The day after Christmas, my Brother, Emily, Jeff, Tom, and I (Katie had to work), headed to New Ulm, Minnesota to visit Schell's Brewery. The brewery was started 150 years ago, so it's survived quite a while.
We took a tour of the facilities, first. For some reason there are peacocks that live at the Brewery - not usually what you would expect to see during a Minnesota winter.
The old housing and brewery machinery were pretty neat.
After the tour and a short video, we did a tasting. With tastes of about six different beers followed by a full pint of a beer of your choice, if was a lot to take in before lunch.
Emily's cousin and her family were there too - here's a shot of everybody.
I had lots of fun taking pictures in the museum afterwards.
I also loved this poster of German words. Interesting choices to teach.
Emily was able to use her musical magic powers (i.e. ability to read sheet music) to sing this song to us. The lyrics basically ask, "Isn't this a snitzel Bank? Yes, it is a snitzel bank!" (Snitzel is a German meat-dish, but it's not clear what a snitzel bank is...)
We drove into town and had lunch at a German restaurant - I had a reuben sandwich and Jeff had bratwurst and sauerkraut, which was very good. They also had some cool appetizers - like fried sauerkraut balls in cheese.
After the 2-3 hour drive home, we relaxed around at home, re-charged, and then we all went to the Happy Gnome Bar in St. Paul, MN. I'd never been to the Happy Gnome, but it was really cool - lots of fun beer options and a whole bunch of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan beers on tap. Missy Laine, a friend from high school, was having her birthday get together there, so I got to see a bunch of high school friends, which was really nice. Some of the people I hadn't seen in years, and now they're spread out all over the world - Emily is doing Peace Corp in El Salvador, Eric is a chaplain's assistant in the army stationed in Iraq, Abby's a park ranger, Carey Ma is in NYC teaching in Harlem, and Missy is in DC.
After leaving the Happy Gnome, we went to a few bars around Maplewood, right near my house. It's seems a bit odd to go to neighborhood bars with crappy beer where you don't know anybody, but Tom and Brian were pretty psyched about it. Bleachers had karaoke, so my brother and Emily sang something. Then it turned out that Emily is a really good singer (not surprising, since she's really into music and works as a a piano teacher), but it was enough to convince Jeff and I that we shouldn't attempt out 'Dying Cat Duet' (which is what any song we sing comes out sounding like.) Fun night!