Spotted Cow - New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus
Even though New Glarus doesn't distribute to my state, or any of the states adjacent to me, this isn't my first Spotted Cow. I've had this beer three or four times before. Usually, it's the result of someone coming back from a Wisconsin vacation with a couple bottles of, "this great local beer you've just gotta try!" They're talking about New Glarus of course, and more often than not they beer they bring me is the Spotted Cow. I'm not complaining, it just seems like Spotted Cow is ubiquitous with Wisconsin craft beer... I hear you can even get it in some of the finer gas stations in the Cheese State. It's a neat anecdote but it's not the most interesting beer New Glarus makes year round... it's good but it's also a little boring.
New Glarus Spotted Cow is a light golden yellow colored lager that they call a Cream Ale. The first time I had it I described it as a creamy Pilsner... I wasn't far off I guess. The Spotted Cow pours a clear golden color and settles with a medium sized sudsy white head. It looks like there's quite a bit of carbonation in this beer as bubbles race toward the top of the glass, but that quickly fades and you're left with a hazy, but mostly clear, golden bodied beer. The aroma coming off the glass is a little pale, a little malty and a little citrusy. It's many things, including delightful, but it isn't strong by any means.
The Spotted Cow experience thus far is, well... less than awesome. It's mediocre frankly. The aroma is underwhelming, and this beer looks like a slightly less filtered macro lager. It's not all bad though, as you take a sip of the Spotted Cow you quickly learn what everyone is talking about. This beer has a pale malt flavor that's been mellowed out with citrus and grain flavors. It's not a complex flavor profile, but it's a tried and true combination that works perfectly. New Glarus calls this a Cream Ale but I like to think of it as a really mellow Helles, that has some Pilsner flavor without being as crisp.
I'd suggest Spotted Cow to anyone and everyone. If you're a macro lager drinker you'll like the approachability of this beer. It'll look familiar but have a whole new world of flavor for you to explore. If you're a seasoned drinker you'll appreciate the back-to-basics sensibilities of the Spotted Cow. This is a quality beer that I think will appeal to every beer drinker.