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Upholding Oshkosh's Brewing Traditions

Anyone who brews their own beer is a real SOB!

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Meetings

April 2021 Meeting

Do you know what the greatest feeling is? Sitting on a bar stool, talking beer, and hanging out with some of the greatest SOBs in all the world! And so, we’re very glad to finally be back to live meetings. In April we saw some old faces, some new faces, and some faces that we didn’t think we’d see again! That’ right, Mr. Jared Mathys, we’re looking at you. Although we were just getting back to our regularly scheduled meetings there was plenty to talk about, so let’s dive in.

Our first order of business was, like always, the new faces in the room. Too often when we ask if there are any new faces in the room, we’re met with blanks stares from the crowd. However, last month we had the opportunity to meet a few great fellas from 8th Day Community Brewery. Now if you’ve never heard of 8th Day don’t feel too bad. They’re a new concept brewery that is operated by committee and donations only. That means there are no large investors and all forms of brewing, social media presence, book-keeping, etc. are operated by a team of devote volunteers. Currently they are contract brewing at Fifth Ward with hopes to have their own brewery up and running soon. Moreover, they’re a team of people dedicated to being involved, and in such fashion our new friend Chris donated some time, brats, and “shtuff” to our annual Big Brew Day celebrations on May 1st.

Big Brew Day is one of the SOBs most notorious events. Typically, a lot of people turn out with even more beer. We were a little nervous this year because we had to cancel the in-person event at the last minute last year. As it turns out, our fears were greatly misplaced. 8 brew kettles turned up with plenty of additional friendly faces and a plethora of great beers. The day started out a little rainy and over cast, but cleared up as soon as the SOBs lit their burners. Although the wind was less than ideal every brewer filled up a carboy with sweet wort. Hopefully, we’ll get to see some of those beers in time for the May meeting.

Speaking of the May meeting, this is another important one. Next month we will be voting on two new board members. The Presidential and Secretary positions are up for grabs to anyone in the club. We already took some nominations at the April meeting. Some of the nominations were vehemently rejected while other were eagerly accepted. Currently on the ballot is Scott Westphal for President and Mike Udey. Of course, these are just two options, so if you have other nominations or think you’d fill the position well yourself be sure to stop by the May meeting to have your voice heard.

Last on the meeting agenda was the SOB 30th Anniversary party. We’re still in the planning process and are working out some of the important dates but will let you know as soon as we know! What we do have set in stone is that there will be a grand celebration on June 26th at Fifth Ward in all of the grand SOB fashion. There will be SOB merchandise, pictures form years gone by, beers of every color and bitterness, and most importantly there will be SOBs of all generations. We also know that along with the celebration we are collaborating with 3 of the Oshkosh breweries to have an SOB beer brewed and released on premise; at Fifth Ward Mike Engel will be brewing his famous pumpernickel rye beer to be so aptly named Buffalo Mike’s Last Ride (at least that’s what we all want it to be named), Al Jacobson will be brewing a spiced ale at Barebones, and Logan Anderson will be brewing a kellerbier with Fox River. Although we don’t have exact dates for all of these releases, yet we are looking to release in mid to late June. Stay tuned for more details. For now, that’s all we have for you. We are excited to be back to live meetings and hope you are too. We’ll see you all in a few weeks!

Jan 2021 meeting

The SOBs started 2021 out on slightly different note than usual. As compared to our normal holiday partying, our January meeting was a little more organized and informational. We hosted Bobby, owner of McFleshman’s Brewery in Appleton. Here is what Bobby had to say:
McFleshman’s started out as a brewery focused on traditional German and English beers and has remained true to that calling. In their hand-crafted brewery and taproom, you’ll find an impressive juxtaposition of German and English cultures; a stained-glass German image hangs behind numerous beer engines, instruments (ready to be played by anyone who can tune one) adorn the wood worked walls, while a hop laden biergarten sits in the bright southern sun. Although Bobby freshly refurbished the building that would house his brewery the brick and mortar is not unaccustomed to the smell of malt and hops as McFleshman’s is the 9th beer related business to be located at 115 State St. The location once used by Calumet County Brewery and as a Blatz distribution center now holds a copper gilded brewery and numerous taps.
Bobby began his brewing journey long before opening McFleshman’s. As he traversed textbooks on his quest to becoming an astrophysicist, he occasionally reduced his rent by brewing his now famous English Bitter, MSB, for his English landlord. After a spurt in academia, he decided to expand on his homebrewing passion by opening a brewery in the heart of Appleton, Wisconsin. Here he has partnered with local colleges to create one of the most true- to-tradition breweries in the area.
Bobby’s Czech built brewery is designed for decoction mashing to increase malty, bready flavors and satiating the lager lovers of the region. As a lager lover, I can only dream of so many homebrewed lagers. He says that beyond the ability to make lagers there is a stark difference from homebrewing and commercial brewing. In homebrewing we tend to go big and bold, holding nothing back. While in commercial brewing you need to consider a large audience. In commercial batches mindfulness needs to be adhered to in hop additions as lower IBUs are required due to higher hop utilization and a lot more yeast needs to be pitched to start a strong fermentation. But one thing remains constant – in recipe building less is often more as complex flavors are achieved through subtle malt and hop additions. With a little luck, like with Something Amber Vienna Lager, mixing fewer local malts to create a malty and delicious beer can be a winner in only a few batches. Even with many successes and GABF awards, Bobby still attributes connecting with homebrewers as one of the biggest rewards of big -time brewing.
As homebrewers we have begun to associate sour beers with craft, fruit ales with little room for tradition. In Bobby’s mind sours like lambics are at the heart of his traditional brewery, which is why he plans to team up with Appleton Beer Factory to deliver a new sour beer program. Moreover, the Dr. of Astrophysics (and beer) plans to install horizontal lagering fermenters. This will allow him more room for lagering German styles and to skim off fresh yeast for future repitching. Most of us think of immediate repitching but Bobby is once again looking to team up with Appleton Beer Factory to build a propagator that will increase healthy yeast cells by continually pouring in heat and oxygen. Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the beehives perched atop the white clad roofs of the McFleshman’s building. Last year the bees produced 200 lbs. of honey, which Bobby hopes to turn into mead in future years.

In all, we cannot compliment Bobby’s brewing or brewery enough. Many great beers have come from his 3-year-old brewery and we expect more to come. Even non-traditional styles seem to be amazing when brewed at McFleshman’s, which is why we raffled off 3 Black is Beautiful Imperial Stouts brewed at McFleshman’s. Congratulations to our winners and we can’t wait to see you all again soon.

October 2020 Meeting

SOB October 20 GM Minutes

This month, a virtual meeting took place and a total of 8 members were in attendance via the Zoom format. We marveled at the medicinal drug, er beer cabinet, that Chuck was in front of. Here’s what we discussed (while drinking our beverage of choice):

  • From here on out, we will hold meetings virtually until it’s considered safe to hold them live.
  • Unfortunately, the Christmas party is put on hold until its safe to do so. We’ll schedule it as soon as we can. The board will discuss a re-scheduling of the wine, cider, mead competition as well.
  • We are holding dues to the $10 mark until the end of the year. That’s a deal! Please send to Treasurer Kurt Weina.
  • Dick Waltenberry’s winning entry in our recent beer competition, an English Porter, was brewed several weeks ago at Fox River in Oshkosh and will hit the tap line in a few weeks. We’ll send out an email once it’s available.
  • We discussed the rise in home brewing during the pandemic and an idea was brought forth to hold a “beer share” among our membership. Quite simply, it would involve signing people up and then bringing the beers to a central location (we discussed Fox River during Dick’s opening day beer release) for distribution. Everyone liked that idea with at least 6 people stating they would like to get in on it. Link to sign-up in this blast below.
  • President and Secretary elections in January. Mike is stepping down and Logan may not have time to continue in his position, although he has done a great job and we think he should stay! Please consider these positions as your next opportunity to continue the great fun of the SOB!
  • During our open forum, a few items of note: FW’s Buffalo Plaid is back, along with Double Oat 7 and Infinity Crisis, a Chocolate Amber. And, just yesterday, Blueberry Pancake Stout!

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