Wisconsin Belgian Red - New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus
There are very few reasons I would every willingly go to Wisconsin. The winters are cold there, they eat a lot cheese there and I always get the state confused with Minnesota for some reason. Wisconsin just isn't high on my list of places to see before I'm dead. That's the way it was... before I had some of the great beers from New Glarus. I've had just about every year round beer from New Glarus, and plenty of one offs as well, but I was never able to get a bottle of Wisconsin Belgian Red all to myself until now. I've had this beer once before, in a very tiny tasting glass and I swore it was the best beer I'd ever had.
Wisconsin Belgian Red pour a rich and dark ruby red color and settles a bit hazy with just a ring of white suds around the top of the glass. The aroma is a lot light cherry flavored cough syrup. It's potent but not off-putting. It's loaded with cherries to the point where you won't notice any hops, malt or yeast at all.
The flavor of this beer is mind-blowingly good. Of course there's a big sweet cherry punch right up front, but it's followed by a sharp tartness that is perfect in its intensity. This beer won't make you pucker, but it will be tart enough to make everyone take notice. At 4% ABV this beer is incredibly full of flavor, even if it's a bit of a one trick cherry flavored pony. There are similarities here between the Wisconsin Belgian Red and Lindemann's Kriek or Samuel Smith's organic fruit series, but the New Glarus take on cherry beer is by far my favorite. There's no wood aging to distract from the cherries and the tartness is perfect, not overly sour. This beer's simplicity may just be what makes it so delicious. No matter that New Glarus has or hasn't done to this beer, it's still one of the best Fruit Beers I've ever had. I can't imagine another fruit flavored beer tasting this great.