Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hey Y'all! Miss me?

I just came back from a work/ad/media/conference jaunt right outside of Austin, TX that was fun and interesting and oh-my-god humid. But since this is the beer blog, I thought I would tell you about what I drank. In quantities far too large, by the way. I drank Shiner Bock, brewed by the Spoetzl Brewery, which is located somewhere around Houston, Austin and San Antonio.

Shiner Bock has been brewed at this brewery since 1913, but used to be a seasonal beer for Lent. (Huh? Keep reading...) Today Bock makes up 80% of all the beer sold by Spoetzl, who used to keep their business within a 70 mile range, but now are actively growing distribution. They just started appearing in parts of Missouri.

I drank many bottles of Shiner, like this one. For a random point of reference, one of the friendly Texas bartenders who we kept hopping during our cocktail hours told me that she thought Shiner Bock tasted kind of like Sam Adams. It might, maybe, to some people, but not really to me. Sam Adams is more of a dark lager, while a bock is a style all on it's own. BeerAdvocate is at the ready with a description:

The origins of Bock beer are quite uncharted. Back in medieval days German monasteries would brew a strong beer for sustenance during their Lenten fasts. Some believe the name Bock came from the shortening of Einbeck thus "beck" to "bock." Others believe it is more of a pagan or old world influence that the beer was only to be brewed during the sign of the Capricorn goat, hence the goat being associated with Bock beers. Basically, this beer was a symbol of better times to come and moving away from winter.

As for the beer itself in modern day, it is a bottom fermenting lager that generally takes extra months of lagering (cold storage) to smooth out such a strong brew. Bock beer in general is stronger than your typical lager, more of a robust malt character with a dark amber to brown hue. Hop bitterness can be assertive enough to balance though must not get in the way of the malt flavor, most are only lightly hopped.

Average alcohol by volume (abv) range: 5.5-7.5%

So it comes with a little ABV kick. And as I said, I drank many bottles of Shiner, maybe one too many. I never poured it into a glass (because I am classy!) so I can't note anything about color, or head, etc. All I can tell you is that it smelled sweet, kind of malty, tastes smooth, sweet, and only has a little bit of carbonation.