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New Glarus Brewing | New Glarus, Wisconsin
By Adam Bissen
Sunday, August 04, 2013 1:55 PM
I was planning to pen an endearing ode to New Glarus’ latest seasonal gem, but I simply cannot ignore the fact that 12 hours ago a new YouTube video went viral. So go ahead and Google "Crazy lady in my town caught stealing rhubarb," and I’ll try not to mention it again. Now then — speaking of that delicious summertime treat, have I got a story to tell you about rhubarb! This involves Dan and Deb Carey, the husband and wife duo behind New Glarus Brewing, the cultish microbrewers whose previous fruit concoctions (Serendipity, Raspberry Tart, Wisconsin Belgian Red) have attained a hallowed status as some of the highest-rated beers in the world. But there’s just one problem with making locally sourced fruit beers — sometimes the crops don’t cooperate.
Following continued failures of the raspberry and cherry harvest, the Careys opted for another delectable pie combination to stand apart from the masses: strawberry rhubarb. Though this may seem like a staple of Wisconsin cuisine, it was again a tough year for commercial growers — so there Dan and Deb were on June 15, reaching out to their neighbors (no, not that one!) at the annual New Glarus Polka Festival. Manning a booth, the Careys accepted bunches of garden-harvested rhubarb to be used in this first time-brew. Six weeks later — after the fruit was mashed with a sour brown ale base and aged in oak barrels — the newest New Glarus creation was ready for the world.
One 25-ounce bottle of Strawberry Rhubarb from Festival Foods, $8.99
4 percent ABV
The most distinctive feature is the green bottle, topped with green wax, while the label boasts an illustration of a strawberry with the word RHUBARB spelled out in stalks.
Although I expected something unnaturally red like strawberry pop, this beer takes earthier tones of rhubarb (or perhaps the brown ale) to make a thin brownish-amber brew with a light, pinkish head.
Aroma: The fruit notes are big — with an emphasis on ripe strawberries — but they are not overbearing. The sour base comes out through the nose, along with a faint hop presence.
The first flavors to hit the tongue are huge gulps of strawberries, tasting like they were just picked hours ago. You’d expect potent rhubarb to dominate the taste, but it creeps out with a humble earthiness toward the finish, gently guided along by light hops.
Very thin bodied, probably the thinnest beer I’ve tried all year.
This beer is extremely delicious and would probably be better as a standalone treat than as a food pairing.
The reviewers at BeerAdvocate score this a 94, while RateBeer continues the New Glarus hype by grading this a 99 — though, honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to say it’s overrated. This is just another locally sourced masterbrew from New Glarus. I can only hope the harvest I pull from my own garden (or, perhaps, my neighbor’s) will taste a tenth as good.
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Rejected Best of La Crosse Categories
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2. Middle school football team
3. Rail liquor selection
4. Parking ramp
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6. Graffiti artist
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1. Pete Best
2. Milwaukee's Best
3. "Best in Show"
4. Best Western
5. Best Coast
6. Best Buy
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Second Supper (The Free Press)
PO Box 427 La Crosse Wisconsin 54601
Call: 608.782.7001 or email: