About 2 weeks ago, I become hell-bent on getting my hands on New Glarus Apple Ale. I got the opportunity to try the two most recent releases of the New Glarus Thumbprint Series and I will admit I am slowly coming around to New Glarus brews. I recalled seeing Apple Ale, which was an early winter release, sitting on shelves within the last month, so I figured this mission would not be too difficult. For those of you outside of Wisconsin, most New Glarus beers will hang around for a few months after release due to the volume in which they are produced and lack of distribution outside of the state.
The first week of the mission included stops at 7 liquor stores with no avail. The second phase of the mission, I started targeting grocery stores, since they typically carry large stocks of New Glarus beers, but without the selection, few craft beer drinkers buy beer here. Again I came up empty. I pondered through the weekend, trying to decide whether to continue my pursuit or just move on. I would not be deterred and the following week I entered the third phase of the mission. Another 7 or 8 stores were visited as I began to grow quite weary. For my last ditch effort, I got on the phone and called every liquor store within a 10 mile radius of my home and it appeared there was no Apple Ale left in the Madison, WI area. I was defeated. It was Friday night and I had to make a run to the local grocery store in Cottage Grove to pick up a few things for the weekend. I hadn’t stopped or called there so I quick swung in around 8PM. Another crippling blow. I picked up my groceries and headed for home. I was about to pull out of the parking lot, when I thought about swinging in to the one liquor store in Cottage Grove, Village Liquor. I had already called, but I figured I would stop in since I had never visited the store before. I walked in and straight back I saw the New Glarus section. On my way back I checked out the fairly modest bomber section. I arrived and they were right, no Apple Ale here. I was about to walk out, but I decided to swing through the Macro section in case there were more bombers elsewhere that I had missed. I got to the last row of coolers, which was the cider section and there sitting on the shelves was one lonely 4 pack of Apple Ale! I got to the counter where the cashier saw what I had brought before grimly saying “Oh someone called looking for this earlier and we just found it 10 minutes ago”. A smile spread across my face before explaining to her it was me who had called just hours before.
The nose on many New Glarus beers is really lacking. More of the same with Apple Ale, some faint apple notes, but really most of what you get is a lagery type scent. The first taste of the beer is unmistakable, it tastes like apple cider. It is definitely subdued and not overly spicy like apple ciders can be, but it tastes almost exactly like it. The flavor gives way to the apple’s sweetness, comparable to many of their fruit beers. As the beer warmed (or my taste buds finally gave in), the sweetness dulled down and gave way to some very slight tart notes. I will say this beer is lacking one more dimension at the end of the mouth that would really make it more enjoyable. I think it would be almost perfect if they could cut it with tartness. But after the long hard road, I couldn’t have been more excited to try this beer.
My Take: 3.75 out of 5 Stars