Halfway between Rochester and our current location in Brookings, SD lies the quaint small town of New Ulm, Minnesota. Founded by a group of German immigrants in 1854, it has retained the German influence through the years. And as the home of the second oldest family owned microbrewery in the United States, Doug's answer was a quick "yes" when I asked, "Schell we explore it?"
Flandrau State Park, located right in New Ulm, was our home for the four days. We enjoyed a walk by the pool and the majestic stone beach house built in the 1930's by the WPA work crews. Unfortunately, the sand-bottom swimming pond had just closed for the season.
The park was very quiet during the week, but Friday night filled up with many people coming for one of the same reasons we came ...
the Schell Brewing Company!!
A 45 minute hike on the Old Dam Trail along the banks of the Cottonwood River lead us to the Schell Brewery.
Founded in 1860 by August Schell, it survived the Dakota War of 1862, tough Minnesota winters, and fourteen years of Prohibition to become one of the oldest family owned breweries in the US.
We signed up for the tour ... I'm always happy to get a little history with my beer! Dave, our guide, proudly filled us in on this successful company that is still being managed by a fifth generation descendant of August and Theresa Schell.
Because we toured early on a Thursday afternoon, we were able to see the impressive beer production in progress.
With the aid of modern machinery, 365 bottles a minute are filled, capped, cleaned and packaged for distribution around the midwest. Through the years they have expanded the types of craft beer that they brew, but the "basics" like the Schell's Light that was being bottled at that moment remain their best sellers.
We enjoyed a walk through the gardens and past the former family home as our guide filled us in on stories of days gone by. All very interesting, but now it was time to see why Schell's has prospered for so long ...
Taste Test Time!
Oh, what to choose, what to choose??
Oh, what to choose, what to choose??
After small samples of six different style beers, we both found our favorite ... "Schell Shock", a grapefruit beer, for me and the perennial favorite "Oktoberfest" for Doug. And more importantly, we found a fun RVenture activity that combined my love of history with Doug's love of microbreweries.
But I suspected that there were a few more fun places to find in this quaint German town ... "Schell" we explore some more? Yes, we "Schell" ... so we got on our bikes and discovered ...
... Herman the German monument park that was a short but steep ride up the hill from our campground. The statue celebrates the German heritage that helped create New Ulm.
A climb up the 100 stairs to the top gave us a spectacular view of the city and the Minnesota river valley below.
After that it was an easy downhill ride to the historic downtown district to enjoy the 3 pm musical performance of the Glockenspiel Clock.
The dancing figures represent the groups of people that have influenced the development of the community including the Native American Indian, farmers, brick makers and of course, beer brewers!
Much to our delight, Pokemon stops were intermingled amongst the historic downtown buildings! This meant that Doug was very agreeable to walking along with me as we admired ...
... a beautiful main street that still maintains the 19th century storefronts and historic homes including one of the first German settlers in 1854.
... beautiful city fountains and gardens,
... and historical markers like the German-Bohemian Immigrant monument. Yes, we got to explore it all because you never know where those tricky Pokemon are hiding out!
Until next time ... Yes, we "Schell" continue to explore, hope you can too ... and enjoy the adventures in our lives!