Skip to main content

Photos: A look inside The Starkeller – Schell's sour beer brewery

The Starkeller is like a rural speakeasy.

The Starkeller – August Schell's brewery for its sour beer program – is filled with history. 

The brewery opened in New Ulm, across town from the historic Schell's brewery, back in March. It was formed around Schell's brewmaster Jace Marti's Noble Star series of Berliner Weiss sour beers.

Here's a look inside: 

And you can thank some old, wooden tanks for the delicious Noble Star beers.

Schell's commissioned the 10 cypress tanks back in 1936 and used them for nearly 60 years before putting them in storage, with the thought they'd never be used again.

"They were obsolete pieces of brewing equipment. It was old technology, but for whatever reason we kept them," Marti told GoMN. He noted that other breweries at the time cut up the wooden tanks and sold them as firewood, or people cut them in half and used them as hot tubs.

Ahead of the Schell's 150th anniversary in 2010, the brewery thought it'd be fun to make a beer using the tanks. They were in pretty rough shape though, and they couldn't get them repaired in time.

So they rethought things a bit and decided the tanks would be great to make sour beers in, Marti explained. They restored one of the tanks and started Noble Star series, and after seeing some success they began restoring the rest and decided to open The Starkeller.

The big thing with sour beers is they use a different process – including wild yeasts – that can contaminate regular beers, so it was important for Schell's to have two separate production areas for its sour beers and lagers, Marti said.

Sour beers have become less rare among Minnesota craft breweries recently, even though they're not cheap or easy to make.

Next Up

St. Louis County

St. Louis County set to declare state of emergency ahead of peak flood levels

Volunteers are urgently needed for sandbagging efforts in a small community near Voyageurs National Park.

Screen Shot 2022-05-16 at 5.03.30 PM

Brothers Bar & Grill closes in downtown Minneapolis

The Midwest chain closed its St. Cloud location in 2018.

Ken Jeong

Licensed physician Ken Jeong to do standup in MN this September

The licensed physician will take the stage at Treasure Island Resort and Casino on Sept. 30.

Osseo Police Department

Osseo PD says officer did not pursue suspect who caused fatal crash

The crash happened in Brooklyn Park early Sunday morning.

221 Main Street. E. Albert Lea

Suspect arrested after 3 family members stabbed in Albert Lea

The three victims are related, according to police.


Evidence that omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5 are in Minnesota

The European CDC has warned of a possible significant summer surge fueled by the omicron subvariants.

driving unsplash - crop

Hastings man charged for driving drunk with 2-year-old in vehicle

Matthew Quade's BAC was almost five times over the legal limit when police pulled him over last week.

police lights

Arrest made after person shot at Hopkins apartment building

Police say this was an isolated incident and that the victim and suspect knew each other.


BA.2.12.1 omicron subvariant quickly becoming dominant in MN

Experts say the subvariant is more transmissible but there is not evidence to suggest it causes more severe disease.


Indeed Brewing teamed up with a winery to make a sour beer-wine hybrid

It's a beer. It's a wine. And you won't find it many places.

schell's 3

Schell's is opening new taproom with patio this weekend

The newly competed taproom is in addition to the brewery's popular biergarten.

Meet Lucy, Indeed's first canned sour beer

It's a kettle-soured ale, different from their Wooden Soul series.

The new Shakopee Brewhall hopes to bring people together over beer

The brewery is celebrating its grand opening this weekend.