|A 1919 Ad for Homebrewing Recipes|
from the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern
With the onset of Prohibition, the homebrewing scene in Oshkosh quickly became established. Four months after the dry law had been enacted the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern ran a story about the rise of homebrewing, pointing out that “effort is being made to brew beer, but it is mostly for home consumption and therefore the violation is not likely to get to the attention of the authorities, unless somebody ‘tips off’ the game.” An indication of how popular homebrewing rapidly became in Oshkosh was shown in 1921. In June of that year, when Wisconsin Governor John J. Blaine proposed a change to the enforcement of Prohibition law that would exclude the production of home made beer, the Northwestern ran a banner headline celebrating the proposal. Homebrewing had become big news in Oshkosh.
|Oshkosh Daily Northwestern June 7, 1921|
There’s little, however, in the public record that addresses the actual beer of that time or how it was brewed. And there are few who recall those early days of homebrewing. Here in Oshkosh, though, we’re lucky to have someone who remembers it all quite well. And that brings us back to Clarence “Inky” Jungwirth. Inky was born in Oshkosh in 1919 and the first beer he tasted was homebrew. Inky, remembers that “My uncles got me drunk at the age of 12. Not falling down drunk, but I was feeling gay as hell.” The homebrew Inky remembers was a pale, German style brew. Most likely, this beer was fermented with lager yeast at cellar temperatures. He says “My Grandpa had a basement and he’d ferment his beer in big crock jars. My Grandpa had crocks upon crocks of beer at his house. They even had their own bottling process.”