Never Hand a Gnome Your Beer

The town we’re in, New Ulm, Minnesota, is the most-German town in the U.S. (I read that but now can’t find the source; it makes a good opener anyway though, right?).

Its famous glockenspiel does its thing three times a day: the bells play and a window opens to reveal German figures moving around and around, building the town, farming, and of course brewing and drinking beer.

So I can’t find that assertion about “the most-German town” on Wikipedia, but what I do find is hilarious to me now that I’ve been here a few days:

The first residents “were Turners, members of a society that promoted universal education. […] Many were socialists who had fled Germany after the nobility suppressed a wave of democratic revolts in 1848. […] Calling themselves ‘free-thinkers,’ the Turners advocated the separation of church and state, women’s rights, and the abolition of slavery. They were largely agnostic, and they liked to get together and drink beer on Sundays.”

The modern change in the town is evident from all the pro-Trump yard signs. “Today, [the town is] politically conservative and home of a college and high school operated by the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, which is so conservative it doesn’t allow women to vote on church matters or take on any church roles that involve authority over men.”

I’m serious with the Trump signs everywhere. I saw one truck with Trump flags flying from the back, plus a life-sized window cling on the cab window right behind the driver of Trump’s head in silhouette. The driver was a woman.

I won’t show you a photo of one of the flags I saw because it’s disturbing. We had to stop while bike riding to fix my chain, and I was afraid to pull over in front of the yard.

I won’t tell you what our campground neighbors say loudly about Joe Biden. To drown them out I’ve been playing spacey Grateful Dead shows from the early 1970s on the speaker in our tent.

Berliner Weiss, How I Love Thee

The sour beer though, oh my goodness.

I already posted about Schell Brewery, the second-oldest family-run brewery in the U.S. that we can bike to, but Tracy bought me a bottle of one of the sours to drink back at the campsite, and I enjoyed it so much I have to post about it again.

The first time I had Berliner Weiss was when I was in Berlin on a work trip. Tracy recommended I order one plain and another mit schuss, and of course I tried it with both traditional schuss flavors: raspberry and woodruff (an herb).

See, this wheat beer can be so tart that people pour in a flavored syrup to offset it. I’m drinking it above in Berlin the traditional way, in a bowl-like glass with a straw, after the bartender dumped in the shot of raspberry schuss.

Schell’s makes their sour beers by starting with a Berliner Weisse, then they ferment it again with fruit or another hops added. The result is a complex taste, tart at first then sweet on the edges of your tongue after. Oh man.

I think my favorite brewery for sours, Right Proper, might have been bested. Move over, Diamonds, Fur Coat, Champagne. Make way for Adaptive Matter.

I’m limiting going inside buildings, but I had to go in the gift shop at the brewery to buy this apron. Tracy approves.

Sand-bottom Pool

The campground we’re in was where German prisoners of war were housed; now it has this odd sand-bottom pool that’s empty, so I get to try to guess how this thing works.

A friend (one who took the top picture of us goofing around during our weekly virtual happy hour when I was sporting my apron) suggests it has a plastic liner. Now that I look closely (thanks for pooping right in the sand, Banjo), I’m thinking concrete maybe.

The old buildings around it are now a snack bar and other park-use buildings. Apparently, when the pool is open this is a really busy place; there certainly is enough parking for a kazillion people.

Now that it’s empty it makes for excellent dog walking.

No Prince for Me

Yesterday when we rode our bikes into town to see the glockenspiel, we rode by the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame to peer through the windows at what I’d hoped would be a spectacular Prince exhibit.

The architecture here is so like Berlin though that there aren’t enough windows to peer through! Rats.

The Kind of Night When Banjo Sits on Your Head

We started the last night out peacefully.

At about midnight the storm started, and, although we’d closed the window shades, we’d left open the two skylight shades, so lightening flashed the entire trailer bright, almost pulsing. Thunder seemed to rock it.

Banjo left her bed under the table and crouched beside my side of the bed, so I rested my hand on her head for a while. But I had to pee, and when I was in the bathroom the hail started.

On an Airstream it sounds like this:

That was when Banjo leapt onto our bed. When I opened the bathroom door, I could see her during lightening flashes sitting on Tracy’s pillow, practically on top of his head, right at the back wall of the Airstream. I guess that’s farthest from the skylights where the most noise was coming from.

We don’t let her on the bed (she gets up there when we leave her alone in the trailer but we pretend not to know). But last night we let her perch on Tracy’s pillow for the two hours it took for the storm to pass. You guys with dogs afraid of storms know how it goes: she was shaking like a leaf and unresponsive to our attempts to comfort her. So we just let her be.

I wish I’d gotten a picture though: she really was almost on Tracy’s head the whole time. She’s not a small dog, either.

Airstream’s shells are made of two layers of aluminum with insulation between, and the outer layer can be dented by hail so badly that the trailer is totaled. I’ve walked around it this morning and found no damage, but once the sun is up all the way we’ll both do a full inspection, and Tracy will have to get on the roof where I would be shocked if there were no damage at all.

We knew we’d face hail sometimes, but September in Minnesota is the surprise.

Okay, you guys take care. I would say, “Stay safe,” but if you’re protesting, I say, “Give ‘em hell (peacefully).”

8 thoughts to “Never Hand a Gnome Your Beer”

  1. The beer looks and sounds delicious! Im a big fan of tart tastes. Love the audio of the storm. You are a tech genius!

    1. Ain’t it cool I figured out how to upload audio? I think my free subscription doesn’t allow video – too bad. Yay for tart beer!

  2. We’re OK. Had to drive up to about 3,500 ft today to hike above the smoke. Eventually it followed me but I got in about 6 miles. Very smoky from here in the northern part of the Sierras all the way to the coast…We live in a very conscientious community where the Home Owners Assoc makes everyone keep their properties WAY clear. We are a CalFire safe community with each lot checked by CalFire. We have our own Fire Dept, our own water supply, our own hydrants, a 600 acre lake that helicopters can ( and do) dip out of and are literally 3 min by air from an airstrip where air support tankers load up with retardant. We have had 6 fires start outside out gates this year and all of them out within an hour…some literally out in minutes. As a community we have even replaced or reduced landscaping that is especially flammable. Although no one is truly safe…we are sure doing what we can to increase the odds. Y’all enjoy the cool weather!