This past week I was down in New Ulm, MN for Bock Fest at the Schell’s Brewing Company in New Ulm, MN. The temperature fluctuated from 2-5 degrees with winds of around 15 mph. BeeerAdvocate states that “Bock beer in general is stronger than your typical lager, more of a robust malt character with a dark amber to brown hue” and “Basically, this beer was a symbol of better times to come and moving away from winter”. We were in line for the fest by 10 AM and it lasted until 4 PM.
I attended with Steve, Bob, Leatha, and Erica. In the background there is the Beer Fairy who sticks a heated firebrand in your bock and carmalizes the sugar in it, making it double tasty (he had his beard braided into four braids and he said it took him only 15 min to do this, which I thought was pretty good). I once got the same mug double carmalized as it was even better (I drank from a 32 ounce (1 L) Bubba mug, which I saw many, many people using to keep their beer from freezing. My mug is standing on that stump in the above pictures with a Fargo Brewing Company sticker on it.
The plentiful bucolic grounds were open for a medallion hunt. I walked a mile or two into the woods alone right as the festival was opening so it was still quiet and peaceful out there, with only the wind and the sound of your own breathing for company. I didn’t find a medallion but I did see three deer frolicking together, unaware of me, which was even better.
The grounds are big and beautiful-the festival was basically spread out in three main layers along the sloping river bluff Schell’s is parked on. I had a hard time imagining a more beautifully placed brewery. I grew up near New Ulm and had been to the city before but I’d never seen the brewery. The extreme cold added a certain survivalist jaunty air to the proceedings and as I listened to the crowd around me I noticed a similar very south central MN sense of humor that my own sense of humor is deeply rooted in-I might be a St. Paul city boy now but I felt a sense of homecoming that I’ve never really felt any of the handful of times I’ve visited my hometown since graduating high school. On the drunk bus back to Mankato, where I was staying that night with my peeps, we stopped at a bar in Nicolett and as I reentered a building with actual heat in it I felt like I’d returned from a Jack London novel to a strange world of line dancing.
By my own estimates I drank roughly 140 ounces of Bock beer over the course of the long, glorious day.