March 15, 2017

The SOB’s gathered at Fox River Brewing Company, where the confines are friendlier than Wrigley Field and so is the beer selection.

Meeting Kickoff

The meeting was presided by our bassline-droppin’ leader Mike Engel.  He started things off by conducting a survey for all present to take.  The survey was to get a gauge on the things the members want to see in the club moving forward.  All who took the survey were entered into a raffle for a major award that was indescribably beautiful (bonus points for catching the movie reference there).  Mike mentioned that last month there is interest by some members of getting together for a small-group brewing session.  If you are still interested in that, please contact Mike as we did have someone offer to host this session at their house.

New Faces in the Crowd

No new members tonight, but we did have the honor of basking in the awe-inspiring presence of Mark Stanek.  Mark is a long-time member and brewer extraordinaire who we haven’t seen in quite some time as life has a funny habit of getting in the way of our fine hobby.

Beer Festivals and Beer Tours

Jeff Eaton apprised the group about two different opportunities coming up.  The first is Chilton Brewfest, scheduled for May 21st.  Jeff is looking to organize a bus for this which would cost about $300.  Mike polled the group and there were ~ 6 people who showed interest, so Jeff agreed to get further information out to those interested.  The second was in regard to a Madison brewery tour being organized by the Fond du Lac brew club.  Keven Jelic is organizing this trip and the plan is to hit the following breweries:  Ale Asylum, Vintage, and Karben 4 among others.  Keven was targeting the second weekend of May for this, and the plan would be to take a bus.  There were about 8 people interested in this so Jeff and Keven agreed to talk some more and finalize a plan.

1st Beer Sampled

Since this meeting was focusing on Irish and Scottish styles (and we were merely two days away from the greatest holiday in the history of ever), it stood to reason that the first beer we sampled was Murphy’s Dry Irish Stout.  Ian Wenger gave all in attendance the history and description of this most delicious thing to ever come out of Cork.

Club-Only Hombrew Contest

Mike noted that our plans are to do a club-only homebrew contest.  For this, we won’t choose a style beforehand, but will open it up to whatever people want to brew.  The beer for judging would be due 1 week prior to the meeting, and the requirement would be 24oz.  There will be a 1st and 2nd prize awarded, and the plan would be for the beers to be judged by local brewmasters.  The date for this is TBD, but is looking to be perhaps June 21st so stay tuned.

2nd Beer Sampled

We then imbibed upon another Irish favorite, good ol’ Smithwick’s Irish Red.  Now, before we go any further, and this is really important so stay with me here…it’s pronounced ‘smitticks’.  If you pronounce it like it’s spelled, then an angel doesn’t get its wings and you hate puppies.  Ian gave a history of this beer and brewery and as it turns out it is the oldest brewery in Ireland (and not Leinie’s like someone in the crowd said – don’t ask me….I just write down what I hear).

National Homebrew Day

Ian gave an update to the group on this, and as of right now we have 6 members signed up.  If anyone needs more info about this glorious event, please contact Ian right away.  Also acceptable is to use Mr. Google and ask him.  Ian noted that he’ll pull the group of interested peoples together soon to get the details hammered out.  Or it might have been to get hammered.  Or both possibly.  One other important thing to note, is that everyone is quite welcome to brew for this event even if you can’t go.

Beer Dinner

Mike reported that as a club we are still pursuing this, and he is currently looking for a venue.  There are quite a few that have been interested, but the key is that venue needs to allow us to take our own homebrew in and for it to be prepared with the meal.  Stay tuned.

Big Brew Day

Big Brew Day is coming nigh and is less than 4 fortnights away!  That’s about 7.5 weeks for those that don’t speak Olde-English.  This year the happy date is May 6th.  This year we are going to do it at The Cellar Homebrew Shop.  The plan is for the club to kick in for some sort of food with those who are coming bringing a dish to pass.  On that topic, Fleet Farm chocolate covered peanuts are a fine thing to bring but do not count as a dish to pass.  Seriously.  It’s not cool to do that.

3rd Beer Sampled

After several beers in the macro-brew variety, we went local with Marble Eye Scottish Ale from Fox River Brewing.  Kevin Bowen, the brewmaster from Fox River was in attendance and gave us the low-down on this delightful concoction.  Per Kevin, while this was a Scottish ale, it was ‘Americanized’ as it was more firmly hopped while still being malt-forward.  This beer clocks in a 6% and is not overly sweet like many beers of this style.  A tasty brew from a local brewery – a winning combination in my book!

4th and 5th Beer Sampled

We followed those up with a few more beers.  Bellhaven’s Scottish Ale and Lake Louie’s Warped Speed.  I probably should have written a few notes about these beers, but I didn’t.

Casks & Caskets

Mike reported that a venue has been identified who is interested in hosting our illustrious event.  Unfortunately, it may be booked for the day we wish to host this event, October 28th.  Mike is still working out the details, but the key message is that we are a go!!!  Mike asked that as a club, could we get a commitment from all member to brew for this (10 gallons).  Remember, we don’t turn a profit on this event, this is all for the children.  For God’s sake, think of the children!!!!!

Final Thoughts

Kevin Bowen hosted a brewery tour for those who were interested and Mike did the raffle from the beginning of the meeting.  Mike had Kevin draw the winning name and don’t you know our it outgoing president Kyle Clark was picked as the winner.  Collusion!!!  Collusion I tells ya!!!  Oh well, in any event, Kyle won a very nice bomber of Westmalle Tripel.  Enjoy Kyle!  That’s all for now, join us again next month as we continue in our series in all things brewing, and enjoy the beerstyle of Maibocks.