New Brew: New Glarus Unplugged Cran-bic Ale

13 Nov


New Glarus Unplugged Cran-bic Ale

Cuz who doesn't love a pun?

The middle of November brings a timely new addition to the venerable New Glarus Unplugged line of experimental beers.  Dan Carey has always had a way with fruit, his Raspberry Tart, Wisconsin Belgian Red, Apple Ale, Cherry Stout, and Enigma all standout offerings showing a deft hand at masterfully blending fruit into solid beer bases that serve as a stage for showcasing the fresh seasonal fruits.  The newest addition to Dan’s fruity family is the Unplugged Cran-bic Ale.  Sounds like a perfect addition to finer Thanksgiving menus across the great state of Wisconsin.

Beer: New Glarus Unplugged Cran-bic Ale

Style: Fruit lambic

Vitals: 6.0% abv, “Sparkling and bright this is a Wisconsin original created for you in the traditional method employed by the Lambic Brewers of Belgium including five months of outdoor resting in oak barrels. Indigenous yeast and cranberries from the “wilds” of Wisconsin flawlessly pair to dance on your palette. You have discovered a rare and delightful treasure to be served cold in a fluted glass.”

My take: Pours a crystal clear shade of burnt amber (perhaps you were expecting cranberry red?) under a short-lived and loosely packed foamy white head.  Nose is dominated by the fruit, with a brown sugar and spice malty depth.  Primarily sweet on the palate, this is certainly not a super-dry lambic in the Belgian tradition.  The balanced tartness and crisp malt backbone falls somewhere between the Belgian Red and Apple Ale for me.  Often, Dan’s barrel-aged beers are very oak-forward, but the wood takes a backseat here.  What he has created is an immanently-drinkable ale that balances the sweet, sour and tart profiles of the fruit masterfully.  It also served as a perfect “dessert” for a light dinner salad of mixed greens from my CSA bonus box, dried cranberries, walnuts, feta, and a quick balsamic vinaigrette I whipped up on the spot.

"House" salad

Bonus Recipe!: Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredient Rollcall:

  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive oil
  • Dijon mustard
  • dash of salt, sugar, cracked pepper, herbes de Provence

How I do it:

  1. Pour vinegar (~2 tablespoons for 1-2 portions), mustard (~1 teaspoon), and seasoning in small mixing bowl.
  2. Begin whisking and slowly drizzle an equal amount of olive oil into vinegar mixture until well-blended and emulsified.
  3. That’s it.  Make your own dressing.  It’s so freaking easy.

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