Monday, November 5, 2007

New Glarus Spotted Cow Cream Ale

Beer: New Glarus Spotted Cow
Brewery Location: New Glarus, WI
Beer Style: Cream Ale
Serving Style: Bottle
ABV: 5.10%

A huge thank you to my friend Courtney that was awesome enough to bring me back some offerings from her trip to Wisconsin.

The name cream ale is a bit deceiving. It has nothing to do with cream at all. It's actually an ale that is made to mimic a lager beer. I am normally not much of a fan of lagers, but I've heard so many great things about New Glarus and their beers. Here is a nice rundown of the style from BJCP that does it better than me:

"An ale version of the American lager style. Produced by ale brewers to compete with lager brewers in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States. Originally known as sparkling or present use ales, lager strains were (and sometimes still are) used by some brewers, but were not historically mixed with ale strains. Many examples are kräusened to achieve carbonation. Cold conditioning isn't traditional, although modern brewers sometimes use it."

Basically, craft brewers can compete with the major lager producers and get it out very quickly, and have a nice gateway beer that will appeal to the masses, because it is really not that far off from the traditional American lager beer.

I've heard New Glarus used to be available in Indiana, but I've never seen it before, if you have seen it let me know about how long ago that was. I am curious why it isn't available here anymore. Onto the beer:

The beer pours a cloudy straw color with no visible head after an aggressive pour and left virtually no lacing on the glass. There really isn't much of a scent to this beer. I pick up on some slight citrus scent and almost a slight corn, but a very weak malt scent. The taste is very crisp and clean, and tastes like a better made BMC's product without the metallic twinge I usually pick up on in one of those products. No real hop flavoring to speak of, but I can pick up on the grain and lemony sweetness going down. The mouthfeel is actually quite nice and smooth and very easy drinking. It is refreshing and quite drinkable. The drinkability is good on this, and I think this would be a good cookout and "just mowed the lawn" type of beer.

All-in-all it reminds of what a good lager should taste like, but it's an ale. I would grab this over most lagers given the chance. It's not that cream ales or lagers are bad beers, but they just don't deliver the flavor I am looking for. An aftertaste is not a bad thing in a beer, and most of them seem very afraid of that. I can't really give this beer a rating. I just don't think it's fair. If you like lager beer then this is a great choice. In terms of being a cream ale (I keep saying Lager, but this isn't a lager) it is a great representation of the style, but if you are looking for a big bold beer this isn't the choice, and it's not meant to be. It's an easy drinking and satisfying beer that is a standout for it's style, but overall just didn't deliver for me.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

New Glarus' motto found on labels and glassware is "Only in Wisconsin". I believe after some issues with the Illinois distributing system they decided to distribute only in WI. They can sell all they produce at home. Bell's stopped distributing in Illinois for several years due to similar issues.