True Romance: New Glarus Gives a New Meaning to Brand Loyalty

If you’re deep in the weeds or thick in the mash or whatever the appropriate idiom would be for someone who thinks about beer too much, you’re likely familiar with New Glarus. The Wisconsin brewery is a unique snowflake in the industry as one of the largest brewers in the country (#16 on the Brewers Association list) … and widely beloved … yet only sells its beer in its home state.

In 2016, the brewer sold 214,000 barrels … only in Wisconsin. To put that in comparison, New Glarus last year sold *more* than Oskar Blues (201,000 barrels), which is distributed nationwide. Or just a touch more than 21st Amendment and Rogue *combined*. Since 2010, New Glarus as grown production 133%, going from 91,937 barrels to 214,000.

So of course they’re going to start selling more. Per Brewbound, New Glarus is about to embark on scaling up, set to reach a future max of 400,000 barrels.

“Did I envision a 400,000 barrel brewery? Hell no,” New Glarus founder and president Deb Carey told Brewbound of the $12 million investment. “We thought we’d be an 8,000 or 15,000 barrel brewery.”

15,000 barrels? How quaint.

This all got me thinking about doing some silly, uneducated math. The best kind.

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Cherry Bomb: New Glarus Belgian Red

cherry-cherry bomb

“Flavor: Highly carbonated and intense with cherry flavor and bouquet”

No kidding.

That’s taken from the New Glarus description of their beer, Belgian Red. There is over a pound of cherries that go into each bottle (not IN the bottle, but, you get it). Never in my life have I uttered the words while drinking a beer, “This could really use some more alcohol.”

This is not a knock against Belgian Red. At 4 percent ABV it’s meant to share with friends as a delightful session beer, however that pound of cherries really packs a wallop. It’s got a 97 on Beer Advocate.
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Achieving Beervana … or: The Perfect Beer World Nov. 2012 “The Session”

For this month’s “Session” blog post, Jorge over at Brew Beer and Drink It has posed the question of the Perfect Beer World. That is, what will bring us closer to creating our ideal state of be(er)ing. See what I did there?

There are lots of places to start – perhaps world peace would encourage greater brewery collaborations? Saison du BUFF, anyone? But I’m not going to waste my time with such trivial, Kumbaya-like thinking. World peace is a pretty big task when we have a few easy fixes right here at home.

So let’s grab a brew, salute the flag and hit the jump to see how we can create the Perfect Beer World right here in the good ol’ U.S. of A, and maybe get some help from our friends around the globe too.
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Out of town – Milwaukee (Part 2: The New Glarusing)

While I have no visual documentation regarding New Glarus, I can assure you any photo would involve me in the fetal position, crying tears of joy while yelling “mmmMMMMmmm” and patting my stomach. New Glarus is not available outside of Wisconsin, with the exception of one beautiful, fleeting moment I found it at the World Beer Festvial-Durham a couple years ago.

They had a java creme brulee stout and Simcoe-based double IPA. It was like an angel pissing on my tongue.

This was a big reason for my excitement of traversing the Wisconsin beer scene, which also included a stop at the Milwaukee Brew Fest. First, some quick thoughts on a few of the six New Glarus beers I tried…

Spotted Cow: How cool is it that a brewery has a farmhouse ale as one of its staple beers? So cool. Not to mention it’s a staple beer that’s conditioned in 12-ounce bottles. I never would think the average drinker would buy enough of this to warrant a year-round run, but it works for me. It pours clear and has a nice, easy funk smell to it that is certainly light enough to please any. It doesn’t come across as sour as Jolly Pumpkin’s Weizen Bam, which had just a little sourness that I consider easy-going. The taste hardly had any sour flavor and came across as crisp and smooth. Like sunshine on my tongue.

Moon Man: This is perhaps my favorite pale ale ever. Being a fan of hoppy beers, this falls perfectly in line with what I’d want from a hopped-up pale ale. It’s got a great smell of hop resin and a flavor that starts pretty calm and finishes with a pine quality. It’s well balanced enough for most beer drinkers, although I fear it might scare off some who want their pale ales to lack any powerful flavors. Well, who needs them anyway? I’ll take Moon Man.

Chocolate Abbey: It’s a dessert beer as far as I’m concerned. Some time ago I wouldn’t have thought a Belgian beer would brew well with chocolate, but by now, why wouldn’t it? While Belgian yeast give the beer it’s usual Belgian ester flavor, there was barely any fruit notes at all. The sweetness of the fruit/esters stayed and mixed well with the chocolate, creating a beer that quickly becomes a chocolatey wonder. The body is light, the flavor is thick. An interesting combination.

Milwaukee Brew Fest “taster”

As for the beer festival – also a win. You know it’s going to be a good time when there are never any lines for the Porta Potties. Also, this was the “taster” glass they give you…

‘Sconsin does it right. Some quick thoughts on great beers after the jump.
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