goosetown

Of all the brewers who’ve gotten dicked over by that Craft vs. Crafty nonsense, none have been more unfairly criticized than Schell.

Founded in 1860 in New Ulm, Minnesota, August Schell Brewing is right up there with Yuengling when it comes to definitive, classic American breweries. Only unlike Yuengling, Schell’s beers are good. They brew a ton of different styles, all of which that range from solid to excellent. And—best of all—if you’re buying them in Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Iowa, their sixers are 1-3 bucks cheaper than those of other craft brewers.

They also make Grain Belt, an old school American adjunct that’s on tap in approximately 104% of Minnesota bars and tastes pleasantly of baby aspirin. But, see, I said “adjunct” in that last sentence, and according to the cool dudes who seek to separate “real” craft brewers from their plasticine counterparts, that’s enough to make Schell illegitimate, craftwise.

Schell’s underavaluation among beer geeks is due to two factors: their ubiquity, and their pricing. Call it Lagunitas Syndrome: if they were more expensive and harder to find, they’d be considered more legitimate.

As for the enunciated arguments of the Craft vs. Crafty people, they need to come up with a better methodology. Thing is, they can’t. The real “crafty” beers are the shitty imitations shit out by the shitfucks at Inbev or Miller-Molson Coors, crap like Michelob, Blue Moon, and Third Shift. But the beer scene has a lot of trouble reconciling its vaguely leftist and anti-authoritarian ethos with its wanton capitalist fuckwittery, and so they can’t make a direct appeal to simply supporting smaller breweries. Then again, they shouldn’t. Michelob and Blue Moon may not be great, but they’re way, way better than the insecticide-flavored concoctions of Minhas and Cold Springs. Hell, I’d take a Blue Moon over the hefes offered by most hole in the wall brewpubs.

Anyhow, Schell is legit. If you doubt that, check out their Goosetown. It’s a gose. You ever had a gose? Probably not, because no one makes them, because they are obscure and hard to brew.

The beer is a lightly hopped, adjunct-free barely and wheat lager brewed with coriander an just a hint of salt. It’s lightly sour, lightly salty meant to evoke an ocean breeze. That’s nice.

I’ve only had one other gose, so I can’t really say how good this is for the style. It’s damned enjoyable, though. Normally I think “refreshing” is a rather lazy adjective to use in describing a beer, like when female houseguests mindlessly refer to my bedroom as “Kafkaesque,” even though my furnishings evoke none of the subtle humor of Kafka’s work. This beer, however, is refreshing as hell. Because it’s like sitting next to the goddamn ocean.

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