When it rains, it pours. It seems like New Glarus beers were nearly impossible for me to get a year ago but today I'm awash in Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel, Moon Man and Stone Soup. These beers have come to me as gifts from friends who visited Wisconsin, friends who live in Wisconsin and even my neighbor (who also has family in Wisconsin). Sometimes it seems like I'm the only one who doesn't spend a few days in Wisconsin over the summer. This bottle of Two Women is a new one to me, I hadn't heard of this beer before this summer and I've been holding on to it for a few weeks because it has the word LAGER printed on the label. It might sound prejudicial, but when you've got your pick of the New Glarus litter, the Lager is going to be the beer that's left over at the end.
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.
I'm nearing the end of my New Glarus stash and it's bittersweet, the moment... not the beer. Toward the end of summer I received a sizable quantity of Wisconsin's most sought after product (as far as I'm concerned). It seemed like each beer was better than the last. The Spotted Cow was good, the Moon Man was great and the Enigma was amazing. I've opened up a bottle of Fat Squirrel this afternoon to make some room in the old fridge and finally wrap up these New Glarus reviews. Like most New Glarus beers, this is the first bottle of it that I've had and I don't know much about it. In fact, I didn't even know they made this beer before I got them... All I know is this is a Nut Brown Ale and all the New Glarus beers I've had thus far have been delightful. Not a bad place to start.
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.
When people talk about New Glarus' beers they are quick to bring up the tart and sour fruit ales the brewery produces for local consumption in Wisconsin. Most of these beers don't leave the state as they are best when they are at their freshest. Being several states away from Wisconsin I haven't been privileged enough to try any of the strawberry, raspberry or cherry beers New Glarus has brewed... at least not until now. I recently got this bottle of Enigma from a local homebrewer that vacations in Wisconsin. I found myself hankering for some sour cherries as the summer winds down so I figured it was time to pop open this Unplugged Sour Ale.
It is a rare occasion when I'm able to pull a bottle of New Glarus from the fridge. I recently came across a number of bottles of various New Glarus beers and just couldn't wait to dive in. Hoping to save the best for last I decided to start with what I saw as the low hanging fruit of the haul. New Glarus' Moon Man is a Pale Ale that clocks in right at 5% ABV. It has a light aroma which does a great job of showcasing the sweet citrusy hops in this beer. Overall I thought the aroma and appearance of this beer were mediocre at best, I felt good about my decision to knock this beer out first.