Courtesy of Tin Mill Brewing Company
Tin Mill Beer
Hermann. That charming, historic German town perched on the banks of the Missouri River is known for its Rhine Valley heritage and wine. Not all Hermann barrels, though, are filled with a vintner’s award winning nectar. Another German craft has also reclaimed its place in the hearts and palates of Missourians.
The Tin Mill Brewery opened in 2005 in the heart of downtown Hermann. Don Gosen and business partner Ellen Dierberg noticed the lack of a German brewery in
a town settled by Rhineland descendants. While there were once several breweries in the region in the 1800s, they were lost during Prohibition in 1920. With Ellen’s knowledge and appreciation of German culture and Don’s expertise in beer brewing, they set out to change that.
Of course, one of the finest ways to enjoy craft beers is to visit the spot where they’re brewed. A drive along the wide Missouri to Hermann led me to an afternoon of talking, touring, and drinking beer.
“Authentic” and “German” were the words most used during the tour of Tin Mill Brewery. “If you’re going to make German beer, you’ve got to have German ingredients,” Natasha Phillips, the general manager and tour guide, stated. True enough. Tin Mill follows the German Purity Law, using only barley grown and malted in Germany and hops from the Hallertau region north of Munich. The big, bright copper brewing kettles are imported from Germany as well.
Tin Mill’s home is a 100-year-old building still featuring some of the original grain processing equipment. Large windows line the corridor between the tasting room and the gift shop allowing everyone to see the brewing process, with or without a tour.
All of Tin Mill’s beers are lagers, or beers fermented and aged at cold temperatures, and are finished using the old-world method of krausening, which means adding newly fermented beer to recharge the fermentation and add natural carbonation.
Tin Mill offers a beer sampler showcasing five beers: Skyscraper (Pilsner), 1st Street Wheat (Hefeweizen), Red Caboose (Maibock and my wife’s favorite), Midnight
Whistle (Doppelbock, which I preferred), and the simply named Pilsner. While all are different, they were German through and through, with a pure and clean lager finish.
I couldn’t resist getting a full pint of the Midnight Whistle, or leaving without taking home a case. The beer is available at many stores and restaurants throughout Missouri. Plus, you can look forward to sampling Tin Mill Brewery’s beers at the 2011 Missouri Beer Festival (see page 87). Then again, nothing beats drinking beer straight from the tap and only 30 feet from where it was born.