03 October 2010

Beer Diary #19 - Jim | The New Glarus Project, Part 1

Date: Friday, 1 October 2010
Location: The Homestead

You see the box that Jason has in his hands? It made its way to my house in late August, and for that I am very grateful. Since August, some of the box's contents have resided in what is affectionately known in my house as "The Beer Closet." The rest are in my refrigerator.

On Friday night, I finally began to my quest to consume what was once in that box. Yes, it's been over a month since I received it. How in the world could I wait this long to start drinking Wisconsin's finest beers? The truth is that I don't have a good excuse.

First out of the box: Spotted Cow. New Glarus's flagship beer. You see it all over Wisconsin. This beer is New Glarus's version of a cream ale, which is a style that I really enjoy when it's done well. I imagine that a fair number of beer geeks probably consider cream ales to be relatively dull. I beg to differ, especially when it comes to Spotted Cow. While I wouldn't say that Spotted Cow produces a flavor explosion, it's complex enough to give rise to some really pleasing and diverse notes. Indeed, each sip seemed to produce a different character; bread, yeast, apple, pear, sweet corn, and banana all came through to my palate. The high carbonation and light hop bitterness produced a subdued but nice bite on the end of each sip. My message to all: Don't snub a cream ale, especially if it's a Spotted Cow (or the great version of the style that's being brewed right in your back yard).

With the cool fall temperatures finally setting in, many would have opted for a beer with more heft. But for me, Spotted Cow was a great way to end the evening. The sweet fruitiness of this beer made me wish I had another one at hand. I don't, but there are different varieties of New Glarus left to drink at my house. Next week: Part 2 of The New Glarus Project.


  1. Actually New Glarus dubs Spotted Cow a farmhouse ale, not a cream ale. Based on their yeast strain and bottle conditioned nature of the beer, I would say it has more in common with the flavor profile of a farmhouse ale than it does a cream ale.

  2. I guess I'll follow that up with this:

    BJCP does list Spotted Cow as an example of the Cream Ale style, so it's certainly statistically accurate to say that Spotted Cow is a cream ale. But when you put it side by side with Genesee, or especially Sun King, you'll find a fairly different flavor profile.

  3. Rod, I think you just came up with a good idea for a roundtable: a cream ale faceoff.

  4. Loves me some Spotted Cow. I've got a nice stash right now I've been working through.

    It is slightly more earthy/spicy than your traditional cream ale. Either way it's a damn tasty and refreshing brew.

  5. I was telling Rod that I'd like to put Spotted Cow side-by-side with another cream ale to see if there's really a difference. My palate's memory didn't perceive a marked difference between Spotted Cow and Sunlight Cream Ale. Maybe that's because my palate is pretty limited (which I've often wondered given that others are often able to pick up characteristics from certain beers that I do not pick up). Or perhaps my palate just doesn't have a good memory.