Texas Brews Land at Last

With thousands of exotic brews to choose from already here, it's curious Philadelphia was one of the last markets in America to get the Shiner beers from Spoetzl Brewery in Texas, a southwest regional legend in business since 1909. Well, they've finally made it to our fridges. And while none I tasted quite blew me away (though I enjoyed the well-known, easy-drinking Bock), I found Shiner's Bohemian Black lager to be most notable, at once dark but not heavy, with distinct notes of fig and coffee.

- Craig LaBan
Shiner, $3.25 a bottle at Bottle Bar East (1308 Frankford Ave.) and numerous other stores.

Beer Becomes Food

Dogfish Head's Sam Calagione has always contended that his odd-ingredient beers were meant to go with food. Now his beers are part of the food with an innovative line of products. From creamy clam chowder cooked with hoppy 60 Minute IPA and reconstituted with Palo Santo, to brats infused with Chicory Stout, Raison D'Etre and Midas Touch (delicious Greek-style in minty chicken-feta links), the beer flavors are distinctive, not just gimmicks. And so is the quality, as these were uniformly impressive.

- Craig LaBan
Sold at Dogfish's lunch box-shaped Bunyan's Lunchbox food truck at the brewery in Milton, Del. The Hard-Tack Chowder, $4 a can, and Hop Pickles, $8 a 16 oz. jar, are sold at dogfish.com, and will be available at Di Bruno Bros. (though prices may vary), with sausages expected in Philadelphia retail stores mid-July.