Thursday, October 26, 2017

Bare Bones Cookies and Milk Stout and More

Last Wednesday, RJ Nordlund was at Festival Foods in Oshkosh pushing a cart with just two things in it: a salad and a couple hundred pounds of chocolate chip cookies. The salad was his lunch. The cookies were for his brew kettle.

Nordlund is brewmaster at Bare Bones Brewery in Oshkosh. The beer he’s making with Festival's cookies is named Cookies and Milk Stout. It’s the brewery’s holiday seasonal offering. Nordlund brewed it for the first time last year.

This year’s version has Bare Bones partnering with Festival Foods. The beer will be packaged in 12-ounce cans in mid-November and sold at Festival’s stores across Wisconsin. The last time an Oshkosh-brewed beer was distributed this widely was 45 years ago before the closing of Peoples Brewing.

This is a beer with a lot going on. The malt bill is extensive. It includes aromatic, honey, caramel, chocolate, and victory malts along with flaked oats. On top of that comes lactose, molasses, bakers chocolate, and chocolate chip cookies. Lots of cookies.

Nordlund used 200 pounds of Festival’s chocolate chip cookies in the 30 barrels of Cookies and Milk Stout he brewed last week. All those cookies go straight into the mash. Bag after bag of them. Here’s the first addition...

Cookies and Milk Stout should start hitting store shelves in the week running up to Thanksgiving. Just in time for the holidays.

Sun Powered
This week, Bare Bones is installing solar panels at its facility. Owner Dan Dringoli says he expects to have his new power grid up and running within a few weeks. "The system will generate all the power we need for the brewery and taproom," Dringoli says. Bare Bones will become Winnebago County’s first solar-powered brewery.

Best Budz
Mid-November will see the release of another Bare Bones beer in cans. Best Buds is a hop-saturated American Pale Ale hopped with Mosaic and nothing but Mosaic. Have a look at the label. If you can get past the double entendres you’ll notice a new symbol at the lower right-hand corner.

That's the Independent Craft Brewer Seal. Best Buds and Cookies and Milk Stout will be the first Oshkosh beers to carry it on their labels. More on the meaning of that here.

Brewing... Coffee
Bare Bones is getting into another kind of brewing. Coffee. They've purchased a roaster and have begun roasting and packaging El Salvador grown coffee beans at the brewery. At the moment, they're offering a medium roast sold in 1-pound bags. You can pick that up in the taproom.

Of course, some of those roasted beans will have to make their way into beer. Nordlund says he wants to put a different twist on it. He's thinking of making a coffee, blonde ale. More to come.

Bitchin' Bonfire Bone-Nanza 2017
Finally, tomorrow night (Friday, October 27), Bare Bones will host its annual Bitchin' Bonfire Bone-Nanza. That begins at 7 pm. They'll have BBQ, live music, and a pack of barrel-aged beers available only that night. You'll find all the info here.

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