Thursday, February 3, 2011

Of Beer and Busses and Hatchets Buried

Smoked beer is a fairly rare bird. There aren’t many of them produced and those that are can’t seem to find their way to Oshkosh. But that’s all changed, now... at least for the time being. New Glarus Brewing recently released their Smoked Rye Ale and, for the moment, it’s readily available here in town. If you’ve never indulged in the fuming pleasure of a beer that smells like it spent all night hanging around a campfire, here’s your chance.

Smoked Rye Ale is brewed with smoked malts from Chilton, Wisconsin and Bamberg, Germany and the charred aromatics of those malts are what makes this beer. The nose is so overtly smokey that it’s influence on the taste is nearly overwhelming and if you take this beer in anything other than sips you’re going to feel as if you’re being asphyxiated. Take it slow, though, and you’ll get a nice range of flavors from sweet, dark fruit to barbecue sauce with a finish that’s somewhat sour and a little boozy. It’s an excellent beer, but to take the most from it, pair it with a food that can stand up to its strong flavors. Go with a good smoked cheddar or smoked salmon. Pickled herring makes for a nice match, too. Smoked Rye Ale is available at Festival Foods in Oshkosh and should be making its way to all the other good beer outlets in town soon.

Fond du Lac Brewfest
The big Brewfest in Fondy is this Saturday from 3 to 7pm. There are still a few tickets available at O’Marro’s Public House, so if you’ve been sitting on the fence about this one, it’s time to get off that fence and get on the bus. Shawn at O’Marro’s says he’s added a second bus to the junket that will depart from O’Marro’s Public House 2:00 pm Saturday. It’s shaping up to be a good festival featuring beers from a number of Wisconsin brewers such as Riverside (West Bend), Black Husky (Pembine) and  The Grumpy Troll (Mount Horeb) that you won’t find outside of the small regions they serve. More info here.

Beer Mend
Back in the early 90s, Oshkosh was fortunate to have a couple of newspaper men named Todd Haefer and Jim Lundstrom who were dedicated beer enthusiasts. Lucky for Oshkosh, neither was shy about sharing their passion for good beer in the local paper. Unfortunately, Haefer and Lundstrom had a somewhat public falling out, but all that’s in the past. Well, maybe not all of it. Check out this new article by Lundstrom on the Scene website where Lundstrom gives his side of the story and tells of the recent reunion the two had at O’Marro’s Public House. And take a look at that picture on the left. That’s Lundstrom on the left and Haeffer on the right. But who’s the too-happy guy in the middle wearing the Pabst shirt? They’ll let any kind of freak run loose in this town, won’t they?

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