Before I even get to writing about this fantastic brewery in Wisconsin, I have to review one of the two or three or maybe it was even four surprising finds. I've had New Glarus before, thanks to friends who love OMG Beer! (thanks Molly of Filmsnack, and Daniel Brad). That said, I'd never tried their Stone Soup, an Abbey Ale brewed with German and English hops, Belgian yeast, and Wisconsin barley.
Brewery/Name: New Glarus Brewing Company
Style: Belgian Pale Ale (Abbey Ale...)
Brewed In: New Glarus, Wisconsin
Serving Glass: Pint
OMG Beer Rating: 8.0
Appearance: orange cloudy body, one white fluffy head that faded to a light white ring, very strong lacing like a tightly knit web
Aroma: a fruitiness like peaches, sweet licorice, and then some clove and ginger spices
Taste: Crisp isn't a taste, it's a feeling, but a crisp wave of sweet bread, then the fruit and spice combo. The fruit is more subtle than in the aroma, with the spices coming more to the front with the dry finish. Definitely more ginger, maybe white pepper. As it warmed, a hop grassiness pleasantly slid in before the spicy dry finish.
Mouthfeel: Not quite light, which you might expect from the crispness and the color. Nothing too cloying about the sweetness, but the carbonation leaves it on your tongue a little, letting those spices dance until the next sip. Wouldn't call it bitter, but I can see the anti-bitter crowd not loving the spice aftertaste.
Drinkability: I'd love this with a nice summery sandwich, something with a tangyness, maybe arugula and a lemon mayo, or pear and a sweeter meat (slices of pear, ham, argula, tomato, how's that sound?). Might try that soon. I don't know that I'd drink more than one or two without food, to steal from Jason Alstrom's Beer Advocate review. The aftertaste wants something to go with it.
The New Glarus page for Stone Soup says:
"Who is qualified to judge one's contribution? Is it the pure Wisconsin barley malt or shall credit be given to traditional German and English hops? Maybe it is the Belgian Monastic yeast or the Brewer's tender care?"
Credit has to go to Dan Carey, for using the core beer ingredients (yeast, barley, hops) and producing something delicious and complex. I'd wager most beer geeks would attribute a lot of the final result to the yeast pulling such remarkable flavors from the malt, while twisting the hop contributions into such interesting spice components.