Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Oshkosh Beer Sampler 028: Buffalo Mike's Pumpernickel Rye

A slanted and endless survey of what’s pouring in Oshkosh, tallied one beer at a time.

What: Buffalo Mike's Pumpernickel Rye, a rustic ale brewed with flaked rye, molasses and caraway seeds.

Where: Brews n’ Blues 2013 happening this Saturday, June 22 at the Leach Amphitheater, Oshkosh. For more info on the beer fest go HERE.

Why: Because aside from its unique flavor, this beer has a good story. But first, let’s taste. I don’t have one in front of me, but I’m pretty sure I’ve drank enough of this beer to get it right. It pours to a rich amber and as it curls into the glass you get the unmistakable aroma of fresh rye bread. This is one of those beers that’s so aromatically evocative of the thing that inspired it that you’ll want to spend a few moments just breathing it in. The aroma anticipates the flavor in every respect. It’s bready and soft with a gentle twist of sweet and sour from the molasses and flaked rye. The caraway seeds add just enough spice to make it a dead ringer for rye bread. This would go perfect with a Limburger cheese sandwich or a reuben piled with sauerkraut.

The Story: Mike Engel of the Society of Oshkosh Brewers has been brewing his Pumpernickel Rye for years. He’s also made a habit of sharing it at local beer festivals. Along the way, his humble homebrew managed to pick up a solid following. Then last April, Engel was pouring his beer at a Barley & Hops beer sampling. The featured brewery at the sampling was Stone Arch of Appleton. Three of the brewers from Stone Arch were on hand that night. After a few samples, they invited Engel over to their place to brew a big batch of his beer on their 7-barrel system. And so he did. The beer will have its launch at Brews n’ Blues where Engel will be serving his homebrewed Pumpernickel Rye alongside the commercially brewed version. If you’re at Brews n’ Blues on Saturday, stop by the Society of Oshkosh Brewers’ tent and get a few snorts of both. If you can’t make that, the commercial version of the beer will be available on draught at the Stone Cellar Brewpub in Appleton.

To see Mike Engel talk about his Pumpernickel Rye, go HERE for a quick video that we shot during his brew day Stone Arch.

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