After nearly a three-year absence, Braver Hund ale is back on the tap list at Bare Bones Brewery.
Braver Hund is just what it’s supposed to be: a straight-up Altbier – no gimmicks, no embellishments, no bullshit. It pours to a deep mahogany with pretty, red highlights. Then comes a nutty malt aroma backed by a light, floral hop note. The beer is medium bodied and firmly bitter. The flavor seesaws between those nut-like malt flavors and herbal hops with a dab of roast mingling in. This one is all about balance and drinkability. At 4.7% ABV it’s an ideal session beer and flavorful enough to make you want more than one. I can see this being my go-to at Bare Bones for the foreseeable future.
Altbier is one of the few styles of German ale that managed to survive into the 20th century. The “Alt” part is derived from the German word for old. That’s a reference to the older, ale family of German beers. Most of those were washed away when the “new” lager styles began flooding continental Europe in the mid-1800s. Altbier just barely survived. Same goes for Braver Hund.
Braver Hund was introduced at Bare Bones in September 2015 when Lyle Hari was head brewer there. It was the first Bare Bones beer to make a noticeable splash among the set of regulars beginning to coalesce at what was then Oshkosh’s newest brewery. But after Hari departed Bare Bones in February 2016, Braver Hund was brewed no more.
Fast forward to May of this year. Jody Cleveland becomes head brewer at Bare Bones. He’s one of those who had been a fan of Braver Hund back in 2015. “I loved the beer and wanted to bring it back,” Cleveland says. “And people have been asking for it pretty consistently ever since I came in.”
Aside from some tweaks, Cleveland’s Braver Hund is consistent with the beer Hari was making in 2015. “I changed the water profile a little and wanted to use 100% German malts and hops, but getting to that point required only a couple of minor changes. There’s not much difference.”
But this time, Braver Hund won’t be a “one-and-done” beer. “I’ll definitely be making it again, Cleveland says. “It’ll be a yearly seasonal.”