Category: August Schell Brewing Co.

Best of the Wurst Sunday!

We’d be remiss (or just lazy as per usual) if we didn’t mention that Sunday The Best of the Wurst takes place at Sociable Cider Werks. We’ll hold off on sharing our wurst jokes and get right down to the details. If you’re into sausage parties, then this is the shindig for you! Tickets range from $25 to $75 and feature a plethora of sausage samples as well as craft beer and cider from Sociable and August Schell Brewing Company. Schell’s will be serving their seasonal favorite, Oktoberfest as well as their 1905 VT and Witbier. They may also be sharing some of the collaboration beer they created with Sociable this past summer.

Church of Cash and Alex Rossi round out the event with some fine pluckin’ and a’strumin’ and the event wraps up with the crowning of the Sausage King/Queen of Minnesota (I just made that up, feel free to use it) – the “Best of the Wurst” determined through ranked choice voting.

Sunday, Sept. 23rd, 2-6pm.

Get tickets right here. 

Autumn Brew Review Recap 2017

An oldie but a goodie. Abr 2006.

By now, everyone who attended the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild Autumn Brew Review should be feeling (more or less) completely recovered. But if not, we can’t blame you. As with every year at ABR, a nearly endless treasure trove of must-have beers were on display, and you could be forgiven for trying to sample just a few too many of the best brews the state has to offer.

There’s something a little strange about writing up the ABR experience, as I’ve done many years in a row for various outlets. I’ve never had anything short of a great time at the Guild’s flagship event, and this year was no different. However, veterans of ABR may have noticed a few differences this year. The layout was different, with Minnesota breweries claiming the outer ring of the event space at the historic Grain Belt brewery, and the national brands more tightly clustered together in the center rows. This was the reverse of the historical layout, and illustrated how large the local brewing scene has grown. The ratio of local to national brands has definitely tipped in favor of the hometown breweries, with many previous national exhibitors nowhere to be seen this year. And finally, perhaps because of a slightly expanded space, or perhaps because there are more beer festivals than ever, the event didn’t seem as completely packed as year’s past. Once an event that reliably sold out in minutes, there were tickets for ABR still available the day before the event.

Of course, the turnout was still very strong, and many of the most popular booths still had impressively long lines for their timed releases. I chose to wait in few of those lines, and still had no trouble sampling impressive beers from all around the event grounds. A few of my standouts:

  • August Schell Lunar Interference: I’m a sucker for the Schell’s Berliner Weiss series, and this was one of the richest, most layered releases yet. Rich, chocolatey, fruity, and complex. The best beer I tried at the event, and I can’t wait to grab a bottle.
  • Badger Hill Tripel Abbey Ale: Belgians are typically not my jam, but this one really worked for me. Smooth, rich, and drinkable. Badger Hill always zigs when you expect them to zag.
  • Barrel Theory DDH Rain Drops: I haven’t tried the standard version of Rain Drops yet, but this double dry hopped version was the best NE IPA I had at ABR, easily.
  • Foxhole Old Snaggletooth: A lovely, drinkable old ale. This was the first beer I’ve tried from Foxhole, and it suggested that a road trip to Willmar may be in order.

I did not have a chance to check out 10K Brewing, who took home the audience choices for both Best Brewery and Best Beer with Loonar Uprising. I guess I’ll have to make a point to check them out next year, when they return as reigning champions. I’m already looking forward to it.

Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest Saturday

As I write this, tickets are still available for Saturday’s Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul. In its short history, the event has quickly become Minnesota’s premiere Winter (…er Spring?) festival with a finely-curated list of rare, one-off and specialty beers from 30 select breweries from Minnesota and across the country. Suffice to say that this event includes plenty of excellent food, entertainment and more.

I am, of course, a dumbass and won’t be there so here are Five beers I’ll really f&#@ing miss from this year’s Northern Lights Rare Beer Festival:

  • Indeed Wooden Soul: Ephemeral
  • August Schell Electric Empress
  • Fitger’s Brewhouse Tequila Barrel 1100 Wheatwine
  • Bemidji Brewing Flanders Sour Red
  • Steel Toe Brewing Before the Dawn with Tart Cherries

That being said, there are a lot of interesting beers. Learn more by checking out the program or visiting their website.

Download the program here.

Buy your tickets here.

Northern Lights Rare Beer Fest, Saturday, March 11th, 7-10pm.
Minnesota History Center, 345 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul

Starkeller Now Open in New Ulm

It’s finally here. The all sour taproom headed up by Jace Marti (of Schell’s) was given the go ahead from the TTB recently and they’ve opened the doors and are ready to serve (check their social media for hours) their popular Berliner Weiss beers. “This story began in 1919. Prohibition happened, so for 13 years we were making soda” according to Jace. He is of course referring to those beautiful cypress tanks they purchased (and repurposed for the Starkeller) back in 1936 which were much cheaper than their steel counterparts. “We couldn’t afford new equipment after prohibition so we installed wooden tanks instead of steel ones.” The vessels were used at Schell’s from 1936 until 1991, mostly for Deer Brand Lager.

One might ask why they decided to use these cypress tanks from 1936 at the new space. Well there are a couple of reasons. For one, they’re gorgeous, rare, and they add a ton of character to the space. “These are the last 10 tanks like this in the world” says Marti.  Another reason is that the bacteria and brettanomyces being used at the brewery like a tiny bit of oxygen which steel tanks can’t provide on their own. The cypress tanks breathe a little which allows a very small amount of oxygen in without ruining the beer.

Why Berliner Weiss? Schell’s has always made traditional German style lagers but Jace wanted to do something a little bit different. So he went to Berlin to learn about a style of beer they were brewing over there that had roots in other parts of Europe. “The French brought the sour technique that they learned in Belgium over to Berlin” he says.

The second oldest family run brewery in the country is once again changing the way we think about beer. From Belgium to Berlin, and now to New Ulm. Welcome to Sour Country.

 

Cheers!

Beers to seek out at the Minnesota State Fair

The Minnesota State Fair is the place for gimmicky food, and beer of course is no different. This year there will be a couple of new beers that fit this category including a cider and another beer based on a deep fried sugar bomb staple of the fair. We’re not gonna waste any time, so here are some beers that you may want to seek out at The Great Minnesota Get Together.

Mini Donut Beer from Lift Bridge – Yep, this is a huge hit every year at the fair and it’s not going away anytime soon. This malt monster is a real treat, one that I only want once a year. The cinnamon sugar rimmed glass gives a much needed touch to base of this beer. You can find this at Ball Park Café.

Hopmosa from Bent Paddle Brewing – No, this doesn’t taste exactly like a mimosa—but the folks at Bent Paddle know a thing or two about infusing beers. The beer being infused is Bent Hop IPA and the addition of orange zest will only make this more appealing on a hot summer day. Find this over at Ball Park Café.

Sociable Caramel Apple Cider from Sociable Cider Werks – Jim Watkins over at Sociable Cider Werks is known for carefully sourcing the apples that he uses in his products over at the taproom in Northeast Minneapolis. This one is a blend of a few different varieties along with a simple syrup he concocted with a little help from a childhood friend. Expect this to be topped off with an apple slice drizzled with caramel. You’ll only find this at Giggles Campfire Grille.

Red Sangria Lager from Schell’s – Radlers are known for being a tad sweet, yet make for a refreshing summer treat. This one promises to be less sweet but should deliver in terms of drinkability on an 85-degree day in Minnesota. The beer is said to feature flavors of elderberries, pear, citrus, and apples. It’s only 4.8% ABV and will be topped with a Red Citrus Sangria Beer Foam. The Schell’s Stage Stand might be my first stop. It’s also available at LuLu’s Public House.

Funnel Cloud from Bad Weather Brewing – This would seem at first glance to be a sugar bomb. Joe at Bad Weather tells me otherwise stating that this won’t be overly sweet like some of the others. I’m skeptical, but head brewer Andy Ruhland knows what he’s doing over there, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. Expect this to have undertones of vanilla and cinnamon/sugar. This beer is exclusive to Mancini’s Alfresco so it will only be available there.

Your best bet though is to visit the Land of 10,000 Beers Exhibit near the food building where you can purchase a flight of beer to wash down those cheese curds. This is where you will get a real taste of the beer being made here in Minnesota.

Cheers!