Monday, April 8, 2013

561. New Glarus Cherry Stout

I will admit it: I miss New Glarus. So I was pleased to find this bottle lurking in the basement—it was a gift from Aaron Spoores a couple of years ago, and I forgot about it until now. A cursory examination of the internet indicates that the second release of Cherry Stout as part of the Unplugged Series was in February 2010, so that would make this beer a little over three years old. May my hoarding instincts never die. We’ll add Cherry Stout to a list that includes Staghorn Octoberfest, Saison, Raspberry Tart, Belgian Red, and Fat Squirrel Brown Ale.

Cherry Stout pours a murky cocoa/milk chocolate brown with a fair amount of red; it has a thin tan head that quickly disappears except for a few lingering skiffs of foam, and the nose is redolent of sour cherries, much like New Glarus’s more famous other cherry beer, Wisconsin Belgian Red. In addition to the cherry, there is a touch of candy sweetness in the nose, but could just be more cherries. Flavors open with sour cherry and a slight citric tartness; there is cherry pie mixed with brown sugar in the middle, and a bright fresh cherry in the finish along with just a hint of sourness that turns to sweetness at the flavors linger on the palate. The body is medium; it is clean and bright on the tongue, helped along by the carbonation. I’m not really sure I’d call this a stout: it is more like Wisconsin Belgian Red with a darker malt bill and a bit more body. It might masquerade as a Belgian Dark Strong—not well, mind you—but even then it would be on the lighter side. While the age could be contributing to the lack of “elegantly smooth chocolate covered cherry” flavor described on the New Glarus website—I get no real chocolate at all—that’s fine with me because this beer is delicious as is. It has that bright, lively tang found in Wisconsin Belgian Red with a greater depth of cherry flavor across the profile. And Elli concurs; she finished hers well before me, and started eyeing my glass soon after. This beer just re-awakens my longing for all things New Glarus.

From the bottle: “Due to popular demand we brought back Dan’s Gold Medal winning ‘Unplugged Cherry Stout.” This ale is aged in Oak barrels to promote spontaneous fermentation. Eight Wisconsin malted barleys combined with Wisconsin Montmorency Cherries make for a complex and sublime taste experience that you may never find again. Discover why Dan is repeatedly recognized as the Best Brewmaster in America.”

ABV: 6.5%


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