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Upholding Oshkosh's Brewing Traditions

Anyone who brews their own beer is a real SOB!

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 mobcraftbeer.com/recipes/portly-root-beer-porter

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!

Prost!

 

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 mengel@new.rr.com.  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!

SOB Meeting 303

Meeting 303 took place at O’marros Public House on Sep 21st.  We had two things we wanted to get to, the Cascade hop brew sampling, and Tim’s grain presentation.  But we had to get through some business first.

First, we had a recap of the picnic.  There was a fantastic turnout for the picnic, both in terms of attendees and in the amount of homebrew brought along!  The SOB jockey box wasn’t big enough to handle it all.  Great food, great beer, good times, and perfect weather all made for a fun get-together.  It was great seeing people’s families too as a lot of big SOBs brought the little SOBs along too!

We discussed the upcoming FDL brewfest on Feb 4th from 5-9 PM  The general consensus was that it was the promoters that are being watched and ticked, not the clubs or members themselves.  So, with the clubs blessing, we’re going to sign up for the festival.  More details will come out when it’s closer, but hopefully with brews n blues and Appleton Ale fest both defunct, we can get a big turnout from the SOBs here.

The idea has been brought up about taking a further away brewery bus trip than we have in the past.  Chicago and Minneapolis both came up.  As did a Hophead tour.  Because of cost, it was suggested that we pair up with other brew clubs in the area, and open it up to the general public as well to make sure the bus is full, which keeps the cost down dramatically.  The board will kick it around a little more in early October about what we want to do, then solicit clubs from all over the area if we decide to go that route.  More details will come out on this as we put it together.  Overnight, all day, and other options are all being looked at. Stay tuned!

AHA conference is the 13-15th of June.  Looking to see how many people are interested in going.  Best estimates are that if you go the whole weekend, it will be in the 600-1,000 dollar range, including transportation, lodging, meals, and the $200 admission to the conference.  Hence the early notice, for anyone that wants to go.  For more details, talk to Ian W.

For Big Brew Day in May, rather than have everyone bring out their equipment, which has seemed to be a big reason why the numbers have been down the last few years, a different idea was suggested.  What we would do is all meet at Bare Bones, and do a group brew using the Bare Bones system.  I talked to RJ, and he liked the idea a lot.  We have to sit down with Dan and RJ, hopefully at our next board meeting, and work out cost details and how it would work with the brewery, but so far, it looks like it could be a great way to let people get to try something different!  More details hopefully soon!

Lastly, we discussed the theme calendar idea for the rest of this year, going through 2017.  The members were great with the idea, and like the long term notice on themes.  So I will get the themes added to the calendar as soon as I get back from a business trip, so look for them the first week of October.  The two finishing out this year are going to be Octoberfest styles in October(because ticki tocki ticki tocki hoy hoy hoy!) and then Meads and Wines in November.  Experience has taught me to eat dinner and be prepared in November if you attend, Thursday morning is a rough one!

With that, it was time to drink some homebrew.  First up was Jeff Eaton’s Maris Otter Cascade SMASH.  Made with 10lbs, Maris Otter Malt, 1 oz cascade for 60 min, and the Safale 05 yeast, no secondary, and cold crashed in the keg,  this was an easy drinking, crushable brew.  It had the golden color, and slight nutty flavor that Maris Otter is supposed to have.  It was well liked and gone quickly! A very well made brew Jeff!  Keep bringing em!

Next up was a joint brew by Udey and Travis Sullivan.  It used a malt called Full Pint.  It is new to the market, so they gave it a shot.  Also 10lbs, and 10z cascade for 60 min, and the same 05 yeast.  This was a different malt than most of us were used to.  The description suggested a popcorn flavor, and they were dead on.  This was one of the more discussed beers we’ve had in quite awhile.  No one knew quite what to make of this beer and this malt.  Some people loved it and had more, myself included.  Guess none of us have ever had popcorn in our beer before!  We had a lot of discussion on what kinds of hops and yeast could be used with a malt like this.  Hallertau was a consensus choice.  So if anyone wants to try it again, mix it up, and try it with hallertau hops, we’ll be happy to try it again.  Thanks to Jeff, Mike U, and Travis, for making these two beers.

Taking a short break to refresh our glasses, Tim P. led a good discussion on grains.  We started off with basic differences like 2-row and 6-row.  But we dived in quickly into the things that make the subtle differences, and what makes good beer into a great beer.  Like Alex in Neenah, Tim believes that water and Ph make a huge difference.  As you all know, the malt bill is the heart of any beer.  Adding just a little bit of wheat, or a roasted malt can change a beer completely.  For people that have been brewing for a long time, this is old hat.  For the new brewers, this was a very informative presentation.  Tim touched on recipe building, choosing the right hops for the grain you are going to use, and how to decide what percentages of each grain to use for your grain bill.  There was a lot of back and forth Q & A.  Tim is very knowledgeable in grains and hops, and we all learned quite a bit.  He also had a video presentation to go along with.  Visual exhibits always enhance and make things easier to understand.  Thank you Tim, for a very informative presentation.

Something we haven’t done in awhile, but was VERY well received:  During the presentation, people that had brought beer with them and set it on the back bar, started passing it out.  This was something the club had gotten away from that people missed.  It wasn’t by design to do it this was, but we got a lot of positive response from it!  This is something that the members really enjoy.  And we will keep doing it, so long as you continue to keep bringing the brews in each month.  We had over half a dozen beers back there, plus and amazing mead! I got nothing but great feedback from this!

After Tim’s presentation, or maybe just because my notes were unorganized(see above posts about beer during the meeting!) we had a couple other things to discuss!

On Oct 8th, we are going to have an Apple crush and Mark Schmeling’s house.  We’re going to start at 9AM.  If you wish to be a part, you need to bring something to crush into a cider, and bring a dish to pass.  I’ll be sending out a sign up sheet.  Please sign up fast, since the date is arriving fast!

Next year, we will have the opportunity to harvest some wet hops.  More details will come out on this next year.  Mike Engel brought in some of the hops to distribute to members.  As you’ve all seen on Lee R’s posts, wet hopped beer have popped up in Oshkosh again, so let’s keep the trend going.  Mike is hoping maybe we can do some beers as a club on site.  We will follow up when we get into next year and give you all more details!

Finishing off our even, Randy brought up a buy of SS growlers.  They are normally $30 a piece.  But if we buy them as a group, his friend buying them can get them for $20.  That’s a 33% discount!  And Stainless has the huge advantage of being unbreakable.  We all know just how important that is after having a bunch of beer.  So if you are interested, let Randy Bauer know rtomb78@gmail.com, or let me know, wschwal@yahoo.com.

Whew! What a great meeting.  Can’t wait for October.  For those interested, Oshkosh has it’s Octoberfest on Sat Oct 1st, at the corner of Oregon and 6th avenue.  That’s right by dockside tavern.  It starts at I believe 2PM.  There will be plenty of Marzen’s Lee in Lederhosen, and weiner dog races.  Come on down! Til the October meeting at O’marros, Prost!

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