Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews


August Schell Brewing
New Ulm, MN

Style: Kölsch

Jill’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Not good.)

Baby-boy and I were in Minnesota the other weekend, helping some friends of ours move stuff into parental storage before they moved overseas for a year. Of course, since we were in Minnesota, that meant hitting a few liquor stores to stock up on some beer that hasn’t made its way to Chicago.

At the first stop, I saw a wall of many varieties of August Schell beer, and I didn’t quite know what to do. Should I get some of everything? What if it’s not all that good? Luckily, Schell also came in a nice variety pack, so that saved me.

That evening we were drinking with friends, some of them who live in Minnesota, and one opened the fridge, saw the six bottles of Schell, and said, “Ew, you got a lot of Schell.” That did not bode well, and I was immediately glad I’d only procured one six-pack.

My first Schell experience was with the Zommerfest, a Kolsch-style honey ale. And yeah, I’d have to agree with the Minnesotan: ewwww. It poured decently and was a nice golden, blah, blah, blah, but the taste …that honey added massive amounts of unpleasant bitterness that did nothing for this beer. I realize adding honey to an ale doesn’t actually add sweetness. I also know that there are a lot of people (Eddie Glick, for one) who like bitter beer. But “good” bitterness in beer should come from hops, and even I, who doesn’t really like very hoppy beer, can appreciate a nice hop complexity.

Bitterness from honey is not good. This left such a bad taste in my mouth that I could hardly believe it was a beer that claimed to celebrate summer. Maybe it was celebrating one of those obnoxiously hot, humid, gray, and rainy summer days, but that’s not really my idea of summer. This beer isn’t my idea of summer either.

Reviewed by Jill Jaracz on July 6, 2007.
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