Beer Notes


For awhile now, I have wanted to keep a journal on my beer travels. Many places I visit or enjoy are not going to make it to their own page, but none the less, warrant some kind of mention on this site. So.....starting right now, let the beer notes begin!

February 9, 2013 Schell’s Brewery Bockfest

A bus load of “festers” took a day trip to the historic August Schell Brewery in New Ulm, Minnesota for their annual outdoor Bockfest. Lots of great beer and great times once again filled the 1860 brewery grounds. Can’t wait for next year!

October 19-27, 2012 Belgium

My wife Sandy and I spent a wonderful week in Belgium, enjoying the ancient cities and the wonderful beer! Our first stop, Bruges, never disappoints. Can’t beat the “Bear” and “DeGarre’s”! Our next stop was Watou. Watou is right on the french border and we stayed at the B&B that is associated with the great St Bernardus brewery. Can’t beat the free beer at the B&B! A side trip brought to the St. Sixus monestery and their nearly impossible to find Westvleteren beer! Our final stop was in Gent, which is becoming a major Belgium beer destination. What a great trip!

June 28-July 8, 2012 Ireland

Along with two good friends, Marlo and Leslie, Sandy and I made our first (and not our last) trip to Ireland! What a trip. We visited many great small towns and ended our trip with three wonderful days in Dublin. Highlights included a tour of the Smithwicks Brewery in Kilkenny; sharing a Beemish stout in the local Tap Tavern in Kinsale; sharing a Guinness at a small pub called the “Confession Box” in Dublin while being taught the rules of hurling; and checking off three 150 places off the list, all in Dublin: Bull & Castle; Porterhouse Pub; and the great view from the Gravity Bar at the Guinness St. James Gate Brewery. Beer sure created friends in Ireland. Come on, make your own beer adventure!

May 25-28, 2012 Seattle Washington

Sandy and I spent Memorial Day weekend in another great beer city - Seattle! We checked off another 150 place off the list including the Uber Tavern. Other places included a Rogue Tap Room (I could have spent all day there!) and two breweries: The Pike Brewing Company and Pyramid Brewing Company.

May 17, 2012 Schell’s Beer Dinner

While many beer dinners exist in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, beer dinners are few and far between in Rochester. So.....guess what? Sandy and I planned a beer dinner with 24 of our friends at the Kahler Hotel’s old time pub (now closed except for special events) called the Lord Essex Lounge. Well, by the title of the dinner above, you know that we selected August Schell Brewing Company as our featured brewery. But to make it extra special, 5th generation owners Ted and Jodi Marti were our special guests! What an evening! While the food was fabulous, the highlight was the specially hopped firkin of Zommerfest that Ted personally tapped!

April 27-29, 2012 New Orleans

My brother Scotty and I made the trip south (my first time) to see Springsteen at the New Orleans Jazz Fest. But while there, we visited some great beer places, including one from the 150 list on the outskirts of town called “Cooter Browns”. Great beer and great times!

December 1 - 8, 2011 Belgium and Germany

Well, Sandy I apparently can’t get enough of Cologne as we ventured to this great beer City two years in a row. Highlights included the wonderful kolsch beers of Cologne, including three new ones from our last trip: Muhlen; Sunner (available on tap in the U.S.) and Schreckenskammer. Another long day in Brussels saw us visiting our usual haunts. Guess what? We’ll be back!

September 2-10, 2011 Munchen (Munich) Germany

My brother Scotty and our friend Dave Schmidt spent a wonderful week in the beer mecca. This was their first trip to Munich and we enjoyed a full week of beergartens and beer halls. What a week! The “Beer Drinkers Guide to Munich” was used often!

April 27-29, 2011 Asheville, North Carolina

When you think of “Beer City USA”, one would think of Portland or even Philadelphia. Wrong! For both 2009 and 2010, Asheville was voted “Beer City USA”. My wife Sandy and explored the city for two days and enjoyed places such as The Thirsty Monk (on the 150 list found on this website); Jack of the Wood Pub; Asheville Brewing Company; The Mellow Mushroom and others. Great trip and great beer!

December 4 - 9, 2010 Belgium and Germany

Can’t get enough of good beer. My wife Sandy and I ventured to Antwerp Belgium, and Cologne and Dusseldorf Germany to visit the Christmas Markets and drink some wonderful beer! Highlights included a stop at the world famous Kulminator in Antwerp and stops and some wonderful Kolsch breweries in Cologne and Alt breweries in Dusseldorf. Make your beer adventure because....”beer creates friends!”

October 13, 2010 August Schell Beer Dinner

On a wonderful Wednesday evening, Sandy and I drove up to White Bear Lake Minnesota and enjoyed a beer dinner hosted by Ted Marti and his lovely wife Jodi. Four courses of wonderful food prepared by the chef at The Manitou, paired with a different Schell’s beer with each course. Yum. We started the night with Schell’s Stag series release #2, their excellent Wild Rice Farmhouse Ale. Yes! Next time a beer dinner pops up near you (or even if it’s not near you), check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

October 2, 2010 Autumn Brew Review

Another great day on the grounds of the fabled Grain Belt Brewery in Northeast Minneapolis. Over 75 breweries were on hand for this awesome beer tasting event. Coconut Mango Stout anyone? You bet!

9/17 and 9/18/10 August Schell Brewing Company’s 150th Anniversary

Sandy and I, along with Sandy’s cousins, enjoyed a great weekend in New Ulm, Minnesota celebrating August Schell’s 150th anniversary. Both Friday and Saturday night featured local bands and fun was had by all. During the day on Saturday, special tours of the brewery were conducted, along with German music on the grounds. Let’s hope that they are around another 150 years!

4/28/10 to 5/8/10 Germany and the Czech Republic

Sandy and I took four other couples to Rothenburg, Munich and Prague in late April and May. A first trip for most, we enjoyed the culture of both countries and experienced some great beer and beer adventures including: Munich’s Fruhlingfest, their little brother to Oktoberfest; the Hofbrauhaus and some great Maibock; Ayinger pub for some tasty Celebrator Bock; the “Tiger” in Prague for some great unpasteurized Pilsner Urquell; and finally U Fleku  - Prague’s most famous beer hall and home to their awesome Black Lager.

4/7/10 - Release Party of Grain Belt Nordeast

August Schell Brewing Company released a new Grain Belt beer today called Nordeast. The name comes for the Minneapolis neighborhood where the original Grain Belt Brewery stands. Man, what a release! My wife, bless her heart, took the day off and purchased the first Nordeast anywhere in the friendly Nordeast bar called Tony Jaros’. I, on the other hand, headed up with friends after work and attended the release party at two classic Nordeast bars - Grumpy’s and Elsie’s. (note: this beer took off so well, Schell’s couldn’t make it fast enough and had to stop selling it except for the New Ulm and the Nordeast area until the fall of 2010)

2/13/10 - Schell’s Bockfest

Another great Bockfest at the Schell Brewery grounds! See my Bockfest page for great pics.

1/2/10 - Schell’s Brewmaster Dinner

To kick off Schell’s Brewing Company’s 150th anniversary year, Sandy and I travelled to New Ulm, Minnesota and experienced a great five course dinner hosted by Ted Marti, President of Schell’s. All courses were paired with the appropriate Schell’s beer. We also experienced the tapping of the first keg of their anniversary brew - “Hopfenmalz”. The brewery will have all sorts of events in 2010 and this beer nerd can’t wait!

10/22 to 10/31/09 - Belgium and Amsterdam

A long awaited trip for my wife and I. We stayed four nights in Brugges, the “Venice of the North” and four nights in Amsterdam. Highlights included a day trip to Antwerp, clicking off 5 places on the list of 125 places to have a beer before you die, and a visit to some new great beer bars in Amsterdam. As my web page from Brugges points out, the “bear” is the still one of the greatest places to drink beer in the world. We met many new friends on our trip over some great beers. Pass up that new purchase of something that won’t last. Spend your money on a trip - they last a lifetime. Beer creates friends!

9/23 to 9/25/09 - Las Vegas Baby!

To celebrate my 50th, my wife Sandy and I spent my birthday in Vegas. The real reason was to see Cheap Trick, but we did visit some beer bars while I was there. Our first stop was Pour 24 in the NY NY casino. Both Sandy and I had a 4 taster and our beers included Deschutes Black Butte Porter and Rogue Shakespeare Stout. Yum! Our next stop was the Burger Bar in the Mandalay Bay casino. Rated as one of the top beer bars in Vegas, I had a nice Franziskaner Dunkel Weisse with my burger.

9/19/09 - My 50th Birthday Party

I turned 50 on September 23rd, but on this Saturday I enjoyed good friends and good beer! I tried to keep the beer I had at this event local, so for my light beer I chose Grain Belt Premium Light brewed by August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm. For my regular beer we enjoyed Leinenkugel’s Octoberfest. Good beer and good times!

9/12/09 - Autumn Brew Fest

Every year, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild holds their annual fundraiser. And what a fundraiser it is! What a great beer tasting event! Held on the grounds of the old Grain Belt Brewery in “Nordeast” Minneapolis, the beers were tasty and the weather was perfect. This was my first experience at the ABF, but it won’t be the last. Check out the Craft Brewers Guild at