August Schell Brewing Company - Lake Escape
- ABV: 4.5%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 22
- Serving Temperature: 40-45º F
- Suggested Glassware: Stange, Pilsner Glass, Flute
- Malts: 2-Row Pale, Barke Pilsner, Red Wheat, Munich
- Hops: Sterling, Hallertau Blanc, Smaragd
Though a German style, Kölsch is not a lager like so many other styles from that nation, but rather a top-fermenting ale style which then undergoes cold conditioning like a lager. It’s a classic style hailing from Köln (Cologne), and it’s one of our go-to brews during spring and summer due to its refreshing character. Schell’s Lake Escape certainly looks the part, pouring a true-to-style light golden hue with superb clarity, topped by a fluffy white cap of foam. On the nose, it’s all about the hops which offer plenty of complex subtleties. Look for a spicy, herbal component with some light hay and grassiness. A floral aspect appears as well, along with light fruitiness summoning impressions of white grape juice and mild citrus zest. On the palate, the malts come through clean and crisp, with some crackery notes and a little dash of tangy wheat. Those hops offer a quenching bitterness that works nicely with the spicy and zesty notes to keep this brew refreshingly dry into the finish, which lingers with a spicy, lightly woodsy tone. For pairing options, risotto or polenta should make a fine pairing, along with light fish dishes, salads, jack cheese quesadillas, or a snack of sliced Comté or Gruyère cheese. Cheers!
August Schell was born in Germany’s Black Forest region in 1828. After studying to be a machinist, he immigrated to the U.S. in 1848—traveling to New Orleans by a steamer ship before stopping in Cincinnati. In 1856, he and his young family joined a group which traveled west, ultimately founding New Ulm in 1857. In 1860, August partnered up with Jacob Bernhardt, who had served as brewmaster at Benzberg Brewery (later to become Minnesota Brewing Company…), and the two built a small brewery nearby right along the Cottonwood River, producing about 200 barrels of beer annually. The new brewery grew steadily over the years, and the Schells would build a mansion on the brewery grounds in 1885, complete with elaborate gardens and a deer park—all currently still around and listed in the National Register of Historic Sites. After August passed away in 1891, his son Otto led the brewery forward.
Over the years, the brewery expanded, survived Prohibition, endured a glut of new breweries in the 1970s and financial struggles in their myriad forms—but they remained aloft and were the first brewery in Minnesota to produce craft beers in the 1980s, with German-style craft lagers and a wheat beer. By 1990 there were 38 different beers being produced by the brewery. A new state-of-the-art brewhouse was added in 1999, the classic Grain Belt brand was purchased and kept alive in 2002 (after Minnesota Brewing Co. went bankrupt), and a new gift shop and taproom were added in 2005. All throughout the years, the brewery continued to adapt to the changing beer scene.
Previously, we’ve had the pleasure of featuring releases from August Schell’s Noble Star Collection in our Rare Beer Club, including a dry-hopped Berliner Weisse called Basin of Attraction, as well as the Flanders-red-inspired Solar Evolution. This month, we’re happy to bring their tasty beers to the rest of our club members. For those looking for a bit more history, learn more about this 150+-year-old brewery at www.schellsbrewery.com.
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