of Shiner.
In Texas, the mere mention of the word “Shiner” immediately brings to mind thoughts of a cold longneck and the distinctive brew within. However, before the beer, there was the town, which I set out to explore, beyond the bottle.
Brock Wagner, owner of the Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston, stands in the steel basket of a hydraulic boom lift flanked by a row of stainless-steel fermentation tanks, each named for a patron saint of brewers. Like a preacher at his pulpit, Wagner proselytizes on the virtues of Saint Arnold beer to a few hundred fervent believers gathered on the concrete floor below him. “Life is too short to drink bad beer,” he says. “You only have one liver. Use it wisely.”