Beer Review 0412: New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat Hefeweizen
Sometimes you gotta get up and dance.
New Glarus (New Glarus, Wisconsin) are all about keeping it local. “DRINK INDIGENOUS,” their bottle crowns say — and they mean it; New Glarus doesn’t distribute beers beyond the state of Wisconsin, saying it’s all they can do to keep up with demand just for their home state.
Founded in 1993 by Deborah Carey (the first woman in the United States to found a brewery), New Glarus started life in an abandoned warehouse with used equipment. Dan, Deborah’s husband, is a master brewer and was a production supervisor for brewing giant Anheuser-Busch. Dan unearthed copper kettles from a brewery in Germany that was to be demolished; when the retiring German brewer learned that his equipment could live on, he sold all of the goods for scrap value to Mr. Carey.
Dancing Man Wheat is a seasonal brew, a 7.2% ABV (alcohol by volume) Hefeweizen brewed to authentic Bavarian standards using Wisconsin wheat. It is available in six-packs; thanks to Dave (Untappd user OnWisconsin) for sending me this brew in a trade.
The pour ushered in a huge, very creamy head that lasted for several minutes. The beer was golden-yellow in color, with a cloudy body that was absent of particles or sediment. Lacing was excellent, leaving thick patches of creamy lace on the glass. After swirling the final two ounces in the bottle, a very thin sediment distributed throughout the beer, and the head retained itself in a half-finger amount until the last sip.
On the nose: classic German hefeweizen, to a tee. You’ve got lots of clove and sweet, pink bubblegum, with a dash of cinnamon. There’s a musty, earthen yeast, and plenty of the Wisconsin wheat. There’s just a suggestion of spice and a larger note of banana cream. Heavenly and inviting, it only seems to get stronger as it warms.
The taste opens with bubblegum and clove, both deep flavors, and then a small rush of white wine tartness breaks open the palate, bringing in the wheat. While the wheat feels chewy, this beer is light-bodied, and thin on the texture, which is surprising for 7.2% ABV. The wheat-filled middle serves to cleanse the palate for a triumphant finish of banana, earthen yeast, a dash of spicy cinnamon, and another hint of the tart white wine. The foamy, somewhat gritty texture makes this even more drinkable.
New Glarus have turned out yet another clearly exceptional beer — Dancing Man is so very refreshing, it’s quite dangerous. You’d never guess this to be 7.2% ABV. And what makes this such a winner is the simplicity of the flavors. If they simply called this beer ‘New Glarus Hefeweizen,’ that’s exactly what you get. An extremely solid, tasty hefe that delights with each sip. Two enthusiastic thumbs up from me! Oh to have this in six-packs on the regular!
Where are my dancing shoes?
New Glarus Dancing Man Wheat Hefeweizen, 98 points. Price: $9.99 US for a six pack.