NEW ULM - The Schell's Brewery unveiled its latest variety of beer Tuesday. "Chimney Sweep" is a dark, German-style lager with a smoky, chocolaty flavor inspired by the beers of Upper Franconia in Germany.
Schell's brewmaster Jace Marti said the idea for the beer came from his experience last year when he studied brewing in Berlin and spent a couple of months in the Upper Franconia.
Each little town in the area had its own brewery, and they featured three main styles of beer - a "Rauch," or smoked lager, a Dunkel (dark) lager and a Schwartz (black) lager.
Staff photo by Kevin Sweeney
Jace Marti, brewmaster at the Schell’s Brewery in New Ulm, holds a glass of Chimney Sweep beer, a new dark lager produced by the brewery.
"Chimney Sweep is a combination of the three styles," said Marti at a premier party for the beer at the Schell's brewery.
The beer (available in stores today) is a six-month seasonal that will be available from October to March. It is a deep mahogany to black in color, with a creamy head.
Marti combined six different styles of German malts, and two American hops to give it rich, maltiness with notes of dark chocolate and coffee. The malt is roasted over an open fire to give it a smoky flavor, he said.
At the premier party, Chimney Sweep and three other Schell's varieties were paired with foods prepared by Topher Jacobson, who with his wife Mary owns the restaurant Artisans at the Grand.
Jacobson, who grew up in New Ulm, said his great joy in moving back to New Ulm after owning restaurants elsewhere was "to be able to work with Schell's on developing menus."
The challenge, said Jacobson, is finding ways to incorporate the beer into the food he prepares.
"Anybody can pair beer with food. The trick is to use it in the recipe," said Jacobson. Applying heat to beer often changes the flavor, makes the hops more bitter, for example. "You can reduce wine, and it's great," said Jacobson. "Not so with beer."
Jacobson combined Snowstorm, a French Christmas style beer this year, with a curry chicken salad that complemented the citrusy flavors of the beer. Emerald Rye was combined with soy to make a sauce for a beef brisket. Firebrick was combined with mustard and sugar to make a pulled pork. Chimney Sweep, with its chocolate and coffee overtones, was used to make tiramisu, a coffee-flavored Italian dessert.