Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Couple Beers for Labor Day Weekend in Oshkosh

Labor Day weekend is upon us. Time to think about what you’ll drink. You going to try slugging down an oily imperial stout while you stare at the grill watching your meat burn? Hell with that. Grab a real beer; as in a beer your father would recognize as beer. Wrap your hand around a nice, cold pilsner. Right now in Oshkosh, we have a couple prime examples of just how tasty a traditional pilsner beer can be. There’s a reason this beer style conquered the world. Let’s quench some thirst…

Fox River Brewing Company German Pilsner
Within the pilsner style there's a subset of beers that range light-blonde to deep-gold in color. Where they differ is in their balance of malt and hops. The German-style pilsner leans to the maltier side. This pils from Fox River Brewing gets that just right. It’s  a golden beer that pours with a pillow of white foam that lingers to the dregs. The aroma reminded me of soda crackers with a dash of fresh pepper. The beer is medium-bodied with a fresh-malt flavor that’s grainy and light. Those malt notes are balanced by a relatively firm bitterness that doesn’t present itself until the very end. Crisp and exceptionally clean, I can’t think of any food that this beer wouldn’t pair well with. They’re selling German Pilsner at Fratellos in Oshkosh in pints and in take-home growlers.

Side Note: Last month, they installed a new draught system behind the bar in the restaurant portion of Fratellos. The beer coming out of those lines has been noticeably better. Along with the new system, they also added four more tap handles bringing the number of beers they have on draught to 13. If you haven’t checked out what’s happening there lately, give it a shot. What you find might surprise you.

New Glarus Hometown Blonde
Here’s another German-style pilsner, but one that leans a wee bit more towards the hop-side of things. This is a seasonal offering from New Glarus and, to me at least, this year’s version seems more robust than last year’s. I like that. It’s a clear, straw-colored beer that sends a cascade of bubbles up from the bottom of the glass to create a creamy head of white foam. The aroma is akin to white bread under a grassy, almost lemony note from the hops. The beer is intensely carbonated and crisp with a mild biscuit-like malt flavor. The hops come across brightly with more of that grass along with a subtle minty tatse. There’s a pleasing and lingering bitterness to the finish that makes this beer another great match for all types of food. This is an exceptional lager that even your Lite-beer loving friends will probably warm to. Hometown Blonde is all over the place: gas stations, grocery stores... it’s easy to locate this one in Oshkosh.

Have a great weekend and don’t burn those brats. Prost!

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