always heard New Glarus Spotted Cow was supposed to be one of the best
cream ales in the country, but I’ve never been able to try it since I
live in New York and they don’t distribute here. Thankfully, a friend
was traveling through the area and brought me back a bottle. And while
I’d say it’s one of the better cream ales I’ve had, it’s not quite the
best of the best.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a mug. It was bottled on 8/13/14 and was given to me by a friend (thanks, Jordan!).
Appearance: Bright yellow hue, though slight hazy. Light carbonation
visible. Pours to an average sized, bright white, frothy head which
retains and laces fairly well.
Smell: Mild nose with hints of lemon and light grain. No lager quality.
Taste: Cream ales tend to be rather lager-like, though the better ones
tend to remind me of a kolsch (which is also a lager-like ale style).
This has the lighter malt base often found in a lager, but with the more
refined palette of an ale. There’s subtle fruit notes of lemon and
banana in the front, with a sweet cereal taste lurking in the background
throughout. That’s the corn, which also creates for a slight metallic
or astringent character on the finish, though it’s clean (unlike so many
macro lagers). This is a fine, satisfying palette and probably to-spec
as far as style goes. It’s not amazingly delicious, but it’s definitely
Drinkability: A beer like this is what you’d want in warmer weather or
when you just want something easy to drink. The mouthfeel is thin, but
calm, with a smooth, creamy texture and clean aftertaste. At only 5.1%
ABV, New Glarus Spotted Cow is maybe a tad higher than it needs to be,
but still light enough in body that no one’s going to have trouble
putting back a few of these.