Brew Review

Beer Review – Shiner Bock


Have you ever had a beer and found it to be so good and it sort of frames your evening and leaves you with a powerful memory? Have you ever had that beer again and then thought what just happened? That was my experience with the Shiner Bock. I had the Shiner Bock on two separate occasion while at conferences in Texas and both times, after a somewhat painful day in meetings, the flow of Shiner melted away the conference and made for a great night of commiserating and camaraderie. Well, the other day, I stopped at the Roger Wilco (formerly the Wine Warehouse) and after seeing the Shiner, I thought what a nice find and picked up a six.

From the Shiner site:

“Bock reflects the tradition of genuine Bavarian beers as a brew only a craftsman like Kosmos Spoetzl, trained in the “Old Country,” could bring to life. With its deep amber color, distinctive rich flavor and full body, Shiner Bock demonstrates the care of a handcrafted brewing process to bring forth a mellow taste free of the bitter aftertaste found in many micro, specialty and imported beers. Just think of it as Shiner smooth.

I found the Shiner Bock to have the following characteristics:

  • Appearance: Dark brown with a little foam and lacing.
  • Aroma: Maple and sweet malt.
  • Taste: Average taste with a flat if not slightly sour finish.
  • ABV: 4.4%

Sadly, you can’t go home again. Maybe it was drinking at home, maybe it was out of the bottle instead of on tap, maybe Shiner just isn’t that good. No matter how much I tried to love it, I just couldn’t recapture that same feeling from before. Has this ever happened to you?

13 replies »

  1. Yes, this has happened to me with this exact beer! I used to go to Houston often for work, and I would always order up a Shiner on tap when I went out to dinner. But alas, a 6-pack of Shiner at home is just average beer. I know you guys are from the Philly area, so you’ll probably understand the analogy that Shiner is the “Yuengling of Texas”.

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    • Maybe this is one of those beers that lose something in the bottling process and you really have to have it on tap to appreciate it. At home, I’d rather have the Yuengling.

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    • I guess the bottles lose something on their way from Texas to NJ and that falloff doesn’t occur until after the shorter trip to AR but it just wasn’t as good as I remembered.

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  2. I would have responded with a comment earlier but I had to regroup after having fallen into a fit of apoplectic siezure-like horror at the prospect of your Hoovering of one of my hips! You see, not only have i had essentially the same experience with Shiner Bock, but I’ve had them in the same exact locations! Now that I am confident that both of my hips are, in fact, safely encased in their proper locations I can go on….

    My first Shiner Bock was at the end of a long conference day in Austin, TX. I didn’t have high expectations for the beer – I knew it Shiner (Spoetzle) is essentially the Texas version of Yuengling. Just a very large regional brewery with a lineup of brews that, at best is a half notch above mega corporate swill but with a very loyal local following. That said, I wasn’t too disturbed by my first Shiner Bock. There was no way I would willingly pay for one at a bar but as a conference happy hour SWAG pour, it was OK.

    Then came the day I walked into THE SAME EXACT STORE IN VOORHEES and bought the Shiner Family Six Pack. Don’t know why I did it. Anyway, over the course of a few days I had all 6 of the beers – all different styles (or so they said) – including Shiner Bock.

    In the end, I was certain that Shiner Bock was perhaps the worst Bock I’ve ever had and, to amazement, none of the other beers in the sampler tasted much different – none tasted any better. Hard to understand why any brewery would go to the trouble of brewing different styles all aimed at the lowest possible common denominator – ZERO CHARACTER & FLAVOR. Seriously? A few years ago I almost understood because there was only a fledgling craft beer scene in Austin. I returned a couple months ago to find a a robust and exciting craft beer scene. A nice stable of credible breweries in and around Austin, Houston and Ft. Worth. (512) Brewing, St. Arnold’s, Live Oak and Real Ale to name a few. Bottom line is that with so many local choices in Texas alone, there’s no reason to ever reach for a Shiner Bock – or a Shiner anything for that matter.

    Now, back to my regularly scheduled agricultural philosophy and quantum insultative theorum development….

    Cheers!
    @TheAlemonger

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    • First, let me say that now that I have titanium, I seriously doubt that I would want the booze infused bones albeit from the highly regarded Monger. Second, this makes four reviews in a row and you have not yet buried me. I am very, very afraid of the soon to come onslaught. If anyone needs me, I’ll be in the whisky bunker.

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      • I haven’t been in an onslaughting mood lately – could be the healthy breakfasts replete with hand-fashioned pancake sausages shaped like Squidward or could be the fact that I’ve agreed with your reviews.

        But if I were you I’d go to ground too. But I’d also bring along Wii Sports Resort and an empty shell of a Commodore 64…….

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  3. When I was 21 and had a ready supply of Shiner on tap, I loved it. It was my go-to beer when there wasn’t something more interesting available. That said, I have to agree that it’s average (if that) in the bottle, and probably not as good on tap as I remember it being 10 years ago. The Dortmunder (Shiner’s Spring Seasonal) is, from what I’ve tried, their best bottled offering.

    Avoid the holiday ale like the plague – it’s ale with peach and pecan. BLERGH.

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  4. I will tell you, Shiner Bock is only good in Texas. But in Texas, it’s one of the best beers available. If it’s not fresh, then it ain’t good – that’s all there is to it.

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  5. I can tell you from experience that when you’re in your early-twenties living in Austin in the mid-eighties, Shiner tastes much better from a keg which is iced down in a large plastic trash can and consumed from a red, plastic Dixie cup. A bottle of this stuff in your fifties just isn’t the same thing. Nothing in your fifties is the same thing.

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