While visiting New Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin on my recent trip from Idaho to Ohio, one of the beers I brought home was a Berliner Weiss that is part of their Thumbprint Series. Beers from the Thumbprint Series are small batch beers concocted by head brewmaster Dan Carey. According to the New Glarus website these are limited releases and they make no promises ever to brew them again. A limited release of an intriguing style from a brewery that does not distribute to Ohio was more than I could pass up.
If anyone out there is unfamiliar with the Berliner Wiess style I would direct you to my recent review of Curiousis by Actual Brewing here in Columbus, where I go into some history and details of this light bodied, tart beer that Napoleon once labeled the Champagne of the North.
- Brewery: New Glarus (New Glarus, WI)
- Style: Berliner Weiss
- ABV: 3.0%
- Availability: Limited to Wisconsin, and most likely a limited one time only release
The beer is the color of pale straw, translucent, and highly effervescent. Even when poured carefully a massive, yet delicate looking white head fills at least half of my tulip glass. After a couple of minutes the head settles down leaving behind respectable lacing on the walls of the glass, and a few millimeters of pure white foam that floats on the pale yellow liquid. It’s an attractive beer. The nose is a combination of overripe lemons, mild Belgian yeast funkiness, and cider-like tartness (notes of sour green apples). The taste is lemony, crisp and tart, but not overly sour. The mouthfeel is light and bubbly from the high level of carbonation. The finish is dry, crisp and clean. Not many flavors linger in on your palate, but the carbonation and acidity leave a slight tingling sensation on your tongue.
Dan Carey and New Glarus have put out a gem here. I love the interplay between the lemons and the Belgian yeast notes in the aroma. The taste is fruity, crisp and refreshing. Unlike Curiousis the low abv and tart character of this Berliner Weiss are spot on for the style. I’d describe the smell/taste as lemon yogurt crossed with apple cider, with the effervescence of champagne. If you want something with mouth puckering sourness, you might find this beer a little tame, but for those testing the waters of sour beers this would be a good entry point. At 3% abv the effects of the alcohol are unnoticeable to me. Without question I’ve found a new favorite Berliner Weiss! I just wish I would have brought home more than a four pack. If anyone happens to be passing through Wisconsin in the near future I strongly recommend you give this beer a try.
Rating = 8.5
Rating Scale: 10 = perfection, 9 = excellent, one of the top beers in the world, 8 = very good, one of the top beers in its style category, 7 = good, a solid beer I’m happy to be drinking, 6 = average, not bad but not something I’m likely to buy again, 5 = below average, 3-4 = poor, should be avoided, 1-2 drainpour.