Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Getting Cozy on Main Street, 1902

Fancy beer bars are hardly a new phenomenon on Main Street in Oshkosh. Here's one that was pouring the good stuff back in 1902. Enter the Little Cozy Sample Room…

The Little Cozy was located at what is now 216 N. Main Street. The building still stands. City records show it was constructed in 1900. I suspect it's actually a little older than that. It's now home to Screwballs Sports Pub.  The red arrow points the way in.

As you walked in you'd see the bar. In back was a sitting area where you could enjoy a drink, act civilized, and hawk loogies into spittoons.

Flying spit aside, this was a class joint. "A Specialty of High Grade Goods only..." This ad is from 1902.

The property's inner space was split down the middle. The sample room occupied the south half. The north half held a dining room. The picture below was taken in the dining area. Apparently, the mucus didn't flow as freely on this side of the wall.

Bert Gough and George Miller opened The Little Cozy in 1901. Both were the offspring of German immigrants. Bert Gough was 33 and born in LaCrosse. He'd been in the saloon business in Oshkosh for years. When The Little Cozy opened, Gough took up residence in a room above the bar.

George Miller was 25 and born in Fond du Lac. He was still a boy when his father died. After that, the family moved up here. He was living with his widowed mother. Maggie, over on Broad Street and working in a hotel when he and Gough launched The Little Cozy. This was his first stint managing a bar.

The Miller-Gough partnership didn't last. Gough was a transient saloonist moving from place to place. A couple years was all he lasted at The Little Cozy. Miller took on a new partner, John Larie; another veteran Oshkosh saloon man. Miller and Larie beefed things up, saying in 1905 that "They have entirely transformed The Little Cozy and have gone to much expense and spared no effort... The Little Cozy is new from one end to the other."

This was a fascinating period for Oshkosh gastronomy. Below we have the full Little Cozy menu.  This was published in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern on October 28, 1905.  Click the image to enlarge it or do a right-click download for an even better view.

Digging down into the wine list, we find beer. On the restaurant side, there was no beer on tap, only bottled beer. This was typical of restaurants trying to project an upscale image. Bottled beer was comparatively rare. Draft beer was the norm. Bottled beer was a luxury item and presented in a haze of folderal about it being purer than the kegged stuff.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, July 21, 1906.

Customers paid dearly for that bit of bullshit. Here's The Little Cozy's bottle list.

Budweiser, Pabst, and Schlitz may not impress you today, but in 1905 this was premium beer. And at 15 cents a pint, it was three times what you'd pay for that same beer on draught. Oshkosh Select was brewed by the Oshkosh Brewing Company. It was one of five beers the brewery produced during this period. Select was OBC’s premium bottled beer.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, August 7, 1907
The beer that grabs me on that list is White Label Bass Ale served up in pints and 7-ounce nips. This was a beer with little resemblance to the Bass Ale available these days. White Label Bass was brewed in  Burton on Trent, England and bottled in the U.S. by Thomas McMullen & Co. of New York. The White Label Bass Ale served in Oshkosh was pale amber, 7.25% ABV, and, in comparison to other beers on that list, hopped to the gills.

The Little Cozy did quite well. Nonetheless, Miller and Larie parted company in 1908. Miller then partnered with Byron Luther, the brother of his wife Enda. In 1910, they expanded into the property one door north, the former Greenwood Inn. Now with rooms to let alongside the restaurant and sample room, the operation was no longer little or cozy. In 1910, Miller and Luther rechristened the business as the Brunswick Hotel and Cafe. It was styled as a European Hotel specializing in German cuisine.

The sample-room days were coming to an end. In 1913, Miller closed the saloon and put the Brunswick Barbershop in its place. With Prohibition a looming threat, it probably seemed like the sensible thing to do. It would be 90 years before there was another tavern at 216 N. Main.

Miller left Oshkosh in 1919. He moved to Los Angeles where he continued in the hotel business. He died there in 1957 at the age of 81.

Meanwhile back in Oshkosh, the old Little Cozy was all but forgotten. The space was inhabited by a series of meat markets, dress, and dry-goods stores. The building was purchased by the Oshkosh Brewing Company in 1927 which held it until 1963. For much of that time, the property was leased to the Montgomery Wards Catalog Store. Ho Hum.

North Main Street, 1950
Finally, in 2003 there was a bar there again when Screwballs Sports Club opened. The Chief Oshkosh Saloon was there for a brief time in 2010, which gave way to the Old Oshkosh Saloon for a couple years, before it became Screwballs once again. And so it remains. You can still get Budweiser at Screwballs, but that good Bass Ale and Oshkosh Select are long gone.  It’s a whole different world.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Beer Here: Bare Bones Nemesis Brown Ale

Wednesday, August 8, Bare Bones Brewery is partnering with the Oshkosh Area Humane Society for the release of Nemesis, a brown ale. Nemesis begins pouring at 6 p.m. with 10% of the evening's sales going to the Humane Society.

The Beer
Nemesis is an English-style brown ale, a style of beer rarely brewed around here. It's been years since we've seen one made in Oshkosh. It's a style that favors malt and Nemesis does just that, with notes of caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Despite that malt complexity, though, the beer is exceedingly quaffable. There’s plenty of flavor interest, but nothing that overwhelms the palate. This a true session ale at 4.4% ABV.

This is a beer with some roots. Nemesis was made using English malts and an English yeast strain that's purported to have been sourced from London's storied Whitbread Brewery. Whitbread was among the first breweries to produce the style when the modern brown ale emerged in the early 1920s. Something to chew on when your downing of few pints of Nemesis.

The Backstory
Nemesis was brewed by Jody Cleveland, the new head brewer at Bare Bones. And it’s the first time since taking over there that he’s produced a beer from his own recipe. It's no accident that Cleveland decided to start with a sessions beer. He came in as head brewer on May 1, with the idea of introducing more variety into a line-up that’s had a surplus of IPA and high-alcohol beers. “We'll still have our share of big and bold beers, but we need to have more balance here,” Cleveland says. We're going to strive for a more varied lineup. I want us to have something for everybody who comes in.”

Jody Cleveland
Cleveland began brewing professionally in 2016 when he started at Bare Bones as an assistant brewer. Later in 2016, he moved over to Fox River Brewing where he was an assistant brewer until April of this year. During the same period, Cleveland continued brewing at home on an electric one-barrel system he designed. It was on that system that he worked up the recipe for Nemesis.

"It's a beer I've been working on for four or five years now,” Cleveland says. I've always loved that style, but when I started brewing it I didn't like many of the commercial examples that were available around here. It kind of became an obsession to perfect this recipe. I wanted to make one that I liked. I'd love for it to be an ongoing beer, but we'll have to find out what customers think of it."

Nemesis marks the beginning of a turning point for Bare Bones, which opened in 2015. Much of the current line-up at the brewery’s tap room was produced by RJ Nordlund, who left Bare Bones in April with plans to launch a brewery in Michigan. Cleveland’s beers are just now coming to the fore at Bare Bones. The next few months should prove to be interesting there.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Beer Here: HighHolder's Opening Line-up

HighHolder Brewing Company will have its grand opening at O'Marro's Public House on Saturday, August 11, at 3 p.m. This will be the first time, since the brewery officially opened in March, that Oshkosh's lone nano-brewery will have multiple beers on tap. 

The Beer...
HighHolder has been stocking up and will release five beers for the grand opening: Borderlands, a dark, German-style altbier; EWECO, a New England style IPA; Raspberry Slide, a wheat ale conditioned on raspberries; Up N Down, a German-style Kölsch beer; and The Inky, an 8% ABV imperial milk stout. The Inky has been aged on vanilla and will start pouring as a special release at 6 p.m. Flights will be available.

The Backstory...
HighHolder Brewing is located at 221 Oregon Street, in a suite behind O'Marro's Public House. Launched by Mike Schlosser and Shawn O'Marro this is Oshkosh's first nano-brewery – loosely defined as a brewery that makes its beer in batch sizes of about three barrels or less. Those small batches have been met with enthusiasm. Each beer HighHolder has released has been finished off in less than a week. And that's left gaps where the brewery has had no beer available for sale. I asked Schlosser if those dry periods have been frustrating.

"It was at first," he said. "I wanted to always have our stuff available, but the reality is that it's just not possible at this point. We've been trying to tell people that when you see we've got it, come on in because it'll be gone next week."

Shawn O'Marro (left) and Mike Schlosser in the HighHolder Brewhouse
Nearly all of the brewery's production has been poured at O'Marro Public House. O'Marro says his customers have been understanding when they've come in to find they can't get a HighHolder. "Nobody really gives us too hard a time about it," he says. "And it's been kind of cool to see people getting excited when we do get a new beer out."

All of which should go to make the grand opening seem like a feast. And those periods of famine may be coming to end before too long. Just six months after its opening, HighHolder is planning an expansion. "We're looking to keep it a nano, but we're probably going to step up to a 3.5 barrel system," Schlosser says. "It's not a done deal, but that's where we're headed."

In the meantime, there are those five beers waiting in the pipeline for the grand opening. In addition to the HighHolder beer, there will be food, games, and live music by The MadPolecats and Swamp Water Boogie with special guest Max Jones. For more info, check in at the Facebook event page.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Oshkosh 2018

For the first time since 1894, we have four breweries in Oshkosh. But the beer scene here today is nothing like that of the earlier period. In fact, what's happening now bears little resemblance to any previous era of brewing in this city. The differences are stark.

Brewers at the Gambrinus Brewery in Oshkosh, 1893
In 1894, Oshkosh was home to Horn and Schwalm's Brooklyn Brewery, John Glatz and Son’s Union Brewery, Lorenz Kuenzl's Gambrinus Brewery, and the Rahr Brewing Company. Today, we have Fox River Brewing, Bare Bones Brewery, Fifth Ward Brewing, and HighHolder Brewing.

Jody Cleveland, head brewer at Bare Bones Brewery, Oshkosh, 2018.
Scale is the most obvious point of contrast. The older breweries were much larger. The combined output of the four 1894 breweries exceeded 15,000 barrels. Production was growing by leaps and bounds. Most of the beer consumed in this city came out of those four breweries.

The Glatz Brewery, Oshkosh.
This year, there will be about 2,000 barrels of beer produced in Oshkosh. At the moment, production growth is steady but limited. It's safe to say that less than 5% of the beer now consumed here is made by our local breweries. And the beer they produce is vastly different from that of the earlier period.

A transplant from 1894 would hardly recognize much of what we call beer today in Oshkosh’s brewery taprooms. The lagers that were standard here for more than 100 years are no longer made. Today, ale brewing is predominant. These beers tend to be more bitter and much stronger. The average lager produced in Oshkosh at the turn of the century was around 5% ABV. Last week, the average beer offered by an Oshkosh brewery in its taproom was 6.5% ABV. It used to be rare to see a beer north of 6% ABV here. Now, they're altogether common.

1917 Oshkosh Strong an 8.4% ABV Imperial Stout, Fox River Brewing.
What goes into the current beers also sets them apart. In the 1890s, most Oshkosh beer was made using five standard ingredients: water, malted barley, corn grits, hops, and yeast. With the exception of hops – hop farming had died out in Winnebago County by the 1890s – the ingredients were sourced locally. The six-row barley grown in the county then was altogether different from the barley grown today. Brewers here loved it. It lent their beer a characteristic flavor imparted by the soil, climate, and growing practices of area farmers. Typically, the brewers here did their own malting, which further contributed to the unique character of the local beer.

All of that is long gone. The basic ingredients used today are commoditized products and uniform to a degree that was impossible to achieve a century ago. That may explain, in part, why flavorants, spices, and other food products have come to play such a prominent role in the beer made in Oshkosh today. This has been a swift and dramatic break with the past.

The evolution Fox River Brewing is illustrative here. When Fox River opened in 1995, the brewery – like almost every other that launched in the 1990s –  made a selling point of the fact that its beer would be made using only "traditional" ingredients. That stance was typical. At the time, craft breweries were doing all they could to differentiate their beer from mass-produced lager. A decade later, Fox River came out with Blu Bobber, a beer made with Blueberry concentrate. Today, Blu Bobber is the best selling beer produced by an Oshkosh brewery. The idea of an American craft brewery rejecting the use of these non-traditional ingredients now seems quaint.

Today, almost anything goes. A wide array of adjuncts are used here. The following is an abbreviated list of food products that have found their way into Oshkosh-brewed beers in the last 6 months or so.

Lime Juice Concentrate. Chocolate. Sea Salt. Raspberry Juice Concentrate. Powdered Jalapeño. Cinnamon. Cherry Juice Concentrate. Chili Peppers. Blueberry Juice Concentrate. Orange Zest. Milk Sugar. Saffron. Passion Fruit Concentrate. Mint. Strawberry Juice Concentrate. Vanilla. Honey...

HighHolder Brewing’s Screamsycle
If there's one aspect of the current scene that does recall the earlier period, it's in the way beer is dispensed. In 1894, beer packaged in bottles was a minor component. The vast majority of Oshkosh-brewed beer was served from kegs. It's a rather similar situation today, with most of the beer made locally served on draught. Again, though, a visitor from 1894 would be confused. Instead of walking into a taproom and finding people slugging down amber fluid from brimming schooners, they'd likely encounter a line of folks at the bar sniffing over a row of petite sampler cups and tapping obsessively at their phones.

Our engagement with beer is similarly constricted. The average 1890s beer drinker imbibed with more frequency than we do. Beer was less an event and more of a companion. For working people, a typical noon lunch break in Oshkosh entailed a trip to the saloon for a few mugs of fresh lager. No more. Show up at the job with beer on your breath these days and you'll be branded an addict. But there was a time when it wasn't beyond the pale to suggest that a nice glass of beer was an altogether sensible way to begin the day.

From an Oshkosh Brewing Company ad that appeared in the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, September 24, 1913.
Is what’s happening now good? Is it bad? Do such judgments even matter? That's always and entirely for you to decide. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. The one thing I can say for sure is that it will not last. Enjoy this moment. And if you don't like it, wait. It's going to change soon enough. It always does.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Beer Here: Independence Haze

Last Week, Fox River Brewing introduced Independence Haze, the brewery’s first New England-style IPA.

It looks about right: lemon-yellow and appropriately hazy. The aroma is intense, a plume of tangerine, pineapple, and kiwi. Those same juicy-fruit notes rule the palate, with a dab of cracker-like malt running in the background. My only quibble is the mouthfeel. I would have liked a creamier texture. The finish is dry, clean, and bright with a gentle smear of bitterness. At 6% ABV, it’s not too imposing. If you don't think of yourself as being into IPA, this might be the beer to revisit your assumptions with.

The New England IPA (NEIPA) came to prominence on the east coast; the first iterations being brewed in Vermont in 2010. In recent years, the style has become a national phenomenon. But not without controversy. These beers tend to be exceedingly hazy, a consequence of the process used to create them. That cloudy appearance and lack of bitterness doesn't sit well with some fans of American IPA. Yet its that soft bitterness coupled with lush hop flavor that makes converts of those who, in the past, steered clear of conventional IPAs.

In Oshkosh, the first commercial brewery to take on this style was HighHolder Brewing. Earlier this year, HighHolder released EWECO, a NEIPA, as a one-off for the Fox Valley Winter Beer Festival. Fox River's Independence Haze is the first NEIPA produced in Oshkosh that’s been released to the general public.

Fox River assistant brewer Cullen Dunn brewed Independence Haze on July 4, 2018. "We had an opening in the schedule we didn't think we'd have," Dunn says. "And we had a decent amount of really good hops on hand, so..."

It wasn't all happenstance. Dunn's been workshopping the beer for about a year. "It's loosely based on a beer I've been brewing at home, but I wanted something that would also seem familiar to customers at Fox River," he says. "I didn't want to go completely off the reservation."

Cullen Dunn

Part of what makes NEIPAs so different is the hopping regimen. Most of the hops are applied in bursts while the wort is cooling and again when the beer is in the fermentor. For Independence Haze, Fox River used Amarillo, Citra, and Mosaic hops.

"There's no original bittering addition on this,” Dunn says. “We did two separate whirlpool additions, then a dry hop at yeast pitch, and then another when fermentation was underway, and another at day two of fermentation." In all, 32 pounds of hops went into the 10-barrel batch of beer. "It's insane," Dunn says.

He's happy with the results. "I'd like to reduce the bitterness even more and make the haze even more significant, but I like it. It helps that it's so fresh."

The 29-year-old Dunn has been at Fox River since 2015. This was his first recipe produced by the brewery and probably his last. In August, Dunn begins work as a brewer at Karben4 Brewing in Madison.

Independence Haze is currently available on draft in the taproom at Fox River Brewing in Oshkosh.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Lost on Ceape

Forget Sawdust City, they should have called it Saloon City. From the jump, Oshkosh was crowded with beer joints. There have been hundreds of them. They all have their stories. Do a little poking around into any of the old places and all sorts of peculiar stuff comes oozing out.

On the north side of Ceape Avenue between Court and State, was a forgotten place that used to burst with local color. You’d never guess it was once so. What’s there now is nothing. It’s a parking lot. The red rectangle shows the location...

That lot was home to a series of saloons. The first of them was run by a Canadian expat named George Condie. He began slinging beer around there in the late 1860s. Condie lived at the saloon with his wife, Wilhelmine, and their four kids. They seemed to do okay. In 1874, Condie bought the bigger building next door and moved his saloon in there.

A. Ruger's 1867 Bird's Eye View of Oshkosh. The red dot is at the doorstep of Condie's Saloon

Condie's new saloon got burned out six months after he moved into it. The fifth and worst of Oshkosh's great fires ripped through the city on the windy Wednesday of April 28, 1875. The fire started at the Morgan Brothers mill on the Fox River. From there it ran east in a quarter-mile-wide column all the way to Bowen. Almost everything between Ceape and Washington was torched. Condie's Saloon was leveled.

The path of the 1875 fire.

The aftermath of the 1875 fire.

Condie rebuilt. Bigger and better. The new place was brick, two-stories with the saloon below and rooms above. It cost them $4,000. I've been hunting for a picture of the full building and haven't found a thing. That's not too surprising. Condie's saloon was not the sort of place that would have attracted photographers. In the 1870s, this was a gritty part of town. That stretch of Ceape was lined with cigar factories, saloons, and mills. Lots of smoke. Muddy streets decked with horse shit and plenty of drunks.

The rotten ambiance may have gotten the best of the Condies. George and Wilhelmine could not get along. George appears to have been something of a layabout. Wilhelmine was anything but. Born in Prussia in 1829, she was eight years older than her husband. Wilhelmine was independent. She sometimes used her maiden name - Gustavus. She had an outside job running the saloon at the International Hotel on 7th and South Main. Their marriage seems to have been on the skids even before the great fire. The relationship came permanently undone in the spring of 1877. The Daily Northwestern made a comedy of it.

There was a husky time in Justice Sarau's office in the afternoon. It seems that Mrs. Gustavus, who runs the International Hotel, had a falling out with her husband, Geo. Condie, and bounced him out of the house. George took possession of the horse, and the present case was brought on by a replevin sworn out for the return of the animal. Mrs. G. was exceedingly wrathy, and she applied to her liege lord and master all the invectives and scathing epithets that the female tongue is heir to — and it is sometimes a million-heir in such cases.
    - Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, May 17, 1877

Wilhelmine meant business. For the next four months, she ran notices like this one in the Daily Northwestern.

Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, June 16, 1877.

The divorce of George and Wilhelmine Condie was finalized in 1879. Wilhelmine got the saloon. She and her daughter Amelia ran it through the remainder of the 1870s and into the 1880s. It was one of the few times before the turn of the century that an Oshkosh saloon was owned and operated by women. They presented it as a contrast to the crude barrelhouses commonplace in Oshkosh's old Second Ward.

An ad from the 1880 Oshkosh City Directory showing the old address.

It was all good until the winter of 1883. Around Christmastime, Wilhelmine became ill. She had cancer. She transferred ownership of the property to her children in April 1884 and died a month later in her room above the saloon. Wilhelmine Gustavus was 55 years old.

Her kids held onto the saloon, but now someone else was running it.

Wisconsin Telegraph, October 10, 1884.

Charles Maulick was a 26-year-old German immigrant with no prior saloon experience. He'd been working at an Oshkosh tannery before settling in on Ceape. He changed the name of the bar to Mechanic's Home, an homage of sorts to the laborers, often referred to as mechanics, working in the neighborhood. At the same time, Maulick maintained the upscale burnish. The Wisconsin Telegraph advert says something like, “The house is completely new and comfortable in the center of the city and offers all the modern conveniences.”

Maulick remained less than a year. He left in the Spring of 1885 for a new building on North Main Street designed by Oshkosh architect William Waters. Maulick, with the help of Schlitz Brewing, would create something of a minor empire based on beer there. Today we know that place as Oblio's Lounge.

After Maulick, the saloon at what was then 47 Ceape went through a couple proprietors and a couple years of flux. The upscale aspirations were discarded. There was no sense denying that this place, in the heart of an industrial district, was not much of a lure for free-spending business travelers. The furnished rooms above were converted into a cigar factory. An 1885 insurance map shows the saloon boxed in by large-scale manufacturing facilities. The red arrow points the way in...

Wilhelmine Gustavus' children decided to cash out. In July 1887, the saloon was sold to an Irish Immigrant named John O'Brien.

O'Brien arrived in Oshkosh in the early 1860s when he was in his 20s. He spent the next couple decades working as a drayman trucking freight around town on a horse-drawn wagon. He was 50-years old when he bought out the Gustavus family. John O'Brein's Saloon was a workingman's bar through and through. A train spur ran right past its front door. And contraptions like this one boomed and blew smoke next door...

In that image, you can see the east side of O'Brien's Saloon with an indecipherable beer sign hung on the corner of his brick building. The picture is from the early 1890s. No doubt, we're seeing a number of  O'Brien's clientele standing there.

John O'Brien's son Edward was 11 when the family moved in above the saloon. When he came of age, Edward began working the bar and when John O'Brien died in 1909, Edward took over. Shortly after, he was approached by the Oshkosh Brewing Company (OBC).

In 1909, OBC had a stranglehold on the beer business in Oshkosh. Its dominance was built on deals the brewery made with local saloonkeepers. In the case of the O'Brien Saloon, OBC proffered a series of low-interest loans. In return, "the occupant of the first story of the building upon said premises shall use exclusively the beer of the Oshkosh Brewing Co. for the purpose of running the saloon therein." The O'Brien saloon was now tied to OBC.

Signs like this one were often displayed in Oshkosh Brewing Company tied houses during this period.

When Prohibition arrived in1920, it killed the saloon George Condie had built. In the end, it was being run by a man named Bert Gough, who had a long and wonderfully odd career as a saloon man in Oshkosh. When Prohibition hit, Gough moved a couple doors east and opened a speakeasy in a place some may recall as the Court Tavern. Meanwhile, the old saloon at 47 Ceape was swallowed up and gutted by its neighbor, the Universal Motor Company. Later on, beginning in the 1940s, it became a soda bottling plant. By then Wilhelmine Gustavus had been in the ground for 50 years. It's all long gone.

Thursday, March 22, 2018


“Oshkosh brewery and factory whistles expended several thousand pounds of steam in announcing that legal beer will be available within 15 days.”

Oshkosh Brewing Co.

March 22, 1933
More than eight months before the repeal of Prohibition, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Beer and Wine Revenue Act. Beginning on April 7, 1933, the new law would allow for the sale, manufacture, and transport of beer that was 4% ABV or less. Oshkosh rejoiced. Here’s the full report from the evening edition of the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern of March 22, 1933.

A half holiday will be declared for Oshkosh on the day that beer can again be sold legally, Mayor T.G. Brown announced today.

He asserted the holiday will start at 12 o'clock noon, in order that Oshkosh may celebrate the return of what he termed one of its major industries in the reopening of its breweries, of which there are three busily preparing for the great occasion.

“I am calling a holiday, not only because people want good whole-some beer at a moderate price and the government needs the revenue but, because this marks the return of one of the Oshkosh major industries.

"This will employ men locally, has already resulted in expenditure of money, and it, also will supply a market for the farmer’s grain in this vicinity. Thus it is a benefit not only to industry but to agriculture and will furnish, in some measure the relief to agriculture which must form a basis of any sound recovery."

The mayor stated the city has under consideration regulatory local measures for the present soft drink parlors, automatically to become "taverns." He said he is under the impression the state will give considerable leeway to the local governments in this matter.

The city executive obtained actual facts and figures from the local breweries as to the effect of the change in law upon their operations.

The Peoples Brewing company, he said, informed him 20 to 25 men will be hired, 40,000 to 50,000 bushels of barley will be consumed in a year, and about $40,000 already has been expended for new equipment. The Oshkosh Brewing company reported it will hire 50 to 75 men has expended between $30,000 and $40,000 for new equipment.

The Oshkosh Brewing company reported it will hire 50 to 75 men, has expended between $30,000 and $40,000 on new equipment, and will use 60,000 to 80,000 bushels of grain.

The Rahr Brewing company will hire 12 to 15 men and. will use nearly 50,000 bushels of grain a year, they have estimated. They are expending $25,000 in new equipment.

Oshkosh brewery and factory whistles expended several thousand pounds of steam in announcing that legal beer will be available within 15 days. News of the signing of the beer bill was received by The Northwestern at 1:03 p.m. and the message was promptly relayed.
     – Oshkosh Daily Northwestern, March 22, 1933

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

HighHolder Brewing Company of Oshkosh

March 21, 1894. That was the last time Oshkosh had four breweries. Today, there are four breweries here again. HighHolder Brewing Company of Oshkosh, Wisconsin is up and running.

HighHolder brews have made a couple of previous, albeit brief appearances recently, but this past weekend the beer became more widely available. On Friday, HighHolder’s Bloody Sixth Irish Red Ale went on tap at both O'Marro's Public House and The Roxy.

HighHolder is the brainchild of Mike Schlosser and Shawn O'Marro. “We started this idea like 10 years ago,” says Schlosser. "We were really naive.”

Shawn O'Marro (left) and Mike Schlosser

After a name change, a muddle of lawyers, and a tangle of permitting issues, HighHolder received the final piece of its licensing puzzle in February. The brewery is located in the suite behind O'Marro's at 2211 Oregon Street in the Lake Aire Center.

HighHolder becomes Oshkosh's first nano-brewery. Schlosser designed and built the brewery’s one-barrel system. "What we’re trying to do is proof of concept,” says O'Marro. "If this works out the way we think it will, then we’ll take it the next level."

For now, O'Marro's Public House is your best bet for finding HighHolder beer. The next beer up will be a German Altbier. Once the brewery settles into a consistent production schedule, its beers will likely begin pouring in other Oshkosh area bars. Don’t wait for that. Get it now!