Saturday, May 16, 2015

August Schell Dawn of Aurora

This is an 8.0% ABV Starkbier Berlin style wheat ale from the August Schell Brewing Company of New Ulm, Minnesota.  Schell's was established in 1860 and I believe they are the second oldest family owned brewery in the United States, behind Yuengeling. A "starkbier" is the German term for a "strong" beer, and this is definitely strong for a sour.

This beer is the fifth release in their Noble Star Collection of Berliner weisse style beers that they are making. The first release was Star of the North (unfortunately I missed that one),  the second was the Framboise du Nord made with raspberries, the third was North Country Brunette, a marzen Berliner weisse; and the fourth was Black Forest Cherry.   These releases are made in the brewery's original 1936 cypress wood lagering tanks. The bottles are hand filled and bottle-conditioned. They are refurbishing more of the cypress tanks and will be expanding this program, which is great news as they have been awesome beers.

The beer pours a dark golden in color. There is a relatively short head of white foam that settles away quickly. The beer is well carbonated, but not in a fizzy way. The aroma is sour and tart, tangy and fruit, over toasted wheat. The taste follows the aromas, there is fruity tartness, plain old outright sour, toasted wheat, and a hint of smokiness. Strawberries start to come through as it warms. The individual flavors meld into a complete whole. The beer drinks crisply refreshing, enhanced by its tartness, with an effervescent carbonation. The finish is dry, with a woody astringency. By God, this is good, what a sour beer!

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