Shiner Anniversary Beer History: A Texan’s Guide
Shiner Anniversary Beers
In 2005 Shiner began producing special anniversary beers, a new beer each year leading up to their 100 year anniversary Centennial celebration beer, Shiner 100. Each anniversary beer was labeled with the age of the brewery, so the anniversary beer in 2005 was labeled with a 96 indicating the 96 years of brewery operation up to that point. In 2006 the anniversary beer was labeled a 97, in 2007 a 98, and so on and so forth until the brewery’s centennial celebration. Each anniversary beer was only produced for a limited time, usually less than a year with the exception of the Shiner 100 Commemorator released in 2009 which was in production and on the shelves for the entire year.
A Shiner Tradition
Originally, Shiner planned to discontinue the annual anniversary beer line after Shiner 100, but because of the positive response from the consumers Shiner decided it would keep the tradition going and produce a new beer every year to celebrate the brewery’s birthday.
The Shiner Birthday Beer
Now in 2015 Shiner celebrates 106 years of brewing pure awesomeness with the release of a fine chocolate stout dubbed the Shiner 106 Birthday Beer. The 106 Birthday Beer is the Shiner’s first ever stout style beer. The CSTX crew and I were lucky enough to get a taste of the delicious birthday stout a couple of weeks before its release was even announced to the general public… thank you, Shiner; it was a pleasure and an honor. We met with Annie Raabe and Peggy Melton in the brewery’s quality assurance and testing lab. We had planned on asking them some questions about life at the Spoetzl Brewery but and had no idea of the sweet treat we were in for.
But first, let’s take a look at all of the anniversary beers that led up to the 106.
The Shiner 96 was the first of the first of six special edition beers released in the countdown to the brewery’s 100th year anniversary. The Shiner 96 was a Märzen -style beer, released in September 2005 and was originally in production for less than three months before the recipe was retired.
The Märzen -style beer became popular during the 1810 celebration of the Bavarian royal wedding, a celebration that is commonly referred to as the first “Oktoberfest.”
Style: Märzen / Oktoberfest
The Return of Shiner 96
In 2010, Shiner released the “Shiner Oktoberfest” brewed using the same recipe as the Shiner 96 recipe. So, next time you’re enjoying the Shiner Oktoberfest be sure to raise your stein to the Shiner 96.
Shiner 97 was the second commemorative beer to be released by Shiner as part of their anniversary beer collection. Better known to Shiner fans as the Bohemian Black Lager, the Shiner 97 black lager style beer is commonly referred to in Germany as a “Schwarzbier” which is simply German for black beer.
Like the Shiner 96 Oktoberfest, the Shiner 97 was originally available to in stores for a period of less than four months.
The Return of Shiner 97
The Shiner 97 was so popular during the original release period and demand for the lager after it was discontinued led the brewery to add it into the permanent lineup in 2007 under the new name “Bohemian Black Lager.”
Shiner 98 Bavarian Style Amber Lager
The Shiner 98 Bavarian Style Amber Lager was released in May 2007, four months earlier than the 96 and 97. The 98 was in production for four months longer than its commemorative beer predecessors , but unlike the 96 and 97, the Shiner 98 Amber was retired and off the shelves for good after just over seven months.
Style: Amber Lager/Vienna
Shiner 99 Munich Style Helles Lager
The Shiner 99 was released in March of ’08. The 99 was a Munich Style Helles Lager, a slightly sweet, malty, pale lager. This one was less of a hit, and unlike some of its brothers was not reincarnated into a regular production beer.
Style: Helles/Pale Lager
Shiner 100 Commemorator
The Shiner 100 Commemorator, originally planned to be the final anniversary brew, enjoyed the longest run of all. The 100 was on the shelves all year long. The Commemorator was a doppelbock, a German-style strong lager that is a stronger, darker version of a traditional bock. This style of beer was originally brewed by monks as “liquid bread”, to sustain them during the lenten fasting period when solid food was not allowed. As a result, this style is characterized by aromas of toasted malt with a slightly sweet “bread-y” flavor.
100 - aka "Shiner Commemorator"
Shiner 101 Czech Style Pilsner
The Shiner 101 was the first beer brewed after deciding to continue on with the anniversary beers. This “Czech-style beer first hit the shelves in January of 2010. While not quite as hoppy and bitter as you might expect a Czech-style beer to be, the 101 was definitely en easy drinker.
Style: Czech Pilsner
Shiner 102 Double Wheat
The Shiner 102 was released in January of 2011 for a limited release. This beer poured golden yellow with a light white head. The brewing notes describes the recipe as “between a bright wheat beer and a wheat wine ale.”
Style: American Wheat Ale
Shiner 103 Wild Hare Pale Ale
The 103 is the first ever ale brewed at the Spoetzl Brewery. Many people head into any “pale ale” expecting the hoppy punch-in-the-face that characterize an India pale ale, lately the most common of the pale ale family. But the Wild Hare is an American pale ale, which boasts more than a pound of hops per barrel using both US Golding and Bravo hops. While similar to the IPA, it is not as aggressively hopped and has an easier drinkability. Wild Hare was originally released in January of 2012.
Style: American Pale Ale
Shiner Wild Hare Pale Ale is still available in stores in both 6 and 12 packs and also as part of the Family Reunion pack.
Shiner 104 White Wing
The Shiner 104 marks the last of the Anniversary brews. The White Wing is a Belgian White, slightly sweet, and brewed with orange peel and coriander. Incredibly refreshing, it’s perfect for a hot sunny day. White Wing followed the release of the FM 966 Farmhouse Ale, Spoetzl Brewery’s first Belgian-style ale. These beers are born from a creative and necessary experimentation due to the rise of craft breweries in Texas. White Wing went on sale November 5th of 2013.
Style: Belgian Witbier
The Shiner 105 Mystery
Actually, this isn’t a mystery at all. Shiner didn’t produce a Shiner 105. They were in a period of transition between producing the “Anniversary Beers” and the “Birthday Beers.” We may have missed the 105 , but it just makes the 106 that much sweeter.
Shiner 106 Birthday Beer Chocolate Stout
Last, but definitley not least, is the Birthday Chocolate Stout. The 106 marks the end of the Anniversary beers and the beginning of the Birthday beers. This is the first stout produced by Shiner and not a moment too soon. Appropriately named, this beer tastes exactly like a chocolate birthday cake. This stout pours deep, dark brown almost black with a light tan head. The aroma is straight-up sweet birthday cake, though thankfully, ends up with a taste that, while still chocolatey, is less sweet than you’d expect from the nose. A hint of baking spice comes through, along with vanilla on the back end.
106 - The First Happy Birthday Beer
Style: Chocolate Stout