Four Stars: A big 507 welcome to 504 Tavern

schells starkeller peach.jpg
Schell's Starkeller Peach

Farewell, Northwoods Lounge , and here's a warm 507 Magazine welcome to the 504 Tavern .

The Northwoods was the bar side of Daniel's Restaurant , the nearly 40-year-old institution along U.S. Highway 14 in Kasson, and it always felt like an adjunct to Daniel's, though it could rock hard with live music on weekends and big parties, such as the victory party when Dodge County elected a new sheriff in November.

Since then, it has been remade into the 504 , a thoroughly new-fashioned bar with an impressive lineup of craft beers (including Surly Furiousand Lonely Blonde) and classic cocktails, creative bar food and current music that makes it feel more like a new place on Historic Third in Rochester than a small town bar.

As the Answer Man helpfully reported in April, Danielle Schmitzhas taken over the business from her parents, Danand Margann Gadient, and with her husband, Matt,has brought new ideas and a dramatically new look to the bar side. The room is full of wood, chalkboard walls, flashy filament light fixtures and industrial steel chairs and stools, a clever blend of the area's rural heritage and warehouse chic.

Though the analogy isn't perfect, it's as if they've traded a north woods cabin for something out of the North Loop in Minneapolis.


There's standard bar fare on the menu, including wings and a monster plate of cheese curds, but you also can find lighter, healthier options, including a terrific Baja salad ($6 for a generous small size, $9 for the large one) with grilled chicken, black beans, corn and mixed greens, and fish tacos ($8), with cod and wasabi.

It's at 504 Mantorville Ave. — hence the name — and FYI for football fans, they had a happy hour after the KoMets' home football game Friday and they also have NFL Sunday Ticket for their flat-screens.

On Friday, they'll celebrate Dan and Margann's retirement with a bash at the restaurant and bar — find more details at their Facebook page . Congratulations to the Gadient family for building one of the best food and drink businesses around.

Sour beers are peachy

Before I call it a day, let's talk about sour beer .

I had a champagne-style bottle of August Schell's deluxe Starkeller Peach wheat ale in the fridge for months, waiting for a special occasion. To be honest, I was trying to avoid it. Starkeller is a Berlin-style wheat ale, not my favorite style of brew, and in this case, it was aged with peaches.

Peaches and sour beer doesn't sound like an ideal pairing to me, but I finally popped the cork and as it turns out, the Starkeller Peach is surprisingly refreshing. Sour, yes, but it's a crisp, complex sipping beer, dry, with a hint of fruit.

Schell's, the 155-year-old brewery in New Ulm, is producing more creative and interesting beers than most of the young whippersnapper brewers in Minnesota. The Starkeller wheat ales are part of their Noble Star Collection, which is like a sudsy tutorial in German brewing traditions.


Along with the peach version, there's a hoppier version called Cypress Blanc.

The Starkeller Peach spent about a year in 80-year-old cypress wood lagering tanks, then nearly three tons of peaches were added. Four months later, it was bottled and ready to go. The result is a full-bodied, unapologetically forward beer, with a potent ABV of 7.2 percent. It barely registers for IBUs.

It may not be the beer you'll drink for nine innings at the ballpark or all day in the fishing boat, but for the adventurous beer drinker, it's worth the experience. Like most wheat beers, it's best served ice-cold. It's a limited release, but you can still find it in some stores.

Just don't leave it too long in your fridge, like I did. It's meant to be enjoyed on a hot August day.

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