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of Spoetzl Brewery - Shiner, TX
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"I visited the brewery yesterday. It's been about 20 years since my last visit. The last time I was there it was a very small brewery which was just about to go into bankruptcy. There were no tours but the tasting room was set up so you could try as much of their beer as you wanted. It was all free and there was a really funky cool little gift shop which sold all sorts of stuff, mostly not related to the brewery.
Now the brewery is huge with lovely copper kettles and a very impressive bottling set-up. The beers were all good and true to style.
They do have tours now. Twice a day. As someone mentioned they seemed very scripted. They do not allow photos taken on the tour. The lady actually said "take no photos if you value your equipment". Seemed a bit harsh to me. She might have said "please take no photos". She knew her script and did a good job of giving us the history and the brewing procedure but when I asked her technical questions about the brewing techniques or the ingredients she just made up bogus answers.
When you get to the gift shop (now located in the brewery and not in the building next door) you get three wooden tokens which you can trade for 3 Dixie cups of the beers of your choice. That's a far cry from the old days. You shouldn't just give away as much free beer as someone can drink, but they seemed to have gone a bit overboard on the conservative side.
Overall I would rate my experience as a good one and will probably go back the next time I'm in the area."
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