Over the last 20 years New Glarus has gained its cult-favorite status by doing two things: producing delicious and inventive beers inspired by old-world recipes, and playing hard to get. Currently the beer is only available in Wisconsin, and they plan on keeping it that way.
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Barleywines, even in a field of brews with ever-increasing ABVs, are among the biggest of the bunch. They're characterized by their strength, depth, and complexity. Barleywines fall into two categories: English and American. The original English interpretations place a greater emphasis on rich malt and can be darker and fruitier. American barleywines dial up the hop intensity but the best still maintain balance. The significant malt character in a proper American barleywine, often equal to or greater than the hop presence, is what distinguishes it from an imperial IPA.
Almost every time I decide to try another Black IPA, I end up wanting to brush my tongue. The two-pronged aggressive bitterness of hops and roast often clashes like a couple of guitarists trying to play over one another. New Glarus Brewing Co.'s Black Top Black IPA, which won gold at GABF this year, takes a more measured approach.
The first sip of Cran-bic sets it apart from New Glarus' other terrific fruit beers. While the brewery's Belgian Red and Raspberry Tart are object lessons in how much fresh fruit flavor a brewer can pack into one bottle, Cran-bic does that and takes a sour step further.
When I think of Dan Carey at New Glarus Brewing Company, I picture him working on his lovely, juicy Raspberry Tart and his pretty-darn-perfect Staghorn Oktoberfest. Double IPA just doesn't come to mind. But Dan Carey's latest small-batch Thumbprint series beer isn't kidding around; it's a seriously hoppy double IPA with an ABV of 9%.
In 1993, Dan Carey left a job with Anheuser-Busch to start his own brewing company, New Glarus Brewing Company, with his wife, Deb. Since then, Carey's beers (including some unusual spontaneously-fermented fruit beers) have won countless awards and garnered attention from beer lovers around the globe. We're so glad that Dan had a minute to chat with Serious Eats.