Monday, 25 September 2017

Shiner, Texas

by Abby Green

“That’s perfect! We’ll go on a miniature vacation!” Anne had just pointed out the fact that she lived here now and had never gone to one of my favorite tour-guide spots, Shiner, Texas.
There was a strangely great amount of excitement waking up that morning. We fed the dog, put the cat out and had our morning dose of French Pressed coffee. At 9:30, it was time to hit the road. The plan was to start the tour of Shiner at La Terraza De Jalisco. We walked into a building with a front door that did not close behind us. Anne paused to pull the door shut and turned back around to see the simple, plainly decorated, but clearly popularly patronized restaurant. Here, a simple diner type coffee, not bad, not great, not burnt, this time. I knew what I wanted. It’s not that I’m not adventurous. It’s easy to compare or judge a place when the order is simple and familiar. Mine would be one bean, cheese and bacon taco, NO EGGS. Anne was going with adventure. Chorizo or machacado. Both of these were frequently scrambled into the eggs. Some places made them too eggy. Anne isn’t a huge egg fan either. Funny that we chose an “EggCamper” to make our big journeys next year. In the end, she chose the machacado and the waitress noted to go light on the egg. She’s a good one, that waitress.

We continued up this main road and turned right just after the train tracks. Anne asks, “Is that an old water treatment plant?” I laugh and reply, “no, that’s the brewery.” The gift shop and hospitality suite is where the journey begins. The hospitality part means free beer! Each guest can try any four beers they like for free and take a tour of the brewery for free. The most impressive part of the brewery is the machinery. Most people were so mesmerized by “Fred” that not much else needed to be said. The tourists watched through the glass as “Fred” hugged two kegs at a time, lifting them with such precise force, placing them exactly and gently onto the pallet that would eventually be wrapped and shipped out. “Fred” did this in a strangely human set of movements, but with robotic precision that awed the onlookers.

Just a few blocks away, there is Friday’s fried chicken. There is a glass pastry counter filled with whole pies and pie and cake pieces and a dozen different types of cookies. Order at the cash register and your cashier will bring your order by memory of your face. This is the very definition of comfort food, but one really doesn’t need any more than one piece of crunchy greasy fried chicken and a few spoonfuls of mashed potatoes with cream gravy.

As we left town we drove by an old Catholic church with amazing brick work. This church would give us reason to return and explore the town some more… and maybe stop in for more free beer! This concluded the Shiner mini-vacation adventure.

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