Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Two New (Glarus) Releases

As summer comes to a close, New Glarus Brewing Co. has come out with a two very different new seasonal beers: Laughing Fox Kristal Weizen and Black Top Black IPA. One is traditional, the other modern; one is mild, the other assertive; one is light, the other dark; one is...ok I'll stop there, but you get the idea.

New Glarus Laughing Fox Kristal Weizen

Appearance: Surprisingly dark, copper-orange with a big, foamy, lingering head.
Aroma: Clove, cinnamon, and just of hint of the hefeweizeny banana ester.
Flavor: In short, very mild. Hints of wheat and clove, with a very thin body. None of the caramel flavors the darker color implies come through in the taste. The yeast notes become a bit more pronounced as the beer warms up; I'd drink this one at cellar temperature for full effect. A very light, clean beer with mild hefeweizen-yeast notes.
Drinkability: Absurdly drinkable.
Summary: The copper color made me think that Dan might be throwing us a curve ball here, but this beer is basically a light, filtered Hefeweizen, which, I suppose, is exactly what a Krstial Weizen should be. According to the bottle, the color is meant to match that of a fox's fur, which it nails head on. I have to say I prefer Dancing Man, but that one clocks in at 7.2% abv, where as Laughing Fox is a modest 4.5%, making it a good choice for a session on the last few hot days of summer (which may already be behind us, unfortunately).

Black Top Black IPA
Appearance: Very dark brown if not quite black, with hints of dark amber when held up to the light.
Aroma:: Classic American hop notes of Citrus and Pine, with a hint of caramel in the background.
Flavor: Assertive American hop flavor up front, finishing with a strong bitterness and just a hint of roast. I suspect they use a combination of de-bittered black malt with some roasted malt to get the dark color without too much roast. There is a hint of an acidic bitterness, likely from the roast malt, that melds with the hop bitterness to form a minerally, almost quinine-like bitter note. However the roast flavor is restrained enough so as to not be astringent or unpleasant. A very interesting blend of flavors.
Drinkability: Moderate. The bitterness and roasted note combine to wear out the palate a bit as the glass goes down. I don't see my self drinking a bunch of these in a row.
Summary: Not an IPA/Stout hybrid, but rather a solidly bitter IPA with just a hint of roast that adds some uniqueness and complexity. A tasty brew.


  1. I'm a fan of both Kristal Weizens and Black IPAs. I had the BIPA at Great Taste and really enjoyed the brief sip I had. My recollection of that was that the pine was quite prevalent and made it distinctive.

    I'm very curious on the Kristal. I'll have to track down a 6 pack (or is it a four-pack?). I wonder if the color came first or the name; it's not often that that tail wags that dog.

  2. I also tried both these beers this past weekend. I liked them both quite a bit. The Laughin Fox had a unique sourness that was a bit off in the beginning but soon went down easy. I liked it's Belgian/Bavarian profile. The Black IPA was just well made. What can you say about the master, DC.

  3. I thought the black top was okay, but seemed a bit cloying by the end of the glass. It was actually fairly hoppy, something I didn't expect from New Glarus. It's kind of a try it once beer for me, so I'll be looking to trade what I have left. The one sip of the Krystal Weizen wasn't bad, but I'm not a huge fan of this style.

  4. Anon 2, I agree that the drinkability was not top notch on the BIPA, though I didn't find it cloying but rather a little bit harsh in the roast/bitter combination. Overall a great beer though, in my estimation.

  5. I have to say, I'm drinking the BIPA right now and can't really detect the roastyness that the article mentions. Also the aroma of this beer is fantastic.


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