Tuesday, December 17, 2013

New Glarus Spotted Cow review

New Glarus Spotted Cow - Cream AleAs a frequent attendee of the Great American Beer Festival, one of the first booths I stop at each year is New Glarus Brewing Company of New Glarus, Wisconsin. The line is usually very long and for good reason. Their beers are top quality and are hard to get anywhere except in Wisconsin. When a business client offered me a bottle of New Glarus Spotted Cow to take home and enjoy I was thrilled. Colorado only sees New Glarus during rare circumstances otherwise and I was excited to be able to drink one at home for this review.

New Glarus Spotted Cow is classified as a Cream Ale and weighs in at 5.1% ABV and has around 153 calories per 12oz bottle. The label states that this beer is naturally cloudy and may have some yeast left in the bottle to enhance the flavor. Another interesting note is that there should be a hint of corn in this beer as well along with some fruity notes.

I haven't known cream ales to have fruity notes before, but then again, you don't see too many cream ales being made these days. Although I have started seeing more of them in the last year. Would this cream ale hold up to New Glarus' reputation for excellent beers? Here's my review.

Appearance: I chose a footed pilsner-like glass to drink this from and poured the beer in while it was still fresh out of the fridge. The beer poured a light golden color, with some cloudiness present. There wasn't any noticeable sediment until the last few drops out of the bottle where some yeast remained. The beer yielded a modest 1 inch bright white fluffy head with a light lacing along the glass. The beer seemed to have a moderate amount of carbonation to it and opened with a solid hiss from the 12oz bottle.

Aroma: There must be a variety of light colored malts in this brew as the aroma reminded me initially of a pilsner, but with a bit more maltiness. There was a slight aroma of corn which is common for this style, but not overly done. The yeast used gave off a slight fruity scent, just enough to give this beer some extra interest and appeal. The aroma did not have any defects that I could detect. It smelled rather "clean", malty with just the right amount of hop aroma.

New Glarus Spotted Cow close-upTaste: Spotted Cow instantly reminded me of another cream ale I had tried about a year earlier. It had a classic cream ale texture (smooth and crisp), and was light to medium bodied. There was a slight dryness to this beer and I could taste the malts very distinctly. The beer was low bittered. While there was some corn in the nose, the corn wasn't very detectable. There was just a hint of light fruit in this pour, but not enough to call out what type it reminded me of.

Almost instantly, I could tell this was a well made, very flavorful and enjoyable cream ale. I felt that I could easily finish a couple of these beers with no problem at all. It was very refreshing and even had a great taste when still on the cold side. As it warmed, the maltiness was enhanced and it was still very enjoyable.

Overall: I must admit, cream ales are not among my top favorite styles of beer to drink, but I thoroughly enjoyed this cream ale, even in the cooler days around the end of the year. I feel that if there were more cream ales out there that I would definitely keep buying them. This beer would probably be enjoyed best on a warm summer day, but even in December, this beer satisfied my beer craving for the evening. I would definitely buy this beer if it were available here in Colorado, but alas, I'll have to wait again til the GABF to try this one again. If you happen to be in Wisconsin and spot this - try it. You will be pleasantly surprised at what a cream ale can be.

Disclosure: This beer was given to me by a business client who makes frequent trips to Wisconsin. I was not paid or compensated for this review. Thanks Mike Short!

Related articles:
- Sun King Sunlight Cream Ale review. (2012)
- Brewers Association lists Top 50 Breweries of 2012.
- Final 2011 GABF Tastings and Recommendations.

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