Fest and Fasching
August Schell Brewing Co. and New Ulm, MN
in February" sounds like an accident
involving ligaments torn in a winter storm.
in fact, Fasching is a crack-up of another kind, a big costumed carnival,
the German version of Mardi Gras, and one last loop-dee-do before
where in the world is loopiness more evident than in New Ulm, Minnesota.
About 90 miles southwest of Minneapolis, New Ulm is a town built according
to the orderly plans of its first German settlers, and funded by the
richness of farmlands.
mansions, lined with carved woodwork dating from the 19th century,
overlook the Minnesota River which borders New Ulm. Some Victorian
manses are B&Bs, such as the elegant Deutsche Strasse. Owners
Gary and Ramona Sonnenberg are truly hospitable hosts - from lending
me a pair of mittens when I lost mine, to making me muffins for a
6AM departure - so kind.
New Ulm has lots of festivals, plus access to Flandrau State Park,
for cross-country skiing or hiking. Browse through the little shopping
mall of antique stores and boutiques, anchored by a classic Glockenspiel.
it is the brewery of August Schell, built upon a ledge abutting a
forest in 1860,
that most evokes the 19th century's affluence. Dark red brick decks
out the brewery, which includes a German country home, situated in
a forested deer park. The original brewery was expanded for the large
modern bottling line. A brick carriage house was turned into a cozy
museum featuring Schell's century-plus of memorabilia. The gift house
is a former residence, a lovely brick cottage with a small front porch.
the Schell brewery grounds accommodate about 3,000 beer-lovers for
the annual Bock Fest.
are serious beer-lovers - the antler-clad young man pictured above
had managed to down about 11 glasses of the special Fest bock beer
(limited to ABV 4% for public permit) by the time I got to the fest
grounds at 3 pm.
Later that day, his headress antlers
dangled buns and brats, edibles that no one dared touch, let alone
brats are made with ground pork and spices marinated in Schell's beer,
stuffed into casings, and then grilled over a charcoal fire.
the festive rituals of Bock Fest is the poking of the beer with a
red-hot iron, laid among fiery logs logs until glowing hot.
beer is caramelized by a plunge with a hot iron poker,
and can be a warming, even restorative beverage as the snow begins
to swirl around you
bonfires stay stoked to keep the chill away....
Bock Fest 2003 will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2003. Zicke Zacke!
the bock fest ends at 4:30, the Fasching
party continues at the local taverns.
Narren dancers in costume visit the taverns and dance for the crowds.The
Narren masks were imported from Steinhilben, Germany (Learn more about
them at www.heritagefest.net)
at right, one dancer hops to live polka music at the Schnitzelbank
Stube. The stube boasts an ornate mahogany bar, with carved feral
faces, backlit by tiny lamps to create the illusion of staring eyes.
excellent German food at several restaurants downtown. Weary fest-goers
find sustenance in gigantic platters of ribs at the Veigel's Kaiserhoff.
You can get a full selection of Schell's at the bar, including the
doppelbock on tap - a luscious brandy-like beer that is much smoother
Schell not only brews their own wonderful lagers, but also contract
brews lager specialties such as the Burnham Pilsner, for the Three
Floyds Brewery in Indiana.
a mode of survival that should bring Schell well into its second century
information, visit www.schellsbrewery.com, www.newulm.com for general
information, or the B&B at www.newulmtel.net/~glsonnen/deutsche.html.