Have you ever had a beer that just flat out surprises you or catches you off guard with how unique and good it is?
Back in August, right around the same weekend that the Great Taste of the Midwest was being held in Madison, WI. New Glarus released at their brewery a very small batch of a new offering to their R&D line appropriately named ‘Gueuze.’
What many may not know is that this style is almost unheard of being made not to mention even released in bottles for sale here in the states. To my knowledge, only 3 or 4 other breweries have even attempted to recreate this traditional Belgain style sour ale here. I was immediately excited beyond belief to say the least that one of my most favorite brewers was going to make one of my newly found favorite styles in my home state of Wisconsin. Here is the description of it from the New Glarus news release:
Brewed = March 24, 2009
Bottled = August 6, 2010
Batch = 10 bbls
OG = 14 °P
ABV = 6.2%
IBU’s = 15
Brewed in the tradition of the Lambics of Belgium but using a blend of Ale Yeast, Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus, and Acetobacter. These microorganisms came from our culture collection as well as many collected by Dan around the wilds of Wisconsin! Fermented and aged in Oak. This beer spent the summer of 2009 aging outdoors in used oak barrels. Then bottle fermented. This is a funky and very sour beer not for the faint of heart. If you are unfamiliar with sour or Brettanomyces beers you may want to pass this one up!
After the release, many have had mixed feelings about how it compares to the traditional Gueuze’s made in Belgium. While many things about the beer are different than what you might think a Gueuze should be like, I realized I was forgetting a major factor. This was not made in Belgium like most Gueuzes are, this was made in the state of Wisconsin! Like the description above said, this was made with microorganisms and cultures from the wilds of Wisconsin; so of course it is going to be different! After this realization, I began to enjoy it more and more
Despite what someone may say on what style this beer should really be classified as, I sincerely applaud Dan over at New Glarus for continually making something new and unique that has his own touch, flair, and personality integrated into the beer and for sharing it with us, the consumers. I enjoyed it immensely because it did not necessarily perfectly fit the style, but was made from the start as traditionally as you could ask for. It became something new and unique that I could not quite figure out. I have had a lot of great beers thus far in my exploration of craft beer, but there always comes a time when you will try something new that completely surprises you. It is beers like this that catch me off guard and make me thirsty for more. Cheers!