Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oshkosh Beer of the Week: Capital’s Winter Skal

All week long they’ve been stringing up the Christmas lights in Menominee Park and tonight Oshkosh will have its annual Holiday Parade, but to me these are seemingly random and unrelated events. I know we're on the cusp of winter and the holiday season because last week the shelves of the liquor departments suddenly grew heavy with winter brews wrapped in cozy labels that tell me the season is changing. Winter is here!

I look forward to the rich, strong beers that come flowing into Oshkosh around this time, but the one I like to grab first is Capital Brewing's Winter Skal. This is a tasty, early winter lager helpful for easing you into the short days of the dark season. It has more heft than an Oktoberfest, but less of the chewy malt and alcoholic punch of the brews that make February bearable. It’s a November beer. Skal (a Scandinavian toast to friendship and goodwill) pours a deep copper with a short, tenacious head. The aroma is all sweet malt and bread crust and when the beer is introduced into your being via the largest hole in your face it produces a wonderful sensation. The mouthfeel is just a little bit thick, but not in a burdensome way. The flavor is two parts caramel malt and one part spiced fruit and and it finishes so clean and dry that it makes the next draw inevitable. Good beer!

You can pick up Winter Skal just about everywhere in Oshkosh... grocery stores, gas stations, laundromats (have you visited JT's Wash and Mart on Wisconsin Street?). And while you’re out there doing your week-end beer shopping take a look at all the holiday beers that have arrived. The other day I was doing my usual milling around in the liquor isles and saw Bell's Winter White Ale, Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale, Big Sky’s Powder Horn Winter Ale, Lakefront’s Holiday Spice Lager, Point’s St. Benedict's Winter Ale, Samuel Adams’ Winter Lager, Goose Island’s Mild Winter, New Belgium’s 2º Below Winter Ale and Redhook’s Winterhook Ale. Shit, on Tuesday I even saw a 12-pack of Huber Bock. If that doesn’t make you smile, you just don’t know how to have fun.

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