Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wisco-Deutsch Brew

Here’s a couple beers floating around Oshkosh at the moment that borrow a page from the German recipe book. But it seems like the brewers were seeing double when they read the recipes. And to good effect! These are Wisco-brewed lagers caught in the act of pulling the rug out from beneath a couple of traditional, German favorites. Das ist gutes Bier!

Capital Brewery’s Fishin' In The Dark
Capital is calling this an imperial schwarzbier. A typical schwarzbier is an easy-drinking, black lager with an emphasis on malt flavor. They usually run about 5% ABV. Capital takes an American craft beer approach. They ditch the subtly and go for the throat. The beer is nearly black with a rocky head of tan foam. The aroma is terrific: intensely bready (as in the fresh baked kind) with caramel and chocolate notes swirling in. The aroma comes through in the taste along with a hit of malted-milk sweetness that turns raisin-like as you drink the glass down. At 7.5% ABV, the alcohol isn’t hidden, but it pairs well with those dark-malt flavors. This is a full-bodied beer with a firmly bitter finish that makes for an overall clean impression. I love it! Gardina’s has Fishin' In The Dark on tap (at least they did as of yesterday afternoon). You can also get it at Festival Foods in Oshkosh where they sell it in 4-packs for $8.49.

Leinenkugel’s Big Eddy Über-Oktoberfest
Here’s another one that takes a staid style and goes hog wild. This starts out looking like a typical festbier. It has a pretty, deep-amber hue with a nice, off-white head. Things begin to switch up with the aroma. The moderate toasted malt notes you expect from a good Oktoberfest are amplified into a blast of sweet malt and toffee. The flavor starts honey-like and sweet with an almost thick mouthfeel. It would be too much, if it weren’t so beautifully balanced by the hops. There’s a strong noble hop presence that’s spicy and earthy and adds a wonderful complexity. At 8.5% it’s surprisingly drinkable, too. I’ve seen this beer at a few places in town, including Festival where 4-packs are being sold for $10.49.

You can’t go wrong with either of these beers. And they'll both go well with the cool weekend we have ahead us. Prost!

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