The First Wet-Hopped Beer Comes to Oshkosh
The hop harvesting season is nearly upon us in Oshkosh and there'll soon be a few local homebrewers making beer with hops they've plucked fresh from the vine. Well, that ain't nothin' new. This is an advertisement that ran in the Oshkosh Northwestern on July 10, 1957 and it claims that Tempo was the first beer to be brewed with fresh hops, as opposed to the dried hops brewers typically use. That's wrong. The first people to stumble upon the realization that hops added something good to their brews certainly hadn't gone to the trouble of drying them out. That came later. Truth be damned, it remains impressive that Blatz was marketing a wet-hopped beer here in Oshkosh more than 50 years ago. But you've got to wonder just how "fresh" those hops could have been. They were selling this beer in July, hardly the time of year for fresh hops in Wisconsin. The problem is, fresh hops don't hold up very well. You need to go from the hop plant to the kettle in just a few hours. If you miss that window of opportunity your beer ends up tasting as if you brewed it with lawn clippings. Still, you've got to admire the Blatz chutzpah. How many brewers these days would dare to run an advertisement for their beer claiming "It's the world's greatest beer"! By the way, there's an excellent beer bar in Milwaukee named the Bomb Shelter that supposedly has an old bottle of this floating around in their collection. Unfortunately, I've heard it's empty. But of course, it’s empty. You wouldn't expect the world's greatest beer to have gone unopened, would you?
SoBe and the Oshkosh Brewing Connection
|Thomas Hardy Schwalm|