Monday, February 24, 2014

Pilgrimage: New Glarus Brewing Co.

Being a sales guy takes me all over the place. Normally I stay around Indianapolis but sometimes I get pulled to other areas of this great country.

I had the pleasure of going up to Wisconsin recently. If you haven't been to Wisconsin in February, it's a beautiful place, but its freaking cold. I mean a bone freezing, face numbing finger falling off kind of cold. The good thing is, nestled there in the middle of a few snow drifts is the town of New Glarus.

Although there isn't a whole lot going on in the town, there is a nice little brewery, New Glarus Brewing Co.

Being a bit of a trader and general beer conoisseur, I've really been impressed with some of their fruit beer offerings, so I was really excited to see what they had going on. El Duque was not as impressed with what he brought back a while ago, but I had faith.

For those of you who don't know, New Glarus used to distribute to states outside of Wisconsin, now they don't. They pulled back to better service their local customers in WI, and service them they do. Although you have to venture to the great white north just to get a taste of there brews, once you enter Wisconsin you can find their award winning beers at liquor stores, grocery stores and even gas stations. The station across from my hotel had an end-cap display full of 750s of their fruit beers. This is insanely cool, in a world where everyone is struggling for national prestige and recognition, these guys have taken their beers the oposite direction and really put a focus on their local customers.

Their brewery is in the middle of nowhere. Beautiful countryside and rolling hills surround this place that looks like an old style farm house. Once you're inside, it's anything but old school. Their brewery is bright, clean and modern. I took the brewery tour and had a nice time seeing all the details. The facilities are gorgeous. It's obviously a show piece for guests coming through. Tours are going around the clock and their tasting room has four or five beers on draft, including one of their fruit beers. These guys are probably most well known for their Spotted Cow in WI, but around the trading world their fruit beers are second to none. In fact a few of their fruit beers just got recognized by ratebeer as the best in the world in their style. I got to try the Raspberry Tart.

Raspberry Tart is an amazing fruit beer. It pours out a fairly clear and clean ruby red color with about a half inch of light pink head. It smells like raspberry fruit juice. Your first sip is sweet, like honey and fruit blended together in perfect harmony, but it's followed up with an awesome tartness from the raspberries. There's enough tart that it could easily be confused for a very light sour, and would probably go head to head nicely with a fruit lambic. For a beer that has such strong raspberry flavor, there was an impressive depth. Everything really seemed to meld together but still highlight the fruits. I give this one a lip smacking 4.

If you're ever up in Wisconsin make sure you take a little drive out to New Glarus. You will not be disappointed by the friendly people, beautiful facilities and awesome beers. I may have gotten a little carried away with what I brought home, cheers!

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