On my recent trip to Wisconsin, New Glarus was one of the breweries whose beers I was most excited to try. Unfortunately I was flying, so I couldn’t bring anything back with me, but I did have two mixed 6-packs as well as a 750mL bottle of the famous New Glarus Raspberry Tart.
This beer comes in a 750mL bottle with a cap that is wax-covered for a nice presentation. I believe I bought it at Copp’s, a local Madison grocery store chain, for a measly $7-$8 (and they had a pretty good selection of other beers, too!). Outside of Wisconsin, New Glarus is famous for their fruit beers, notably the Raspberry Tart and New Glarus Red, which is a cherry (kriek) beer, but their fruit beers actually only account for about 3% of their annual production.
I don’t think the raspberries come from a local WI source, but they mash them and ferment them spontaneously in open oak vats. They add Wisconsin-grown wheat and year-old Hallertau hops to round the beer out, but it really is a dessert beer and raspberry dominates this refreshing beverage.
It pours raspberry red with a lot of carbonation and some pink foam on top. The aroma has a little “Belgian” farmhouse character to it, from the spontaneous fermentation, but the aroma is really of raspberry juice more than anything.
The flavor is all raspberry, and while I wouldn’t say it is tart by any stretch of the imagination, the beer is not cloyingly sweet, either. For what is essentially a glass of fruit juice, it is pretty well-balanced, although good luck getting anything other than raspberry in the flavor. This is not a subtle beer!
The carbonation is really refreshing and I had to really watch myself to not gulp it down. At only 4% ABV this is a low-alcohol beer, but with such sweetness it would be hard to make it a session brew. I would have loved to have tried this poured over good vanilla ice cream or with chocolate or chocolate cake/dessert of some kind. It’s pretty much a dessert on its own, but it would KILL with chocolate. I think it could potentially pair well with some cheeses, too, like a nice gouda or something.
I really enjoyed this beer. It is sweet, so if you’re expecting the tartness of, say, Rodenbach, you will be disappointed, but this was one of the best fruit beers I’ve ever had. I hope I get to go back again next year!