I have fond memories of Shiner Bock from when I lived in Austin, and I always have a bottle or two when I go back to visit my brother. I agree with Stan at Appellation Beer that while Shiner doesn’t make the greatest of beers, they are better than a lot of people give them credit for. I didn’t see the Helles anywhere when I was in Austin a few weeks ago. I’ll have to look for it next time.
The Bohemian Black Lager, which I had had before, was available at Artz Rib House. I developed an appreciation for Schwarzbiers during a couple of trips to Germany. The Bohemian Black has a very nice malty flavor, but lacks somewhat the intense roasted coffee flavor of the Schwarzbiers I tried in Germany.
This Shiner ad that Stan linked to is also pretty great.
I also went to the Independence Brewing brewery when I was in Austin. The 1st Saturday of each month they give out free beer samples at the brewery. $5 gets you a logo pint glass, which then gets you free refills. They make very nice amber and brown ales, as well as a pale ale that sounds like it would be very similar to Sierra Nevada. I tried the Southside Special Ale and really wanted to like it, but just couldn’t get excited about it. Perhaps it was the “hint of cardamom” that was throwing me.
The tour was excellent and very educational, as you get to walk up close to all the brewery equipment and owner Rob will answer just about any question about how they brew their beer. Go to El Meson for lunch and then show up at Independence at about 1:15. The initial crush of people will have already gotten in and started on their first beer.