In Search of the Perfect Pint: Exploring the Germanfest MN Brews


Under the old Schmidt Brewery buildings along the Mississippi River, polka music and the smell of sauerkraut carry on the breeze.  The sound of hammerschlagen, a game popular in Minnesota where the goal is to drive a nail into a piece of wood with one hammer strike, echoes through the crowd. Dachshund owners proudly wear their “I love Wieners” t-shirts in anticipation of the wiener dog races.  But this is a German heritage festival and that means one thing to me. Beer! Although the choices were fairly limited, I was able to try a couple beers I rather enjoyed. Here they are:

Schell's Zommerfest-Kolsch, August Schell Brewing Company

The first beer of the day is the perfect starter. Light, crisp and a little bitter, this beer is a solid choice for a warm summer day. There is a light, grassy hop flavor as well as a touch of citrus to help brighten an otherwise mild beer. Slight toasty malt flavor comes through but not strongly enough.  Surprisingly, this beer finishes very bitter and it tends to linger in the mouth. Overall, the Zommerfest is a good but not great beer. It is very typical of a German style Kolsch so if you like that style this is a good option. For me, one was enough.

Salvator Doppel Bock-Doppelbock, Paulaner Brauerei

When I think of underrated beers, I think of Dopplebocks. One of my favorite styles, it seems to fly under the radar with many beer drinkers as they defer to the almighty IPAs. This selection by Paulaner is a perfect example of why I love this style. The color is dark brown with a reddish hue and it forms a thick, creamy ivory colored head. It smells toasty with a hint of coffee and chocolate. It tastes of roasted malt and had almost no hop flavor at all. Toffee and caramel flavor come forward with a slight sweetness as the beer opens up. The finish of this style is what really keeps me coming back and this one is no different. Crisp and refreshing but still retaining the sweet, roasted malt flavor after every sip. Paulaner has reminded me once again why I really enjoy this style and has me looking ahead to our trip to Oktoberfest this fall.

Schell's Goosetown-Gose, August Schell Brewing Company

The Goosetown ended up as my favorite beer of the day. This beer poured a beautiful orange-amber color with a medium head and a light wheat aroma. As is typical of a Gose, it tastes of toasty malt, coriander and salt with just a touch of wheat and citrus. This beer has nice flavor without being too bitter or heavy but with more than enough body to satisfy. It’s light enough to drink on a warm day but substantial enough for the cooler months and is a great “anytime” beer. While I have had a Gose before, I don’t remember liking this style as much as I do. It is definitely going to be something I seek out in the near future and I suggest you do the same.