Home > 2011 US Caps & BeerVenture, BeerVentures, Brewery Tours > BeerVenture: New Glarus Brewing Company

BeerVenture: New Glarus Brewing Company

New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, Wisconsin has been on our beer bucket list ever since we saw them featured in American Beer – a super entertaining movie introduction to the top US craft breweries and brewers, incase you’re ever looking for some Friday night beer entertainment.

The New Glarus Story

New Glarus Brewing Company is owned and operated by Dan and Deb Carey – a married couple whose combined business management (Deb) and brewing (Dan) talents have created “one of the top 10 breweries in the world”.  The kicker?  New Glarus does not distribute outside the state of Wisconsin.  Pretty darn amazing considering this business originated as a gift from Deb to Dan.

You see, Deborah Carey single-handedly raised the capital and founded the brewery’s start-up as a gift to her husband – making her the first woman to found and operate a brewery in the US.  As president of New Glarus, she continues to be instrumental in the success and growth of the brewery, as she claims to do everything except brew the beer.

Dan on the other hand, is a master brewer who received his initial beer education in California then worked in a Munich brewery, and continued on to become production supervisor for Anhauser-Busch before entering into the start-up with his wife.  His beers have earned him an extensive list of awards and recognition, as well a case full of Great American Beer Festival medals.  He is truly a master brewer, and no one appreciates his brews more than the lucky natives of Wisconsin.

The Brewery

In 2006, Deb and Dave began construction on a state-of-the-art brewery that now sits high on a hilltop overlooking the small German-Swiss town of New Glarus.  The new building, which opened in 2008, is an artful reflection of the Swiss heritage that’s shared by the town and the brewery.

Self Guided Tour

The free tour is self-guided and leads visitors past the impressive copper mash tuns, ceilings lined with endless rows of metal pipes, giant fermenters, yeast propogation rooms, automated bottling lines, and a room full of brewery memorabilia, awards and bragging rights.  New Glarus is a pristine, high tech, efficient, well-planned brewing operation.  In fact, the place sounds like a well-oiled machine – quiet with little activity.  As we kept watch for oompa loopas, our speculations were soon deflated, as friendly humans occasionally emerged with a smile and a nod.

Tapping In

Step over to the taps and purchase a four beer sampler.  Between the hubster and I, two samplers covered the full tap list, which featured their year round top sellers and a few specialty brews.

  • Fat Squirrel – a nutty, toasty, malty brown ale.
  • Moon Man – a smooth and malty pale ale bursting with fragrant hoppiness.
  • Spotted Cow – this Wisconsin farmhouse ale is a light, full bodied, fruity session beer.
  • Stone Soup – a crisp and clean Abbey-style ale with spicy clove and ginger notes.
  • Golden Ale – an experimental trappist-style sour beer brewed in tribute to Orval.  This beer is brimming with wild yeast flavor – crazy good if you like super funky beer.
  • Wisconsin Belgian Red – a cherry ale brewed with a pound of cherries in every bottle.  This intense fruit beer is sweet and delicious with a tart cherry pie finish.

We even blended a small amount of the Golden Ale with the Belgian Red to create a mighty tasty sour cherry brew.

The Biergarten

Just outside the tap room is a scenic biergarten where visitors can take in the hilltop scenery as they savor their samples.

New Glarus Biergarten

Shop Around

The tour ends in the large gift shop and tasting room.  Shop around for t-shirts, glasses, local cheese and other Wisconsin souvenirs.  I recommend a “Real Women Don’t Drink Light Beer” shirt for the frauleins, and a stuffed Fat Squirrel for the kiddies.

The Beer Depot

Last stop – time to buy some beer!  Head down to the beer depot and pick out your beers.  Bottles can be purchased individually, by the six pack (four packs for imperial beers) or by the case.  Large bottles of the Raspberry and Belgian Red fruit beers are also ready for sale.  But keep in mind that most gas stations, grocery stores and liquor stores throughout the area sell New Glarus beer for virtually the same price in six packs and mix packs, so the advantage here is access to the harder to find specialty brews.

Worth the Trip

If you  have the opportunity to visit New Glarus, it’s worth the scenic trip off the beaten path.  Tour the brewery in your own sweet time, relax and enjoy some exceptional samples in the biergarten, and take home a collection of beers that are produced by a top ten world class brewery, but are only available in Wisconsin.

Hilltop View Overlooking the Town of New Glarus

Brewing TV – Episode 18: New Glarus Brewing Co. from Brewing TV on Vimeo.

Cheers Beers!

  1. May 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    This looks like such a great trip. Love the photos, funny signs!

    • May 25, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      It sure has been a great trip! We hit our final beer destination this afternoon and are winding down for the ride home.

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