Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Beer Here: Oshkosh Lager

Here's the latest from Bare Bones, it’s named Oshkosh Lager

The Beer
Stylewise, this is a classic American lager and it absolutely looks the part. The beer pours pale yellow and almost brilliantly clear with a tight cap of white foam. There’s a light, grainy aroma here accompanied by a subtle note of sulfur. The flavor is well-balanced, leaning slightly towards the malt side. A gentle bitterness lingers in the background, creating a clean, snappy finish that's very refreshing. Oshkosh Lager is not a sipping beer, it's a beer to quaff. It's a model example of the style.

The Backstory
For such a seemingly simple beer, there's a lot going on here. Oshkosh Lager grew out of a series of pilot batches made by Jody Cleveland, head brewer at Bare Bones. For the past few years, Cleveland has been brewing small batches on his home system of historic Oshkosh lagers such as Chief Oshkosh and Peoples Beer. He’s continued to tinker with those recipes and those trials culminated in Oshkosh Lager.

"I wanted to make a contemporary version of these classic Oshkosh beers," Cleveland says. "Something that anyone who wants a more balanced, straightforward beer flavor can really get into. I'm super proud of this beer, and I'm glad I finally get to share it with everyone."

The recipe Cleveland developed bears a distinct resemblance to the 1950s recipes that produced Chief Oshkosh and Peoples Beer. It starts with a blended grist of malted barley with a minor addition of corn to lighten the body and bring up that crisp, dry character essential to the style. Cleveland hopped the beer with Cluster, the elemental American hop used by all of the Oshkosh brewers from the mid-1800s until the 1970s.

There isn't another beer like this currently being produced by an Oshkosh brewery. It's a beer that goes against the grain in a craft-beer world dominated by high-alcohol, palate slammers that rely on novel or extreme flavors. Who knows, maybe now the time is right for something less contrived.

Currently, Oshkosh Lager is only available on draft in the tap room at Bare Bones. You can also get it there in growlers and 16-ounce-crowler cans for takeaway. Within the next couple of weeks, the beer should begin appearing in area taverns. I’d like to see this go on at a place like Witzke's – a tavern built by the Oshkosh Brewing Company. A beer like this deserves another run in its native environment.

1 comment:

  1. Is there any wheat in this beer, as I'm allergic to wheat?