Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Cheers to Hermann the German and his bier November 23, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 10:11 AM

When the Hermann Monument was dedicated 112 years ago in New Ulm, August Schell Brewing Company celebrated the occasion with a special beer, Hermann's Brau. This year the brewery brought the beer back.

A close-up image of the beer label, Hermann the German charging into battle on his white horse.

“IM HIMMEL gibt’s kein Bier. Drum trinken wir es hier.”

Any good German worth his or her sauerkraut knows that “In heaven there is no beer. That’s why we drink it here.”

So, good German that I am, I had a beer Saturday evening.

But not just any bier.

I drank Hermann’s Brau, a limited-edition beer from Minnesota’s undeniably most German city, New Ulm. August Schell Brewing Company brewed Hermann’s Brau to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in September. Hermann, a German warrior, led that battle and is honored in New Ulm with a towering statue atop a hill.

Since that anniversary celebration, two bottles of this coveted beer have been chilling in my friend Lois’ refrigerator. Lois picked the brew up per my request, to “get me some of that beer when you’re in New Ulm.” But finding Hermann’s Brau took a bit of effort. Lois searched two locations before nabbing two bottles of the precious $3-per-bottle commodity.

Schells produced only 200 cases of the beer. I’m uncertain how many bottles that equals because, well, these bottles hold 22 ounces of beer, enough to fill more than one stein.

So, on Saturday night, Lois and I shared Hermann’s Brau with our husbands, the two Randys.

We complimented our beer with a German meal of brats, potatoes, sauerkraut, pickled beets and warm applesauce. And even though I had not made German potato salad, Lois’ Randy tells me the pre-appetizer apple/potato/cheese/apple cider soup tastes a bit like German potato salad. It does.

As for Hermann’s Brau, we conclude: “This is good.” We’re just occasional beer drinkers, not beer experts.

I send Lois home with her empty beer bottles, even though her Randy questions, “Why do you want to keep those?”

“You won’t be saying that when these bottles are someday worth $1,000,” I laugh, as I toss the bottle caps into a cardboard box with the empty bottles. “I suppose they would be worth more filled with beer.”

Yeah, well, cheers!

A statue of Hermann the German towers above the trees in New Ulm.

For more information about Hermann the German, click here: http://hermannmonument.com. Also check out http://schellsbrewery.com and http://newulm.com. Be sure to read my September 15 post, “What about this Hermann the German in New Ulm?”

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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6 Responses to “Cheers to Hermann the German and his bier”

  1. Steve Marks Says:

    Thank you for the piece on Hermann. As a one-time New Ulm resident & NUHS graduate, your article brought back some very nice memories of Hermann and Schell’s. Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that when I was in high school, Hauenstein was still brewing beer…
    Steve Marks

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Steve, I’m glad you enjoyed the post about Hermann the German and his Hermann’s Brau bier. Although I didn’t grow up in New Ulm, I have fond memories of attending Bode family reunions at Hermann Heights Park. My Wabasso High School German Club also made a trip to New Ulm once to shop at Domeier’s German Store and dine at Eibner’s. Of course, I’ve visited New Ulm many times since. But it’s time again for a trip back and a tour of Schell’s Brewing Company. Cheers!

  2. Don Brand Says:

    Hermann Monument and Schell’s Brewery are two of New Ulm’s best-known historical attractions. However, the city has many, many more. Tour groups could spend a whole day in New Ulm and still not visit every attraction. Other notable things to see are the Glockenspiel, Domeier’s German Store,
    Defenders Monument, Veterans Memorial Monument, the History Tree, German-Bohemian Monument, Loretto Park, Way of the Cross and the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity with its amazing art work well over 100 years old.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Don, You are absolutely right about all of the wonderful attractions in New Ulm. A visitor could easily spend a day in this delightful city. In addition to those places Don listed, you might also add the Wanda Gag House and the Kaiserhoff, known for its ribs. And don’t forget to take in the incredible natural beauty of this Minnesota River valley town. I especially love the scenic view along the back county roads between New Ulm and Morton, past the Harkin Store and Fort Ridgely. Old barns and old houses, glimpses of the winding river and so much more make this an interesting and lovely drive.

  3. Allan Landman Says:

    And who could not pass up the “Ulmer” cafe on Main Street of New Ulm?!!!! They have the best breakfast, IN THE WORLD!! My Wife and I visit New Ulm quite often, and love that town. We even thought of buying a home in New Ulm to get away from the Metro Madness. Southern Minnesota RULES! What a great place to raise a family, with all the interesting things to do and the niceness. When we visit New Ulm, the people are so warm and friendly. One of the local carpet stores in New Ulm is housed in an old Automobile dealership building, with a ramp to drive down into the basement. It is a must see! I know little about the building other than I was told it was built as a car dealership garage. Would you know anything about that building, and what Automobiles were sold from it? When God made the world, he spent a little extra time making Southern Minnesota!!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Alright, sounds like I need to spend some time in New Ulm dining at the Ulmer cafe and checking out that carpet store housed in an old car dealership. Thanks for the tips, Alan. There’s something about New Ulm that appeals to me, too. My mom’s roots are in Courtland, just down highway 14… I agree that southern Minnesota is a pretty special place.


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