Thursday, February 6, 2014

Three Beers To Drink This Weekend in Oshkosh

Last week a pack of new brews arrived on the shelves in town. Here are three that stand out from the rest. Let’s taste some beer.

Black Husky Sproose Joose Double IPA
Black Husky Brewing is a terrific nano brewery out of Pembine in northern Wisconsin. Finding their stuff outside of Pembine, Madison or Milwaukee has been next to impossible, but that’s changed thanks to Adam Carlson at Gardina’s. He’s brought in a couple of Black Husky brews to the retail side of Gardina’s including this Double-IPA beast. Sproose Joose has what the wine folks like to call terroir. This is a beer of the land where it’s brewed. They use locally harvested spruce tips, which gives the beer a gushing woodsy, pine aroma. That scent melds beautifully with the outsized odor of American hops liberally applied. A fairly sweet malt profile supports it all and makes for a beer that’s full bodied, bitter, and very drinkable. At 8.6% ABV and 103 IBUs, this is one the hop heads will want to dive into. In addition to selling 22oz bombers, Gardina’s is also serving Sproose Joose on draught.

Bell’s Hopslam
Another one for the hop mongers. Hopslam has became an annual event for those who love the bitter. Right now, Festival Foods and Gardina’s both have it on their shelves. It’s always interesting to see how this beer changes from one year to the next. This year, it seems sweeter to me. They always dose it with honey, but that hasn’t counted for much in the past. This year, I get the honey. In the end, though, it’s still all about that big wallop of American hops (lotsa Simcoe happening here). Dank, resinous, citrus-like... all the stuff you expect in a gigantic IPA. It’s 10% ABV, it’s chewy and it’s filling. That said, I know a guy who liked it so much that he managed to drink five of them in a sitting. I saw him the next day. He appeared to be in pain. By the way, the new RateBeer rankings just came out and they have this as the fourth best double IPA on the planet and the highest ranking DIPA you can purchase in Oshkosh. Personally, I prefer Sproose Joose to Hopslam. What say you?

New Belgium / Cigar City Lips of Faith Collaboration
Here’s a beer for those of us who’d rather not constantly hammer our palate with lupulin. This is more like a massage... from someone with a million fingers. Ostensibly a pepper beer made with Anaheim and Marash chilies, there’s such an inviting swirl of flavors happening here that’s it’s hard to pin this thing down. It’s just damned good beer. It’s spicy (but not hot), minty and fruity with a lot of peach and apricot jumping around. The hopping is fairly abundant, but not to the point of overriding the beer’s more delicate flavors. Towards the end, I was getting a distinct watermelon, hard-candy flavor; like a Jolly Rancher. It’s a big beer at 8.5% and there’s a lot going on here, but it doesn’t wear you out. I could see myself drinking a couple goblets of this one. This is being sold in 22oz bombers and thus far I’ve only seen it at Festival Foods in Oshkosh. Definitely worth a taste.

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