The coming week brings three noteworthy beer events to Oshkosh. Let’s take a look at what’s in store.
Gardina’s and Fox River Brewing Collaborate for a Firkin Tapping
On Tuesday, February 17, Gardina’s Wine Bar transforms into Gardina’s Beer Bar with a special, 6 p.m. tapping of Fox River Brewing Company’s 20th Anniversary Imperial Red Ale. The beer will pour from a one-off firkin prepared for the event by Kevin Bowen, brewmaster at Fox River Brewing.
What’s a firkin? It’s a cask of beer that’s been naturally fermented and carbonated in the same small vessel that it’s served from. In this case, the cask holds just over over 5 gallons of beer. The presentation can sometimes be dramatic. With the cask resting on its side, a spigot is driven into it with the strike of a mallet. The beer begins to flow. It’s sometimes a messy process, which is why you want to be on time to see it happen. It’s always a fun thing to witness.
The tapping ought to be just the beginning of the excitement. “This is one of my more adventurous casks,” Bowen says. “We went with an imperial, hoppy red ale that’s dry-hopped in the cask with citra and mosaic hops. It also has pineapple and papaya added to the cask.” All this atop a base beer that’s 10% ABV with kettle additions of wildflower and buckwheat honey. “It really has some interesting flavors coming through,” Bowen says.
Aside from the beer marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of Fox River Brewing in Oshkosh, it also signifies an interesting turn in the Oshkosh beer scene: This will be the first time Fox River has tapped a firkin of its beer in a neighboring Oshkosh tavern or restaurant. Bowen thinks it’s a good fit. “I’m all about what Gardina’s is doing as a craft beer bar,” he says.
Dublin’s Dogfish Head Beer Dinner
The following evening on Wednesday, February 18, Dublin’s Irish Pub will bring in the beer of Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery for a five-course beer dinner that looks extraordinary. Check out this menu:
Namaste, a Belgian-style witbier, paired with asparagus goat cheese pinwheel and arugula salad.
World Wide Stout, an imperial stout (15-20% ABV), paired with chocolate bourbon bacon baked beans.
Piercing Pils, a Czech-style pilsener brewed with a white pear tea and pear juice, paired with crepe with blue cheese and pear rhubarb compote.
Sixty-One, an American IPA with an addition of syrah grape must, paired with sherry and lemon brined rack of lamb crusted with rosemary and fennel.
Raison D’Extra, a Belgian-style strong dark ale brewed with brown sugar and raisins, paired with cinnamon puff pastry with cream cheese frosting.
The crew at Dublin’s has gotten quite good at this. This year begins the fourth consecutive year that the pub has been staging beer dinners. Their well of experience is paying off.
Jon Cameron, bar manager at Dublin’s, selected the beers for this event and was on hand when the menu was being planned. “Maybe it’s just that the kitchen has been doing this for so long that it’s just becoming easier, but this was probably the fastest that they were able to nail down a menu,” Cameron says. “I’m really excited about this one, I think this is going to be great.”
Also on hand for the event will be Dillon Beyer, Wisconsin Regional Sales Manager for Dogfish Head, who will be talking about the beers before each course.
The dinner begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $50 and available at the pub.
Bull Falls Brewery Tap Takeover at Oblio’s
Then on Thursday, February 19, Oblio’s welcomes to town the latest entrant to the Oshkosh beer scene. Bull Falls Brewery of Wausau will step into the Oshkosh market with a tap takeover at Oblio’s. Beginning at 9 p.m., four Bull Falls beer will go on draught with representatives of Lee Beverage on hand to talk about the beers.
I’ve been a fan of Bull Falls’ beer for a couple years now. Their German-style lagers are especially good. I’m looking forward to drinking them in Oshkosh. I’ll have a lot more to share about Bull Falls Brewery next week. See you then.
Images from the author’s collection.