Tuesday, August 7, 2018

The Beer Here: Bare Bones Nemesis Brown Ale

Wednesday, August 8, Bare Bones Brewery is partnering with the Oshkosh Area Humane Society for the release of Nemesis, a brown ale. Nemesis begins pouring at 6 p.m. with 10% of the evening's sales going to the Humane Society.

The Beer
Nemesis is an English-style brown ale, a style of beer rarely brewed around here. It's been years since we've seen one made in Oshkosh. It's a style that favors malt and Nemesis does just that, with notes of caramel, toffee, and chocolate. Despite that malt complexity, though, the beer is exceedingly quaffable. There’s plenty of flavor interest, but nothing that overwhelms the palate. This a true session ale at 4.4% ABV.

This is a beer with some roots. Nemesis was made using English malts and an English yeast strain that's purported to have been sourced from London's storied Whitbread Brewery. Whitbread was among the first breweries to produce the style when the modern brown ale emerged in the early 1920s. Something to chew on when your downing of few pints of Nemesis.

The Backstory
Nemesis was brewed by Jody Cleveland, the new head brewer at Bare Bones. And it’s the first time since taking over there that he’s produced a beer from his own recipe. It's no accident that Cleveland decided to start with a sessions beer. He came in as head brewer on May 1, with the idea of introducing more variety into a line-up that’s had a surplus of IPA and high-alcohol beers. “We'll still have our share of big and bold beers, but we need to have more balance here,” Cleveland says. We're going to strive for a more varied lineup. I want us to have something for everybody who comes in.”

Jody Cleveland
Cleveland began brewing professionally in 2016 when he started at Bare Bones as an assistant brewer. Later in 2016, he moved over to Fox River Brewing where he was an assistant brewer until April of this year. During the same period, Cleveland continued brewing at home on an electric one-barrel system he designed. It was on that system that he worked up the recipe for Nemesis.

"It's a beer I've been working on for four or five years now,” Cleveland says. I've always loved that style, but when I started brewing it I didn't like many of the commercial examples that were available around here. It kind of became an obsession to perfect this recipe. I wanted to make one that I liked. I'd love for it to be an ongoing beer, but we'll have to find out what customers think of it."

Nemesis marks the beginning of a turning point for Bare Bones, which opened in 2015. Much of the current line-up at the brewery’s tap room was produced by RJ Nordlund, who left Bare Bones in April with plans to launch a brewery in Michigan. Cleveland’s beers are just now coming to the fore at Bare Bones. The next few months should prove to be interesting there.

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