Like many of the German and Czech immigrants who settled in Texas during the mid-19th century, Kosmos Spoetzl arrived thirsty. Nearly a century after he began brewing beer in the small, southeastern town of Shiner, his bock—a traditional, malty style—is a Lone Star State icon. Though Shiner Bock has become one of the best-selling craft brews in the nation, the brewery Spoetzl founded remains true to its roots. Gearing up for Spoetzl Brewery's 2009 centennial, brewmaster Jimmy Mauric, who has worked there for 32 years, recently introduced a few varieties you'd be hard-pressed to find outside of central Europe: a marzen ale, historically served during Oktoberfest; a Bohemian black lager; a helles (bright) lager made with spicy hops. Our favorite is the full-bodied Shiner 100 Commemorator, a style of starkbier (strong beer) invented by German monks to sustain them while fasting. Somewhere, Kosmos Spoetzl is smiling.
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