Home > Schell's Bock Fest at August Schell Brewery in New Ulm, MN
Schell's Bock Fest at August Schell Brewery in New Ulm, MN
Schell's Bock Fest at August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, MN
The August Schell
Brewing, the second-oldest family-owned brewery in the country, brewer of
Schell’s and Grain Belt, is hosting its much anticipated Bock Fest, taking
place this Saturday, February 9th. Bock Fest is held every year in
conjunction with the German Fasching festival.
Fasching, a pre-Lenten celebration, is observed in the predominantly catholic
regions of German-speaking countries. New Ulm, which was settled by a heavy
German populous before Minnesota was a state, has celebrated Fasching since
February 28th, 1987 marked the first Bock Fest held at Schell’s. 120 family and
friends of the brewery made their way onto the brewery grounds, finding refuge
in the warmth of the old tap room. Inside the bottlehouse, a small stage located
next to the drop packer hosted Smiley Wilcheck and his mother as they serenaded
the crowd with polka music. Festers were welcome to cook their own brat at the
grill and a roaster filled with sauerkraut provided the small group of people
nourishment as they drank Bock beer to celebrate the end of winter. A hefty 7- ½
barrels were consumed at the first Bock Fest.
Schell’s brewery has since grown larger and so has the festival. Swarms of
adoring fans of the brewery make the annual pilgrimage to Schell’s to brave the
winter weather. The festival has since moved outdoors as the sizeable crowd now
reaches 6,000 people. But while the size of the crowd has changed, some things
Bock beer is still the staple of the festival. Smiley Wilcheck, now with the
Bockfest Boys, still plays the accordion for the crowd with their lively tunes.
Approximately 1,000 pounds of brats (made with Schell’s Beer), and 80 gallons of
kraut are dished out to hungry festers as they sing and dance the day away.
The Great Bock Hunt takes place that day in neighboring Flandrau State Park.
Schell’s president and “Huntmaster” Ted Marti writes ridiculous clues for
hunters to find the wooden cutouts of bock heads hidden throughout the park.
Hunters that find themselves low on beer can rely on the brewery’s own set of
“saint bernards” to save those ailing from an empty glass.
As the Bocks are found, each is posted on stage. Legend as it if all Seven Bocks
of Winter are captured, it brings on an early spring. As the fest closes, one
last “Ring of Fire” –the Bock Fest anthem- is played and festers are invited to
visit downtown New Ulm to continue their revelry.
August Schell Brewing Company:
August Schell Brewing Company, located in New Ulm, MN, sits atop the same site
it was built on in 1860. With its sprawling grounds, beautiful gardens, Schell
Mansion, and deer park, the brewery is a tourist destination for any beer lover.
Schell’s boasts a proud heritage of 153 years of continuous family ownership and
specializes in craft beers. In addition to the line of specialty beers, Schell’s
also produces Grain Belt Premium, Grain Belt Premium Light and Grain Belt
Nordeast. For more information on Schell’s Brewery, tour schedules or any of
their 17 quality beers, go to www.schellsbrewery.com.