Schell’s Brewing Company – Timeless Beer Made Here In New Ulm, Minnesota Since 1860
By Gary H.
The upper Midwest has been a haven to beer fans for almost a hundred and fifty years. Our abundant supply of grains, as well as our incredible natural water supplies like Artesian wells, clean rivers, clear lakes and streams has made the Midwest a natural choice for those who brew all over Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. One brewer in particular typifies the types of beer made for many years in our region. That would be the August Schell Brewery in New Ulm, Minnesota.
Schell’s is a picturesque brewery along the Cottonwood River. It is filled with some of the most incredible landscaping, gardens, and fine German architecture. Visitors enjoy the deer park, brewery museum, and gift shops located on the 30-acre site. There are peacocks wandering around, and a few gift shops for you to enjoy, and many other things to see as well. A tour will cost $3 dollars – but that is a bargain!
Way back in 1856 a young machinist from Cincinnati set out in search of the ideal place to perfect his passion; brewing beer. He headed up north and eventually settled in a frontier town in Minnesota. The site he chose was in an area possessing a natural spring very near the town of New Ulm. Four years later along with a new partner, a German brewmaster August Schell, they founded the brewery that still bears his name today.
The Brewery business isn’t very easy. The August Schell Brewery has had to survive and endure many hardships along the way. The famous Dakota conflict of 1862, a thirteen year stretch of prohibition, the mass consolidation of breweries in the 1970’s, increased competition from local and national labels, and many others too numerous to mention. Today Schell’s is the 2nd oldest family owed brewery in the country. (Yuengling’s out in Philly is the oldest I believe). The Marti Family has also added a very well known brew to their portfolio – Grain Belt Premium and Premium Light. They were added a few years ago when the Minnesota Brewing Company shut down in St. Paul. Ted Marti was very concerned about making it with the original recipe and making sure it tasted as well as the brewmaster’s made it at Grain Belt. They went to great lengths to ensure the quality.
As you will see they make many different styles of beer at Schells.
Schell’s Original – A straw colored classic American lager developed from over 145 years of continuous brewing. Mild malt flavor and hop bitterness, along with “Schells” yeast make it a favottrite in the upper Midwest.
Schell’s Light – A low calorie beer that shows colors of light straw. Mild maltiness complimented by mild hop bitterness and a slight hop aroma with a light body and a refreshingly crisp, dry finish. This beer has a much fuller flavor than other light beers.
Schell’s Pilsner – A naturally krausened old world pilsner. Rich to moderate malt body balanced by clean moderate hop bitterness and a moderate flowery hop aroma.
Schell’s Pale Ale – The medium amber color is typical of an IPA. This brew has a pronounced bitterness with a pleasant aromatic hop character and a medium body for significant maltiness.
Schell’s Firebrick – Vienna Style Lager with a reddish-amber hue. Carries a mild, pleasant maltiness with subtle sweetness and a light hoppy finish. This beer is drinkable year round.
Schell’s Stout – London style sweet stout. A rich, smooth tasting beer with a light caramel flavor. Medium in body, black in color and lightly hopped to offer a hint of malt sweetness.
Schell’s Dark – Deep amber color with a light but classic maltiness. Possesses mild hop bitterness. Excellent drinkability.
Here are a few of their seasonal offerings.
Schell’s Carmel Bock – (January – March) A rich smooth-tasting beer with a light caramel flavor. Medium body, copper in color, and lightly hopped to offer a hint of sweetness.
Schell’s Maifest – (March – May) A blond double bock with a medium straw color. Richly assertive maltiness with a slight but unique sweetness. Moderate hop bitterness with a bold hop aroma. A very full-bodied beer whose strength is masked by its easy drinkability.
Schell’s Zommerfest – (May -August) This is a Kolsch Styled Honey Ale. Golden in color, with a light taste and effervescence that makes it a perfect drink for the summer season. Now brewed with real Minnesota honey. Flavorful with a slight malt flavor and a sweet hop aroma. Very smooth taste with a great drinkability.
As breweries chase trends in the business they seem to lose track of their core customers wants and the results of that can be disastrous. While others come and go the folks at Schell’s go on and on tirelessly brewing the things that make them great. Very good German style beers made here in Minnesota at a nominal price, and with as much care, and attention to quality as August Schell himself provided.
The next time you head out to your favorite bar, restaurant, or liquor store reach for a local brew from Schell’s. Try a classically styled brew – after all, 148 years as a successful brewer teaches you a few things about how to make a brew that is great!