Reviews, Commentary and Opinions on Midwest Craft Beer and Microbreweries


Beer Reviews

Imperial Weizen

New Glarus Brewing Company
New Glarus, WI

Style: German Hefeweizen

Franz’s Rating:
one beerone beerone beerone beerone beer   (Outstanding within its style.)

The first time I heard about this beer was at a food and beer tasting event that my fellow Beer Dork Nigel and I attended not too long ago. This event had over 200 different craft brews and, while I tried my hardest to sample all of them, time was definitely not on my side. It was later in the evening when I came to the booth of New Glarus and noticed a sign that said Imperial Wiezen with an “X” marked on it. This meant that they were out of this product which was more and more common at all of the tables as the night wound down. In the future, when going to these events, make sure you get there plenty early and keep moving if you intend on seeing everything. At the New Glarus booth I asked the gentleman that was serving me the only beer they had left, Spotted Cow, and was told that I should start to see their Imperial Weizen in stores soon.

So here I am with a New Glarus Unplugged Series brew. I felt pretty shafted that night not being able to taste this interesting concept beer, but upon opening the bottle I felt much better. When pouring this beer into the glass I noticed excessive foaming, caused by high carbon dioxide, which is actually preferred in a weiss beer. This beer has the usual banana/clove characteristics found in weisses, but interestingly enough there is a noticeable hop aroma to it, albeit faint. I guess dry hopping weisse beers with Cascade hops makes for a great balance of smell. I was truly impressed with how just a little hop aroma influenced this beer. The taste was not what I expected coming from an imperial-style beer. I was expecting a little bite from this, but would not be surprised if this was a sleeper. (Definition of a sleeper beer: a beer that will knock you on your ass because the brewer cleverly hides the alcohol with the perfect mix of brewing ingredients.) What did stick out the most with the taste was the sweetness of this brew and how the carbon dioxide affected it. This imperial weiss tickled my tongue with effervescence and left it coated with a malty sweetness. I know now why they say these styles of beer are preferred with high carbon dioxide.

My vote for the Midwest Brewery Power Ranking rates this brewery as number three, and their Unplugged Series is partially the reason for this rating. New Glarus meets all of the categories listed for the vote. The only thing keeping them back is the number of beers they have available in a year. My number one vote, Bell’s Brewery, has a total of 22 beers on their web site. New Glarus has 15 to date. This may seem petty on my part to knock a brewery on the number of beers they produce, but this is what separates the best from the best. Hypothetically, if one brewery can produce every categorized beer style that satisfies everyone’s likings they would be number one. It is clear, according to the votes, that Bell’s can keep drinkers happy with all of the brews they create. I do like the idea of innovation and I think with this beer Dan Carey hit the nail on the head. When New Glarus gets all of their renovations completed, maybe they will be able to incorporate more year-round brews into the lineup and make the jump to number one in the votes next year.


Reviewed by Franz Mueller on February 26, 2008.
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