Bockfest – New Ulm, Minnesota
Bockfest is for the true beer lovers out there. It is held, usually, in February or March at the Schells Brewery grounds.
The Shell Brewery was built on the bluffs over looking the beauty of the area in 1860. The brewery has expanded over the years and the carriage house has been converted into a museum for memorabilia of the brewery.
In the cold of winter the brewery throws a party for approximately 3,000 beer lovers on their grounds.
One of the festive rituals of Bock Fest is the poking of the beer with a red-hot iron, laid among fiery logs until glowing hot.
The bock beer is caramelized by a plunge with a hot iron poker, and can be a warming, even restorative beverage as the snow begins to swirl around you.
Bock is traditionally brewed in the fall at the end of the growing season and stored ("lagered") all winter to be enjoyed in the spring at the beginning of the brew season. Bock is a strong full-bodied lager made with lots of malt. Contrary to urban legend, bock is not brewed from the "dregs" left from the cleaning of the fermentation barrels in the spring.
After the bock fest ends at 4:30 some of those in attendance head for the local taverns to continue on with the party. Of course, there is fabulous food (German suggested) to enjoy along with the beer.