For this week's Craft Brewery of the Week I decided to head back to my home state of Wisconsin and review one of the most popular craft breweries in the country: New Glarus Brewing. Founded in 1993 by husband and wife team, Dan and Deb Carey, they have been crafting amazing beer and winning awards for the past 20 years. Deb is the business (first woman to found and operate a brewery in the US) and Dan is the brewmaster. Like many craft breweries they have a set of year round beers, a set of seasonal beers, and their "Thumbprint" and specialty beers. Located about a half-hour outside of Madison in New Glarus in south central Wisconsin, they recently built and opened a new state-of-the-art brewing facility a few miles from their original location. The new facility is more environmentally friendly and recycles much of their materials. Time to talk about their beer!
Their year round beer includes a set of six beers with something for everyone. The first and foremost is probably their best selling beer, Spotted Cow. Spotted Cow is an unfiltered farmhouse ale that is light, crisp and refreshing. Brewed with a bit of flaked barley and corn, this beer is perfect for sitting on the porch, hanging out with friends, or drinking while eating some BBQ. Two Women is a slightly darker "country" lager. This beer is the perfect beer while you are out on the boat fishing, skiing, or getting some sun. Moon Man is their classic pale ale made with a blend of 5 hops with a nice malty finish. Black Top is a nice black IPA that has a bit of molasses added in for a richer, deeper flavor to balance the hoppy aroma. Raspberry Tart is a framboise-style ale brewed with Wisconsin wheat, local red raspberries and hallertau hops. This beer is spontaneously fermented in oak vats which give it a depth of flavor and a bit of sourness that have made it a perennial winner around the globe. Serendipity is their newest addition to the year-round offerings. Last year's Wisconsin sour cherry crop failed due to severe drought and a very bad spring. The brewery needed something to replace their popular Wisconsin Belgian Red. Using what cherries he could find, Dan brewed a beer and substituted in Wisconsin apples and cranberries from a bumper crop. Spontaneously fermented, this sour beer is refreshing and mind-blowing. Only time will tell if it can have the longevity and award-winning power that the Belgian Red did.
Their seasonal beers for this year include Cabin Fever, a pale bock brewed with local clover honey, Snowshoe Ale, an Irish amber ale with spicy hop and a fruity finish, Coffee Stout, which is pretty self-explanatory, Totally Naked, a lager made using Wisconsin 2-row barley and central Europe Noble hops, Edel Pils, a long-lagered Bavarian style pilsner, and Dancing Man Wheat, a Bavarian-style hefeweizen with notes of clove and cinnamon. Their current "Thumbprint" series includes Winter Warmer, a strong Scotch ale for those cold Wisconsin winter days, IIPA, a hop-intense double IPA brewed with Maris Otter malt and bottle-finished, and Berliner Weiss, brewed with Wisconsin White wheat, Riesling grapes and a blend of 5 yeast strains.
Other beers that may pop up on occasion and based on public demand include Staghorn Oktoberfest, Fat Squirrel hazelnut brown ale, Stone Soup abbey ale, Road Slush oatmeal stout, Tailwagger barleywine, Uff-da bock, and Back 40 bock. I would love for New Glarus Brewing to have the capacity to brew more of these beers with regularity instead of having to wait and hope that the public has the same preferences for what is available. Distribution of New Glarus beer is very limited. They can be found throughout Wisconsin, a bit in Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan and Illinois but beyond that you are out of luck. Luckily for me, we get back to Wisconsin frequently enough to restock our supplies and whenever family comes to visit they are required to bring at least a six pack or a case if they are driving. If you get a chance, try to get to the brewery itself. The location is beautiful, the brewery it a work of art, the gift shop has plenty of memorabilia, and the brewery shop just off the parking lot is a great place to pick up beer oddities, one-offs, and short runs on some of their lesser known or experimental brews.
On to some NFL news: It seems like the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre are moving closer to mending the relationship that appeared irreparably broken after their split in 2008. Both sides have publicly expressed an interest in having Favre's number retired by the organization and for the quarterback great to go into the NFL Hall of Fame as a Packer. I hope it works out and all parties can be happy. It was a lot of bad blood back then but I guess time heals all wounds.
ESPN's John Clayton has a nice article out recently discussing the shortcomings of the current "Franchise Tag" used by NFL teams to ensure some of their better players do not reach the open market. Unfortunately, the players tagged often feel unappreciated by their current teams, they often refuse to sign their 1-year deals and both sides end up in a war of words. It should be interesting to see what happens over the next week as the eight players franchised this year face a July 15th deadline to sign these offers or work out a new long-term contract.
And finally, the New England Patriots hosted a jersey trade-in over the weekend for fans possessing Aaron Hernandez jerseys. I wonder how many fans out there decided to hold onto their Hernandez jersey in hopes of selling it on eBay. I wonder how many held onto it thinking Hernandez is innocent, will be exonerated, and will resume his NFL career. Genius move for financial gain or foolish hope followed by potential financial gain? Who knows? Who cares?
Just my opinion???