Schell's new Starkeller sour brewery is opening next week

Starkeller is across town from Schell's.

August Schell's long-awaited expansion of its sour beer program will open to the public next week in New Ulm.

This new endeavor – which was first announced way back in 2014 – is called Starkeller Brewing Company. It was formed around Schell's brewmaster Jace Marti's Noble Star series of Berliner Weiss sour beers.

And now these beers have their own taproom and brewing facility across town from the Schell's brewery. There will be a soft opening for Starkeller Brewery (a wholly owned subsidiary of Schell's) on March 3 and 4, from 4-8 p.m., Schell's announced on Facebook Thursday.

Tours will also be available to buy – they come with a flight of five samples at the end.

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine got a sneak peek inside the new Starkeller Brewery last year, writing it highlights Minnesota's brewing history by using the remains of an 1885 Schell's copper kettle and the brewery's old wooden tanks, among other things. The brewery has 10 pre-Prohibition tanks that line the taproom, which will allow Starkeller to make sour beers in "greater numbers than we've seen," the magazine noted. also got an early tour of the new brewery, and you can read more about it here.

Oh, and if you plan on heading to New Ulm to check out Starkeller next weekend, keep in mind it's also the 31st annual Schell's Bock Fest on March 4. Tickets to the event are $10.

Growth of sour beers

Sour and wild beers are growing in popularity, and a handful of Minnesota breweries will continue to explore brewing them this year.

The style offers a new array of flavors to beer drinkers, and also another entry point for people who are into craft beer but don’t like the dark, hoppy stuff, Tom Whisenand, the president of the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild and the co-founder of Indeed Brewing, told GoMN in December.

Sours are not cheap or easy to make. But that hasn’t stopped local brewers from talking about them, Whisenand says. Indeed and Insight Brewingare among the breweries expanding their sour programs this year.

For more on sour beers in Minnesota, check out this Growler article from last summer.

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