Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Sesquicentennial Ale Recipe from Fox River Brewing

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After yesterday’s post about 1853 – the dark lager currently on tap at Fratello’s in Oshkosh – I remembered another sesquicentennial beer that Fox River Brewing had made. Sesquicentennial Ale came out in 1998 in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Wisconsin becoming a state. The beer was a pre-Prohibition style cream ale. That’s the recipe for it there at the right.

The recipe is from a newsletter that Fox River Brewing used to publish named Fox On The Run Brewspaper. The issue containing this recipe was from the fall of 1998. The old Brewspaper reads like an artifact from a long-gone era. And I suppose it is.

There’s a report about the “Summer School” held at the brewery where 32 “pupils” came in to brew Sesquicentennial Ale with brewmaster Steve Lonsway (who had succeeded Fox River’s first brewmaster, Al Bunde). There’s also a piece about the record-setting summer the brewery had for off-premise draught beer sales. Included among a listing of Oshkosh taverns where Fox River beer is sold, there’s this: “Oblios’s Lounge 434 Main, downtown on Main Street is the quintessential tavern. The original bar was established in 1884. Sporting 24 taps, Oblio’s has the largest draft selection in the area. Look for “Buzzin Honey” and “Caber Tossing Scottish Ale” amid the fine selection of imports and micro’s on tap.”

Yes, there was a time when Fox River Brewing was not essentially an island unto itself. Its beers used to be served all around Oshkosh. Maybe we’ll see a return to that with their new Bago Brew series.

Something that struck me while thumbing through the 1998 newsletter was the connection between Fox River Brewing and the local homebrew community. There’s even an invite to homebrewers to bring their corny kegs in and have them filled with beer. And there’s a large ad on the back page for the Society of Oshkosh Brewers. At the time, the SOBs were using Fratellos as their meeting place. That would end not long after. The sense of camaraderie between the local brewery and the local homebrewers hasn’t been the same since. That’s a damned shame.

Anyway, I think I’m going to give this Sesquicentennial Ale recipe a shot. I haven’t brewed a good cream ale in ages. I might be doing a brewing demonstration at this year’s Brews n' Blues; this could be just the beer for that day. A beer born in Oshkosh revived 16 years later at our city’s original beer festival. I like that!

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