Special to the E-T

The W.K. Gordon Center in Thurber will host a book signing and beer tasting on Sunday, Oct. 18. Mike Renfro, author of Shine On: 100 Years of Shiner Beer, and a brewer from Spoetzl Brewery, will discuss the history of the Texan company and share a taste of their specialty beers. Admission is free, but reservations are required. Seating is limited, so call to reserve your space.

Thurber was a culturally diverse company coal mining town around the turn of the century. Immigrants from all over the world were recruited to work in the mines or the brick factory. The company, trying to keep their workers happy, fought local prohibition for years. Thurber alone kept Erath County wet until as long as it could. When it went dry, the company moved its saloons and beer gardens over the Palo Pinto county line keeping them in service until statewide prohibition in 1919.

The Spoetzl Brewery, also known as the Shiner Brewing Association, headquartered in Shiner, produces beer that has become a Texas icon. The original company was founded in 1909, in an Austrian, German, and Czech farming community. In 1914, Kosmos Spoetzl, a German immigrant brewmaster, took over the facility. The history of this brewery is a story of immigrant life and the successes and struggles of a growing business that appeals to beer connoisseurs, Texas history buffs, or simply those who appreciate a tale of beating the odds.

Mike Renfro received a Bachelor of Journalism from The University of Texas and has worked in radio and print media for many years. His work has received numerous awards, including the Radio Mercury Award and The One Show Creative Awards. Mike currently lives in Dallas.

The Gordon Center, a museum and research facility of Tarleton State University, is located at exit 367 on Interstate 20 midway between Fort Worth and Abilene. The center is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. For more information, call 254-968-1886.