Brewing with New Glarus

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New Glarus long ago dialed in the notion of moreishness, meaning a drinker is inspired to have another pint of your potion. (The brewery is among the top 20 craft names yet doesn’t distribute beyond its Wisconsin roots.) Not coincidentally, you’ll find the term in the MBAA’s Beer Steward Handbook alongside the overview of the English bitter beer style.

A bitter is subtle, nuanced—it’s that finesse you’ll find in one of the bottles of our Beer Camp Across America variety 12-pack. New Glarus co-founder Dan Carey and Randy Thiel, director of quality control, have mapped out a bitter with our founder Ken Grossman and brewing team.

It’s not a beer that’s “big and bodacious,” Randy said, but it doesn’t have to be either of those to be “beauty on your tongue.” We like the sound of that.

Dan suggested a ballpark alcohol by volume of 5.5% and he underscored his interest in “a traditional, old-world hop” like European Golding or Fuggle. In recent years, though, the performance of English-grown hops has left Ken wanting. Our hop authority, Tom Nielsen, suggested Aurora, Dana or Bobek hops off-the-cuff, all of which hail from Slovenia and have plentiful aroma potential.

“I’ve used Bobek,” Dan said. “At least the lots that I’ve used have been unremarkable.”

Dan also mentioned Celeia hops, a variety Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River is putting toward the blonde ale in the works for Beer Camp Across America.

Whichever hop route we go with New Glarus—”We need to go shopping,” said Steve Dresler, our head brewer—Dan hinted at leaning more toward an extra special bitter (ESB).

“I’m perfectly happy to push the [bitterness units] if we can find really good hops,” he said.

And so we’ll search.

Elsewhere in the beer’s makeup, Golden Promise malt could be a key player in the grist bill, and when it comes to yeast behavior, Dan and Steve agreed a hint of dryness would be a nice touch.

“I always prefer a beer with a little more attenuation,” Dan said.

We eagerly await Dan’s visit to Chico this winter. It’s a trip and a beer whose significance is not lost on us; this variety pack is New Glarus’ first foray beyond America’s Dairyland. You’ll taste what makes them hallowed back home.

November 29, 2013 - 9:34am