Upholding Oshkosh's Brewing Traditions

Anyone who brews their own beer is a real SOB!

Christmas Party

Just a quick recap from the Christmas Party. Two dozen of us met for some good times, great food, and all sorts of beer, wine, and a few meads. No category was left out. There were scottish ales, stouts, IPAs, porters. You name it, we had it! Thanks to Shawn and Brandy for the sandwiches, and to all the members for bringing so much stuff to eat!
We didn’t have any business to attend to, but we did open nominations for the upcoming elections in January. If you are interested in one of the three spots, it’s very important you come to the January meeting!!! As of right now, the nominees are:
President: Mike Engel(accepted nomination)
Secretary: Scott Westphal(accepted) and Karly Schwalbach(accepted, then later changed her mind and declined)
Membership coordinator: Ian Wegner(accepted)
Nominations will be opened up again at the January meeting, and then we will take a vote.  This is a two-year term, expiring in 2019.

SOB Meeting 305

Our group gathered for our November meeting at O’Marros Public house to examine and challenge the Wrath of Grapes.  Before this though, we had some business to take care of!

First, our Annual Christmas Party is coming on December 21st.  The club is going to provide sandwiches as we have done in the past few years.  The members will provide side dishes and any homebrew they wish to bring.  I will send out the sign up sheet today, and again early next week.  Please sign up by Dec 7th, so we’ve got two weeks to prepare.  Your other half is welcome to attend too!  There will be a $20 gift exchange for anyone that’s interested.  Bring a gift, get a gift.

Elections are coming up in January.  Nominations will be taken during the December party for voting the next month.  The three positions open are President, Event Coordinator, and Secretary.  Please think about stepping up for a couple of years.

Bare Bones Brew: We are working out the details with them, and are planning to go forward with it.  Once we know all the details and costs, I’ll send out a sign up for those that want to take some beer home to put their own touches on.  We will have a tasting of all the different beers at a meeting to follow the brew day.  This should create a vast variety of beers, all using the same base beer.  Stay tuned!

We are looking to have a meeting at The Cellar sometime next year, as well as having Big Brew Day there.  There has been a lot of support for both ideas, so we’ll go forward with it.  In the meantime, stop down and see what the new store has to offer.  There is more space than there was in FDL, and a good selection of products.  They are also knowledgeable on brewing, from beginners and extract kits, through experienced brewmasters.  Stop in and introduce yourself!

Brian Schneider sent us all an email link about MobCraft Brewing.  There are 8 homebrews that they are considering to make commercial.  The winner will be chosen by the amount of preorders they receive.  So, if you like Brian’s Portly Root Beer Porter, sign up for some and help him see his brew go public!  The link is

Casks and Caskets is looking like a reality for 2017.  The committee will start coming together soon and start working on the plans for next year.  We’re exciting to see the event come back after a hiatus.  With everyone’s help, we can come back stronger than ever!

So that’s the business end.  We had 6 or 7 different wine samplings, along with some mead!  We tried two commercial versions, one white and one red.  To say one was better than the other is a matter of taste.  Wines run a very broad spectrum, and there are as many tastes in wine as there are varieties.  For those that like sweeter wines, favorites are moscato, dessert wine, Riesling, and sweet fruit wines like strawberry or pear.  If you are those that like drier wines with a little bitterness and pucker to them, Chardonnay and Cabernet are a great place to start.   Finally, if you like heavy flavor wines, start with a dark Merlot.  There are both sweet and dry Merlots.  There are many, many varieties in between all these too, of course.  There are semi dry wines, low alcohol ones, and some that don’t really fit any category.  Then, as if all that fruit isn’t enough, there’s my personal favorite, Meads.  Meads are based with honey rather than a fruit.  A straight traditional mead uses nothing but water, yeast, and honey.  From there, they can be made into whatever the drinker wants them to be.  Melomels are mead with fruit flavors added to them, a blend of wine and mead, so to speak.  Braggot is a mead made with malted grain.  And that is just a start.  Like wine and beer, there are dozens of varieties you can make or buy commercially.

If you are new to wines or meads, a great place to try some and learn from people who make them is right at our SOB meetings!  We’ve almost always got some of one or the other, and the homebrewed mead at our meetings is better than most commercial ones, IMHO.  So come try some at an upcoming meeting!

Next month is the Annual Christmas Party, so no theme.  Just come celebrate the spirit of the holidays!



SOB Meeting 304

We all met at O’Marros Public House on October 19th for our regular meeting.  This meeting was about everything Octoberfest.  But first, we had to get through a little bit of business.


At the top of the list is Big Brew Day on May 7th.  Now that we have a real homebrew shop in Oshkosh, it only makes sense that we have Big Brew Day at that homebrew shop.  They are eager to have us.  They will run discounts on supplies for anyone who needs anything, and if you forget something, they’ll be right there to help.  We will have more details as we get closer to May, but it’s always good to plan ahead!

The annual AHA conference is in Minneapolis in June 2017.  Ian is working on putting together plans and costs for the trip for anyone that wants to attend.  Our club has been using the sawdust city theme when they go, with lumberjack gear and a sawmill set up for our beers.  Every year we’ve gone, everyone has had a great time….what they can remember of it!  If you are interested in going next year, get ahold of Ian Wegner at a meeting and he can tell you everything you need to know.

Sometime in the end of the winter months, we are going to do a collaboration brew with Bare Bones.  Much like Fox River Brewing did in the past, we’ll meet there and do a brew on RJ’s brewing system.  What we are going to do differently is we’ll have some members take some of the wort home after it’s boiled and chilled, and those members will ferment and dry hop as they see fit.  We’ll have the exact same base beer, made in a bunch of different finishes.  RJ will take whatever is left, and create his own version that will go on Bare Bones taps when it is ready.  We are not positive of what kind of beer, but RJ is imagining a golden ale or something else he can really hop up.  When all the brews are done, we’ll have our meeting at Bare Bones, and have a competition of sorts, including RJ’s version.  There are a lot of details to work out on this, but so far it is looking like a great way to have some fun and make some interesting beer!  Once we have a date nailed down, we will send out a sign up for those that want to take some beer home.

The last big piece of business was Casks and Caskets.  You all read the letter Mike Engel sent out.  The biggest concern was: will we be able to have enough beer for the event?  We did a show of hands of people willing to bring something, and got overwhelming support from the members that were present.  If everyone that wasn’t there also brings some, we will have more than enough.  There was also talk of inviting the other brew clubs as well.  As stands, we know this: 1. The convention center is good with us doing it there, so long as the state okays the event.  2. The state is ok with the event, so long as we don’t charge admission.  So, we have to do it as a free-will donation event.  Again, the membership that was in attendance was very supportive of going forward with it.  Mike is going to lead the committee on planning it, but he needs help.  If you are willing to help, send mike and email at  We believe it’s important to the club to continue to create goodwill in the community.


With that, it was time for beer.  And we had plenty of it.  Lee talked about the history of Octoberfest beers.  Marzen and Octoberfest are interchangeable, there is no difference.  And we learned that they traditionally were a late summer beer even when they were first introduced.  It’s the Octoberfest name that made it into a fall beer.  So next time we think August is too early, remind yourself that marzen’s were always released in late July into August, and drink one guilt free!  We had six commercial versions, and one homebrewed.  We started with Bent Tuba from Titletown, then Sprecher’s Octoberfest.  The next two were O’so Brewing’s Marzen and Lake Louie’s as well.  These were all provided by Dublins’ so say thanks and have a beer next time you’re in the area.  The last two were ones that Lee liked, and wanted to have.  The first was the Spaten Octoberfest.  The second one was Sierra Nevada’s brew.  And we were also fortunate to have a homebrewed Marzen, and it was a perfect finisher of the style in a homebrew club meeting!  Now that we got the Marzen out of our system, we sampled some hoppier brews, a couple IPA’s, kellerbier, a honey wheat, and some fantastic cranberry mead.  It was a great finish to our evening.

Our November focus is going to be everything Wine and Mead.  We will perhaps have a competition, maybe just sample and discuss, that will depend on how many samples we have.  If history is any indicator, it will be a good time!

Last, on October 27th, Lee and Jody are going to give a presentation on the history of craft beer, saloons, and breweries in Oskosh.  There will be samples of homebrews served during the event.  The beers have been brewed using historical recipes dating back to 1856.  It take place next Thursday, the 27th, at 6:30PM at the Oshkosh Public Library.  Hope to see you there!

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