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Beer Reviews


New Glarus Brewing Company
New Glarus, WI

Style: Lambic—Fruit

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

Pair With:
Cranberries, in case you didn’t know, are Wisconsin’s number one fruit crop, in both value and acreage. And New Glarus Brewing Company, in case you didn’t know, only distributes within Wisconsin. So a beer brewed with cranberries from New Glarus was probably inevitable. The only question is what kind of beer it would be. And the obvious answer would be “a fruit beer.” But that would only be if the question answerer didn’t know New Glarus brewmaster Dan Carey all that well.

New Glarus has been aggressively exploring the sour/tart dimension of beer—just check out the crisply acidic Berliner Weiss and the intensely tart Old English Porter—and Cran-bic—a word play on lambic, a style of Belgian beers known for their sometimes powerful sourness—is no exception. According to New Glarus, this beer is brewed with brett, acetic, and lactic bacteria, and aged for five months in outdoor oak barrels. Not to mention Wisconsin-growed cranberries.

Cran-bic pours gorgeously: a beautiful ruby red underneath a short-lived, crimson-tinged head. The aroma is fruity cranberry—tart in its own right—and sharp brett/lacto sourness. Anyone who doesn’t like sour brews, get out now.

The initial taste is sharp acidity tempered by sugary, almost soda-pop-like sweetness. The sweetness warps into tart tanginess that comes dangerously close to teeth curling before fading to a fruity sugariness. The finish is surprisingly long considering all that acidity, and with bigger sips a tad bit cloying.

Although not as challenginly sour as Old English Porter, Cran-bic packs plenty of tart punch, held in check by the fruitiness of the cranberries. If you hate sour beers, this one is definitely not for you, but if you love solar toys
fruit beers and are a little adventurous, Cran-bic is tremendously rewarding. Not only does it show off Dan Carey’s amazing brewing skills, but it makes a near-perfect beer to go with those sweet, fruity desserts.

Reviewed by Eddie Glick on January 25, 2010.
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