Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Short Pours

Here’s a few items that’ve been floating around the Oshkosh beer-o-sphere as of late. I need to make this quick, so let’s get right to it.

Casks & Cash
If you were at the Society of Oshkosh Brewers’ Casks & Caskets festival on November 1, then you already know what a great time it was. But that good time was also in support of a good cause. The SOBs announced last week that once the dust settles, the club expects to donate in the neighborhood of $12,000 to the Oshkosh Hunger Task Force. The SOBs were aiming to raise $10,000 for the charity this year. They’ll easily beat their goal. Don’t let anybody tell you that drinking beer doesn’t pay.

Antiques for Beer Freaks
I was loitering around in a couple of local antique shops last week and was surprised by how much Oshkosh-based beer memorabilia these places had on hand. Both Folklore and Originals Mall of Antiques have quite a bit of locally sourced breweriana. Most of it’s from the Oshkosh Brewing Company and Peoples Brewing. If you have a beer lover/history freak on your gift list, these might be the places to start looking. Be forewarned, though, some of these items get expensive. For example, the 6-pack of Chief Oshkosh stubbies pictured here was found at Folklore with an $80 price tag hanging from it. At least the bottles are full! Wouldn’t you love to know what the beer inside those bottles tastes like?

The Re-vamped Varsity Club
The Varsity Club on N. Main went through a fairly thorough renovation this past summer/fall. If you haven’t checked the place out in a while, you might want to now. In addition to the remodel, they’ve  added 10 more tap lines bringing their total to 16. Aside from the couple of light beers they have on tap, the rest of the line-up leans heavily towards the craft side of things. I was there recently and had a Luna Coffee Stout from Hinterland and the IPL from Leinenkugel’s. Both beers tasted fresh and clean. Obviously, they’re caring for their draught lines. The beer was served a little too cold for me, but patience fixes that. It’s great seeing more taverns in Oshkosh getting wise to the fact that good beer brings people through the door.

Clark Pitching the Fifth Ward Brewing Co.
The Fifth Ward Brewery
Fellow SOB and UW Oshkosh student Zach Clark took second place and won $500 in the school’s fourth annual Pitch Contest. His pitch: The Fifth Ward Brewing Company. Sound familiar? It should. Cool seeing a young guy referencing an Oshkosh brewery that went out of business more than 100 years before he was born. But Zach is a sharp guy. I first met him a couple years ago when he and his brewing cohort, Ian Wenger, joined the SOBs. You might also be familiar with them. Clark and Wenger are the guys who plan and prepare the menus for the beer dinners at Dublin’s. Remember those names. I think we’ll be hearing more form them in the future.

The Ongoing Decline of the Festival Foods Beer Aisle
Have you noticed it? The main beer cooler is becoming more and more a showplace for AB/InBev product. About 2/3 of the open cooler that comprises the largest portion of their premium beer space has been swallowed up by imported macro-swill such as Corona, Labatt’s, Stella... all the usual big-beer bummers. Meanwhile, the domestic craft beer gets pinched into a narrow section at the end of the cooler or booted onto warm shelves at the opposite end of the aisle. Quite the vision they’re developing over there. Just another reason to do more of your beer shopping at Gardina’s and Ski’s.

Damn, there was more I wanted to throw in here, but I gotta run. Happy Thanksgiving!

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