August Schell Brewing Company
1860 Schell Rd|
New Ulm, Minnesota
|Annual production volume||145,000 US beer barrels (170,000 hL)|
The August Schell Brewing Company is a brewing company in New Ulm, Minnesota. It was founded by German immigrant August Schell in 1860. It is the second oldest family-owned brewery in America (after D. G. Yuengling & Son) and became the oldest and largest brewery in Minnesota when the company bought the Grain Belt rights in 2002. In September 2010, it celebrated its 150th Anniversary with a two-day festival. Every year Schell's also celebrates traditional German holidays with Bock Fest and Oktoberfest.
August Schell (February 15, 1828, in Durbach, Grand Duchy of Baden – September 20, 1891, in New Ulm, Minnesota) emigrated to the United States in 1848. He worked in Cincinnati as a machinist before relocating to New Ulm with other members of the Turner Society. Upon moving to New Ulm, building on his experience as a machinist, he established a mill. In 1860, August Schell partnered with Jacob Bernhardt to found a brewery to serve the growing German immigrant population in the area. August and Jacob selected a site two miles from the heart of New Ulm along the Cottonwood River. While much of the city of New Ulm was damaged or burned during the Dakota War of 1865, the brewery escaped intact. In 1866, August Schell bought out his partner Jacob Bernahrdt to take sole ownership of the brewery, starting an unbroken chain of family ownership that continues to this day. During this time, the brewery grew in size and production.
August Schell died in 1891 leaving the brewery to his wife Theresa. Their son Otto took over managing the brewery. Otto had studied brewing back in the Schells' home county of Germany. As the 19th century became the 20th, Otto continued to modernize the brewery by adding refrigeration to the brewery. 1911 was a tragic year for the Schell family as first Otto and then Theresa died. At that time, George Marti, the husband of August's daughter Emma, took over managing and operating the brewery.
1919 brought about the passage of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and implementation of Prohibition. The August Schell Brewing Company struggled along with many other American breweries. The brewery transitioned to producing "near-beer" (a low alcohol beer still permitted during Prohibition), soft drinks, and candy. Prohibition ended in 1933 with passage of the 21st Amendment. George Marti had successfully steered the brewery through Prohibition, but died shortly thereafter in 1934.
George's son Alfred ("Al") Marti became the President and Manager of the brewery upon the death of his father. Al ran the brewery until 1969 until he retired and passed leadership of the company to his son Warren Marti. During this time, the brewing industry was going through a period of consolidation and upheaval, and Schell's was not immune. At one point, the brewery only managed to keep its doors open by cutting down a large black walnut tree located on the grounds of the brewery and sold its lumber. During Warren's tenure, the brewery responded to its customers changing preferences by introducing Schell's Export Beer, Schell's Light Beer, and 1919 Root Beer (named after the year prohibition was implemented).
In 1984, Warren's son Ted Marti took over operations of the brewery and became President of the brewery in 1985. Having studied at the Siebels Institute of Brewing, Ted began expanding the line of beers offered by the Schell's Brewery. One of those beers, Schell's Pilsener, earned a gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 1988. Schell's continued to expand its beer offerings through the 1990s, brewing 38 different beers over that decade.
In 2002, Schell's Brewery expanded its reach by acquiring the recipe and branding for Grain Belt Beer. Upon moving production to its New Ulm Brewery, Schell's introduced additional Grain Belt varieties including Grain Belt Nordeast in 2010 and Grain Belt Lock & Dam in 2016.
The next generation of the Marti family is increasing its involvement in the management and operation of the brewery. Ted's oldest son Jace Marti became a brewmaster in 2010 and has taken the lead on producing Schell's Noble Star line of sour Berliner Weisse beers. The brewery opened the Starkeller facility on the North side of New Ulm to produce the Noble Star line. This facility also houses a tap room dedicated to these sour ales.
The historic Schell's brewery is located in New Ulm, Minnesota alongside the Cottonwood River. The brewery has grown and evolved over the decades to accommodate new technology and expanded production lines. In addition to serving as a production facility, the brewery grounds house the historic Schell's mansion, a gift shop, a beer garden, and a deer enclosure. The grounds are open to visitors with tours running out of the gift shop. Peafowl live on the grounds and are free to roam the property.
Schell's opened another production facility on the north side of New Ulm called the Starkeller. The Starkeller is where the Noble Star beers are made and is also home to a taproom featuring those beers.
- Original (aka Deer Brand), ABV 4.8%, Straw colored classic American lager. Mild malt flavor and hop bitterness.
- Original Light, ABV 4%, Light straw color. Mild maltiness complemented by mild hop bitterness and slight hop aroma. Light, crisp body.
- Grain Belt Premium, ABV 4.6% Light to medium straw color. Light malt flavor and detectable sweetness. Unique Premium hop aroma and flavor with a low hop bitterness.
- Grain Belt Premium Light, ABV 3.9% Light straw color with a slight initial malt flavor. Clean, crisp and lightly hopped.
- Grain Belt Nordeast, ABV 4.7% Light maltiness and hop aroma with a mild bitterness. Smooth taste with excellent drinkability.
- Grain Belt Lock & Dam, ABV 5.0%, A crisp copper lager with a touch of citrus and a hint of hops.
- Firebrick, ABV 5%, A Vienna-style amber lager that has a reddish-amber hue, a mild maltiness with subtle sweetness and a light hoppy finish.
- Pils, ABV 5.6%, Rich malt body accented by a large hop/malt aroma and a refreshing hop tang.
- Dark, ABV 4.8%, Deep amber color with a light but classic maltiness.
- Fort Road Helles, ABV 5.1%, A Helles style lager with a light golden hue.
- Citra Blanc, ABV 6.7%, An American Pale Lager with a crisp, citrus flavor.
Extended Seasonal Brews
These beers are available longer than Schell's other seasonal beers. They are both available for roughly six months.
- Goosetown, ABV 4.7%, Schell's interpretation of a German-style gose spiced with coriander and salt.
- Schell Shocked, ABV 4.6%, This German-style Radler beer is Subtly sweet with a grapefruit twist.
Seasonal beers include:
- Bock, ABV 5.8%, Brewed with a harmonious blend of 10 different types of malt and noble hops, Schell’s Bock is fermented slowly, and then lagered for an extended period of time to ensure a smooth finish. This dark amber colored beer sports a robust malt character.
- Hefeweizen, ABV 4.4%, First brewed in 1984, Schell’s Hefeweizen is made with a blend of wheat malt and barley malts. We use an authentic wheat beer yeast culture, which gives the beer a fruity ale character dominated by a citrus-like tartness. Refreshingly light character with a higher than normal carbonation level. Straw-colored and cloudy from the unfiltered yeast left in suspension. Notes of banana and clove with a slight bready malt flavor.
- Grain Belt BLU, ABV 4.6%, A refreshing twist on a classic; Grain Belt Premium is brewed with a generation portion of blueberries to create a light, balanced, and sweet beer.
- Oktoberfest, ABV 5.5%, With its bright copper-orange color, it is quite symbolic of the autumnal shift of the season. A slightly higher strength, and warm malt body make it the perfect companion for the crisp fall weather in Minnesota. The use of Munich and Vienna malts give the beer its toasty malt backbone, and melanoidin-rich flavor and aroma. It has a soft malt sweetness, pleasant mouthfeel and a slight spiciness. Hop character is subdued, as the malt takes center stage with this beer.
- Snowstorm, ABV NA, Flavor changes yearly, see below for a list of past flavors.
- Schmaltz's Alt, ABV 5.1%, The rich, sweet malty flavor with hints of licorice is balanced by a chocolaty bitterness. Dark brown in color and topped by a thick, creamy tan head.
A collection of innovative and experimental, limited-edition brews released periodically throughout the year.
- Cave-Aged Barrel-Aged, ABV 10.89%, Cave-Aged Barrel-Aged lager, a Baltic Porter, is released each fall after spending time aging in the historic caves deep below the brewery. High in alcohol content with hints of sweet caramel, oak, and vanilla.
- 1879 Kulmbacher Export, Based on a recipe dated back in 1879 from upper Franconia, this dark, hoppy lager was a favorite that was often imitated by many breweries. As trends changed, the popularity of this style brew faded quickly and is unfamiliar to today’s beer drinkers. Bock-like in strength, it asserts its dark color and pronounced hop bitterness.
Minnesota State Fair Brews
Schell's brews these limited release beers for the Minnesota State Fair. Initially available only at the Fair itself, some kegs are made available to bars around Minnesota.
- Schell's Red Sangria, ABV 4.8%, Fruity, tangy, and refreshing.
Noble Star Collection
A collection of specialty beers, all Berlin-style wheat beers or Berliner Weisse, aged in rare cypress fermentation tanks Schell’s bought in 1936. Noble Stars are available in select liquor stores as well as Schell's Starkeller facility in New Ulm.
- Star of the North, ABV 3.5%, Extremely pale yellow in color with a slight haze and a large, creamy, snow-white foam head. This beer is rather light on the palate and very dry. A lively carbonation accentuates the refreshingly tart acidity. Expect an interesting mix of fruity flavors reminiscent of ripe lemons and apple juice with a touch of spice and a subtle brett character.
- Framboise Du Nord, ABV 3.7%, Neon red in color with a slight haze and a large creamy pink foam head. This beer is rather light on the palate and very dry. A lively carbonation accentuates the refreshingly tart acidity and a full raspberry flavor with a subtle hint of brett character.
- North Country Brünette, ABV 5.4%, The long, slow, secondary fermentation allowed the authentic Brettanomyces yeast culture to work on the residual sugars that remained in the beer, transforming it into a complex, almost spicy flavor profile. North Country Brünette is very tart and dry, with a fine, rounded acidic profile, and a malty, spiced fruity character. This beer is unfiltered, hand bottled, and bottled conditioned in 750ml cork and caged champagne bottles.
- Black Forest Cherry, ABV 5.1%, The maltiness of Black Forest Cherry provides a platform for the tart red cherries to shine through with a highly acidic and fruity character. It is very dry and highly carbonated, with a complex, rounded fruitiness.
- Dawn of Aurora, ABV 8.0%, Honey-orange in color with a white foam head. Predominantly fruity notes of pineapple, apricot and pear are accompanied by an intense yet refreshing acidity and sparkling carbonation.
- Starkeller Peach, ABV 7.2%, Bursting with tropical fruit aromas and tart peach flavor with a highly acidic and fruity character. Full-bodied, dry and highly carbonated, with a complex, rounded fruitiness.
- Apparent Horizon, ABV 5.1%, Moderate, balanced acidity with notes of lemon and cider. The rye lends a spicy dryness and aroma of sourdough and pumpernickel.
- Apricot Vista, ABV 4.9%, Bursts with the bold flavor of tart, juicy apricots. It has a moderate lemony acidity and slightly spicy malt backbone.
- Orbital Drift, ABV 3.9%, Orbital Drift is a unique brew with earthy aromatic notes and a deep amber hue.
- Harmony of Spheres, ABV 7.0%, A unique constellation of citrus flavors derived from gooseberries and lemondrop hops.
- Tidal Disruption, ABV 4.0%, Bright and highly carbonated, Tidal Disruption features the complex character of blackberries.
- Galactic Collision, ABV 5.6%, Golden color with a slight haze, Galactic Collision has notes of fresh pear and citrus.
- Electrik Empress, ABV 5.9%, Electrik Empress is aged on 6,600 pounds of plums resulting in its bright fruit taste and cotton candy pink color.
- Lunar Interference, ABV 7.0%, Black in color, Lunar Interference is a complex beer nicely complemented with notes of chocolate and coffee.
Snowstorm Seasonal Brew History
- 2017 - Rye Ale, ABV 6.1%, Reddish-brown ale with hints of spicy rye and bread crust, ideally suited for brisk Northern nights.
- 2016 - English Strong Ale, ABV 6.5%,
- 2015 - Wallonian-Style Brown Ale, ABV 6.2%, Draws inspiration from the artisanal and experimental traditions of the Wallonian brewers to create a malt-focused brown ale with hints of nut, biscuit and stone fruit.
- 2014 - Grand Cru, ABV 6.5%, Deep copper in color with an off white head. The aroma is a combination of fruity esters from the yeast complimented by the citrusy notes of coriander, orange, and lemon peel. This beer is deceptively lighter bodied, with a lively carbonation and subtle warmth from the moderate alcohol. Fruity notes from the yeast carry over into the flavor profile with hints of citrus and light chocolate and a lasting dry finish.
- 2013 - Strong Belgian Golden Ale
- 2012 - Bière de Noël, ABV 7.5%, A French style Christmas beer. Expect a light amber beer with red tints that is malt forward with noticeable yeast flavors of white pepper and citrus from an authentic French ale yeast. Slight herbal hop note in the background, with a spicy, citrusy, peppery aroma.
- 2011 - Wee Heavy Traditional Scotch Ale
- 2010 - Dunkel Doppel Weizenbock, ABV 7.0%, Brewed with Munich, Wheat, Xtra Special and Midnight Wheat Malt, this Dunkel Doppel Weizenbock has a rich, velvety malt body with notes of milk chocolate. Higher carbonation levels give this beer a full bodied mouth feel and a fluffy, creamy head with a banana and clove aroma.
- 2009 - Baltic Porter, ABV 5.8%, Few beers fit the season like a Baltic Porter does winter. The 2009 edition of Snowstorm was brewed with copious amounts of Munich malt coupled with three different British crystal malts, and British Chocolate. Snowstorm is dark mahogany in color with a tan head and displays flavors reminiscent of dark fruit, licorice, and chocolate.
- 2008 - Weihnachtsbier, ABV 6%, Reddish-brown in color with a complex maltiness yielding hints of spicy rye, sourdough and chocolate. Brewed with nine different malts, including copious amounts of Munich and a touch of Rye.
- 2007 - Belgian Dubbel
- 2006 - English Stout (Schell's Stout)
- 2005 - Düsseldorf Alt
- 2004 - Dark Cream Ale
- 2003 - Nut Brown Ale
- 2002 - Scotch Ale
- 2001 - Cherry Vanilla Porter
- 2000 - Braggot
- 1999 - Dunkleweizen
- 1998 - Vienna Lager (Schell's Firebrick)
- 1997 - Plum Black and Tan*
- 1996 - Cherry Alt*
- 1995 - Raspberry Amber Ale*
- 1992 - Doppel Alt (Schell's Schmaltz's Alt)**
*1995-1997 Beers were called Blizzard Ale
** 1992 Beer was called Xmas Brew
- One Five Five
- Emerald Rye
- Chimney Sweep
- German Pale Ale
- "August Schell Brewing Company: Since 1860". Schellsbrewery.com. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Alexander, Steve (9 Mar 2013). "Schell's plans expansion as Minnesota craft brewers grow". Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Fessler, Paul. "August Schell." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 2, edited by William J. Hausman. German Historical Institute. Last modified January 29, 2015.
- "August Schell Brewing Company: Since 1860". Schellsbrewery.com. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
- Schell's Brewery website
- BeerPal Reviews: Schell's Brewery
- Schell's Brewery: 150th Anniversary Celebration (1860–2010)