Thursday, September 30, 2010

Oshkosh Beer of the Week: Wisconsin Beer

Yesterday I went to Dublin’s for lunch. I ordered an O’so Night Train Porter to go with my meal. It was the first time since April that I’d had a Night Train and when I took that initial draw it was like meeting up with an old friend. I drank a lot of this last winter, but I’d forgotten what a fine beer it is. It’s full and creamy with a pleasant roastiness that stops just short of being sharp. It’s a beer that’s great for keeping around the house and dipping into every day. It has more than enough flavor complexity to keep you interested, but it’s not so loud that it wears on you.

Over the past week I’ve had a number of excellent beers in Oshkosh that were all in this same vein. There was the Chief Black Hawk Porter from Tyranena that Becket’s has going, Potosi’s Gandy Dancer Porter at Oblio’s, Central Waters’ Oktoberfest, the Dark Lager at Fratellos and now I see that O’Marro’s has O’so’s Rusty Red on tap. These are beers that aren’t extreme or flashy enough to generate the sort of hype that gets everyone cackling, but they’re each so good in their own way that to take any of them for granted would be a mistake. And they’re all from Wisconsin.

There’s a lot of great beer being made in Wisconsin right now and because it’s so easy for us to get it’s also easy to forget how lucky we are to have it. I was thinking about this a couple weeks ago when I heard stories from the Great American Beer Festival about how the lines in front of the New Glarus booth were 100 people deep before they even began pouring. It’s hard to imagine waiting in a line like that to get a small sample of a beer that we can buy at most any grocery store or gas station in Oshkosh whenever the urge strikes us. And when I was in Asheville, NC last month and told people I was from Wisconsin, all they wanted to talk about was the beer we have here. One guy, who was working at what is probably the best beer store I’ve ever been in, actually made me promise him that if I ever visited again, I’d bring him beer from Wisconsin. Asheville, by the way, was again named the top beer city in America this year. These aren’t people who are deprived of good beer.

The point I’m trying to make is that we ought to take the time to appreciate what’s going on around here. You and I are living in one of the best places in the world to drink beer. Without a doubt, this is a golden age. And if there’s one thing history makes clear, it’s that golden ages do not last. We're fortunate. Let's enjoy this while we can.

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