One Big Bottle: New Glarus Unplugged Cran-bic

One Big Bottle

The brews we're sipping, one by one.

Editor's Note: So many beers, so little time. One Big Bottle spotlights the brews we're sipping, one by one.


[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

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.

It pours an orange-tinged blush, with just a trace of head. Aromas of Wisconsin cranberries and tart pie cherries lead a bit of funk, nuttiness, and wet oak. The flavor is dominated by tart, juicy cranberries. The beer was brewed in the traditional Lambic style, but the end result is much cleaner. The signature barnyard characteristics of Belgian Lambics are absent. Cran-bic spent five months outdoors in oak barrels, which rounded out any rougher edges and added a layer of complexity.

Some malty sweetness becomes more prominent as the beer warms and its ample carbonation subsides. It's not at the far end of the sour spectrum, but there's enough acidity present to slow you down to savor speed. Cran-bic fits well within New Glarus' house style for fruit beers. This would please die-hard pucker people as well as the uninitiated.

Disclosure: Sample provided for review.

About the Author: Jonathan Moxey is a Harlem-based homebrewer and BJCP beer judge. He hosts private beer tastings for Tapped Craft Beer Events.