Starkeller tap room opens for Bock Fest
NEW ULM — After two years of hard work, the August Schell Brewing Company is opening its new Starkeller tap room on North Garden Street for Bock Fest.
The new tap room will be open from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday this week. The new tap room will only serve sour beers from the Starkeller line.
“It’s a major trend in the industry,” Schell’s brewmaster Jace Marti said. “Every craft beer maker has a sour beer.”
At this time, only five of Schell’s eight sour beers are available at the tap room, but all will eventually be served, making the Starkeller tap room unique.
Marti said the next closest sour beer tap room is in Colorado.
The sour beer is brewed in special barrels constructed in the 1930’s, right after the end of Prohibition. The barrels flank each side of the tap house. The interior of the building was constructed to match the barrels in style. An old barn located on the site was repurposed, adding artifacts from the main brewery to create a rustic look. The effect is a classic Prohibition-era speakeasy.
Marti said the speakeasy theme is matched by the building’s non-descript exterior. From the road, the building at 2215 N. Garden looks like a large pull shed painted white and blue.
Friday and Saturday are intended as a soft opening for the tap room, for Schell’s to gauge popularity.
“We know a lot of people are in town for Bock Fest, but we’ve never opened this place up before, so we don’t know,” Marti said.
After this weekend, Schell’s will decide how often to keep the tap room open.
Unlike regular Schell’s beer, it could take up to two months to brew the sour beer. Based on popularity, the brewery will need to adjust the tap room hours to make the beer last.