Upholding Oshkosh's Brewing Traditions

Anyone who brews their own beer is a real SOB!

SOB Meeting 306

We met for our January meeting at O’Marro’s Public House on Jan 18th, with a theme of Bocks and Barleywines.  We had a decent amount of stuff to cover, so after having a warm up drink….or two….we got right to it!

First order of business was the election of the three officer positions open.  All three positions were unopposed, so by vote of acclimation, all three were awarded the term.

Our new president is Mike Engel.  The new secretary will be Scott Westphal.  And continuing as membership coordinator is Ian Wegner.  Congratulate them when you see them, and wish them the best.  It’s not always and easy job to plan and run things, so a huge thanks to these guys for stepping up for the next two years!

Next up, we informed the membership of the NE Wisconsin Homebrew Open Competition, taking place and sponsored by Lion’s Tail Brewing in Neenah.  Any style is eligible to be entered, but it must contain at least one Briess Malt.  There is no entry fee.  The date of the event is February 18th.  You need to sign up, and provide 3 twelve oz bottles or 2 bombers.  The web page and information on it for anyone who is interested can be found here


Next up was final information on the FDL Brewfest, and another new brew sampling event in Kimberly.  The FDL brewfest will be held on Feb 4th, at the FDL county fairgrounds.  This year is a Hawaiian theme!  They will once again have the homebrew alley, and the SOBs will be a part.  We have 6 brewers, and a dozen different wares to sample.  One name that stood out is Mike Engels “Buffalo Skeeter Pee”, a fermented lemon juice.  We will also be serving two small quantity bourbon barrel beers, so be sure to stop by the SOB table if you come to the event.  Tickets, and information can be found at:


Also, new this year is a sampling event held at Tanners in Kimberly, to benefits the Kaukauna/Kimberly library.  It’s call Beer and Bacon night, and it’s everything a bacon and beer lover could hope for.  Different bacon snacks like candied bacon, and bacon paired beers.  The SOBs will have a table if anyone wants to bring their wares.  It has a Valentines theme, and there is a discount for couples to go together.  1 for 25 or a couple for 40.  More information can be found at:


Next up, we discussed a bus tour, aiming for May.  Details are being worked out as to exactly when and where we want to go.  Jeff will keep us posted.  The weather will be warming up, and it will be time to start traveling again after being cooped up all winter.  More breweries are opening up in the state than we could have ever hoped for, so our options are ever increasing.  No matter which direction we pick, there are great new places to try.  As Lee said in his blog, it’s a great time to be a craft beer lover!


The AHA Conference is in June, which will be here before we know it!  There will be at least a few SOBs going, and we’re going to bring the ever popular logging setup with us!  Every year we send a few, and it’s always been a great experience, at least what they remember from it!  If you have a vacation to burn, it’s June 15th through the 18th.  If you are interested in attending, get ahold of Ian, and he can give you the details on the plans and the cost associated with it.  We guarantee you’ll have a great time, even if we have to tell you about it after you wake up!


The last order of business was an update from Mike Engel on Casks and Caskets.  We talked about different ways to do the event without getting smacked by the powers in Madison.  Rather than large announcements stating that we will be serving beer for free to anyone that shows up, we’re going to use our C and C website, along with the email list for it, to tell those that have showed an interest about the event.  We will use a will call system, so all they need to do is get their name on the list.  We’ll cut it off when we’ve reached the limit, and the attendees just need to come get their wristband from will-call when they get there.  We’ve been tossing around different ideas to try to make the most amount we can for our chosen charity.  Any ideas are welcomed, and if you’d like to be more active in planning for the event, please contact Mike Engel.


With that, we moved to our theme of the night, Bocks and Barleywines.  One of the first things we found out from a practical standpoint, is that Barleywines aren’t really that easy to find in a commercial setting.

Bock is a strong lager of German origin. Several substyles exist, including maibock, helles bock, and heller bock, a paler, more hopped version generally made for consumption at spring festivals; dopplebock, a stronger and maltier version; and eisbock, a much stronger version made by partially freezing the beer and removing the ice that forms.

Originally a dark beer, first brewing in the 14th century,  a modern bock can range from light copper to brown in colour.[1] The style is very popular, with many examples brewed internationally.

Bocks are traditionally made using Munich malt as the base, and mostly German malts.  If you’ve never tried brewing one, now is as good a time as any to give it a shot.  They are great winter beers, with chocolate and caramel lending some sweetness.  If you do decide to make one, make sure you bring it to a meeting, and we’ll all be more than happy to give feedback on your brew!


Barley wines are the original Imperial.  A barley wine typically reaches an alcohol strength of 8 to 12% by volume and is brewed from a starting gravity as high as 1.120. Use of the word wine is due to its alcoholic strength similar to a wine,  but since it is made from grain rather than fruit it is a beer.

There are two primary styles of barley wine: the American, which tends to be more hoppy and bitter with colors ranging from amber to light brown.  And the English style which tends to be less bitter and may have little hop flavor, with more variety in color ranging from red-gold to opaque black. Barley wines are sometimes labelled with a production date, as they are intended to be aged, sometimes extensively.  This is not a beer that you want to rush.


With that, we concluded our January meeting.  Our February meeting will be held at O’Marros on Feb 15th.  We hope to see everyone there.  As this is my last month as secretary, I thank you for your patience while I learned to write a little more, and try to make it a little more in depth, and a little more fun-Bill

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!



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