Arminius, known to many of the citizens of New Ulm as Hermann the German, was a Germanic chieftain who united many other tribes to hold back Roman forces in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.  While eventually defeated by the Romans, his legacy and symbolism lead to the unification of many Germanic tribes, and his enduring spirit would go on to become a symbol of Germanic nationality.

His name and likeness, as depicted on the statue that lies in the hometown of the Schells Brewery, also adorn the cans of Shell’s latest beer, Arminius.  This beer uses a unique blend of American hops, as well as French and German, assumably from regions near where Hermann the German carved his name into history.

This beer also symbolizes a rather unique shift in the mindset of Shells Brewery.  The New Ulm staple, until recently, has not been known for hoppy beers.  Rather, they’ve been more likely to stick with the typical German inspired beers, such as Pilsners, Goses, Bocks, Hefes and others.  However, a recent change in marketing, most likely influenced by the surge of hoppy beers in Minnesota, coupled with the national popularity of more experimental beers, has Schells living up to its slogan of “We are German Craft Beer”. Arminius now being their hoppiest staple beer, will be brewed year round according to its website.

The can says right on it “Hoppy Pale Lager”, which immediately scares off some consumers. Minnesotan Craft Beer fanatics will instantly think of beers in the Surly line, for example, which usually scream of hops, becoming something that is vastly popular, but only among select crowds. With Arminius, Schell’s has found a way to create a hoppy beer, without it ransacking your mouth with that overwhelming “perfume” taste.

Arminius has a little bit of everything –  hints of floral and citrus flavors, a level amount of carbonation translating into a mouthfeel suitable for most beer drinkers,  and a crisp and clean flavor that still contains just the right amount of hops that even consumers on the fence could enjoy.  Truly, Arminius is a remarkable beer made for everyone.

Photo courtesy of Schell’s Brewing Company

The fact that Arminius has a high 70 IBUs and bears  the inscription of “Hoppy Pale Lager” it would be easy to cast this beer off as just another over-the-top overly-hoppy brew. However, though Schell’s is a traditional German craft beer maker, with Arminius, they’ve proven they can think outside of the box. In fact, they may have beaten the hop head breweries at their own game.  Hoppy Pale Lager is probably a terrible way to describe this beer — it has a clean and crisp taste, without the intense off-putting sensation that comes with many hoppy brews. Call it what you will, but this brew should become a staple in any self respecting beer fan’s rotation.