BEST DAY TRIP - 2004
This is the story of August, who begat Otto and Adolph and Emma, who married George, who begat Alfred, who...okay, let's be done with the begetting already and talk about beer. It was 140 years ago that young German machinist August Schell first brewed 200 barrels of the stuff and started selling it to his peers. After his brewery boomed in the 1870s and '80s, he built a family mansion on the grounds and added a formal garden and a deer park in the manner of a successful burgher. Peacocks could be seen strutting around the lawns and loading docks, along with a tame crane. Around the year 1900, that 200-barrel brewery purchased a solid copper kettle that could hold 3,500 gallons. The tame crane is gone now, but little else has changed. Schell's Brewery--today the largest in the state--is wholly owned by the descendents of August Schell and continues to manufacture fine (but not fancy) beers. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the brewery opens its doors for daily tours. If you're interested in the fermentation process, or in peacocks, this is the place you want to be. And when the tour wraps, you can take a taste of everything, then zero in on your favorite brew (which, in our view, ought to be the classic pils). Bring your teenager for the 1919 Root Beer, then make him drive home.