As the weather gets nicer, there’s always talk of a nice cold beer. “A cold one” means different things to different people, however. I talked to quite a few people before writing this post and I think there’s 4 types of beer drinkers:
the connosseur – trying new beers is an adventure
the loyalist – finds a beer s/he likes and sticks with it
the realist – drinks what s/he can afford or
the partyer – drinks whatever is handed to him/her
That collection of drinkers made me wonder: if you could really sit back and taste test some beers — what would you really like? What would you like to drink most?
So I asked the Wisconsin Bites tasting panel from last June to come back and try some beers – along with a little food for pairings and for alcohol absorption. 🙂 Kevin Ahlert, Beloit; Mike Clowes, Clinton; John Treuthardt, Beloit; Chad Udell, Machesney Park, Ill.; and Justin Wollslair, Clinton may have become Wisconsin Bites’ permanent beer panel. 🙂
Chad, Mike and John (from left) – hard at “work.”
John, Kevin and Justin (from left).
To ensure this tasting didn’t become a battle of breweries, I stuck with one: The New Glarus Brewing Company of New Glarus. Created by Dan and Deb Carey, the brewery has been around for 21 years now and is Wisconsin’s largest microbrewery. Not to mention, they focus on Wisconsinites, selling in Wisconsin only.
I love the brewery, its tour and many of its beers, so I had the panel try four beers — 3 lagers and one ale — that you’d enjoy for summer drinking (quotes below from New Glarus Brewing Co. site):
Totally Naked, a Wisconsin Lager — “a fine, mature aroma with no coarse bitterness”
Two Women, a Classic Country Lager — “crisp, well-balanced, satisfying”
Back Forty, a Wisconsin Bock — “smooth and familiar”
Spotted Cow, a Naturally Cloudy Farmhouse Ale — “fun and fruity…with a little hint of corn”
If you’re not familiar with beer-speak, there are two categories of beers: lagers and ales. Lagers are made at low temperatures with bottom-fermenting yeasts. The most popular type of lager is a Pale Lager, but there are also Pilsner and Bock. Ales are made at warm temperatures with top-fermenting yeasts. There are all kinds of ales, including Belgian, Brown, IPA (India Pale Ale), Golden, Porter and Stout.
All of the guys had tried a couple of New Glarus beers before, but not all. So they were surprised by their reactions, given that they all knew the most popular New Glarus Brewery beer: Spotted Cow.
So what would be the beer of choice for each of them? [I left off their names, so they don’t razz each other too much about choices. :)]
Two tasters would sit back with Back 40. They loved the dark look, hoppy and creamy taste. And speaking of taste, they liked it with both Muenster and Blue Cheese. The creaminess really won them over.
One taster said Two Women would be his beer of choice, for the caramel color, smooth taste and creamy mouthfeel. Not to mention, it went well with Gouda cheese! Three of the guys also claimed it as No. 2 on their lists, citing its nice body and smooth aftertaste as reason to “drink a lot of it!”
Another panelist said Spotted Cow was simply the best and considered it his “every day beer.” Its lighter color, good carbonation and slight malt aroma made it the most drinkable. “It’s super light so I could imagine it on ice by the pool and enjoying it all day.” All the panelists liked Spotted Cow with different cheeses, including Muenster, Brick and Gouda.
Our last panelist must be the connosseur in the group, as he had no favorite! “I liked all the beers. Depending on the situation, I would choose Spotted Cow and Totally Naked, if I’m just sitting out on the patio. Back 40 and Two Women would be my more laid back beers. But they are all very tasty!” He said all the beers were smooth, which made them enjoyable.
So, if you haven’t done this — try some different beer styles this weekend and find out what you really like! I recommend any of Wisconsin’s brewery tours to learn more about what you’re drinking. It’s fun and educational! Just remember to drink responsibly!
Have a great weekend! Write and tell me what beer style YOU like!