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Brew Review: New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red

The Wisconsin Belgian Red pairs nicely with chocolate cake.
The Wisconsin Belgian Red pairs nicely with chocolate cake.
Chris Spradley

New Glarus Wisconsin Belgian Red


The Wisconsin Belgian Red is one of New Glarus' most popular beers and Co-Founder/Brewer Dan Carey’s first shot at a fruit beer.

“He started experimenting with a cherry beer, figuring out open fermentation and barrel aging,” said his wife Deborah. “Dan is very gifted and we discuss the beers and he can picture them in his mind. He doesn’t make many test batches. He just brews it. So he figured this beer out. We wanted to pay homage to Belgium but also wanted people to know it was from Wisconsin.”

The Wisconsin part of the Red is found in the full pound of Door County, Wisconsin cherries for every bottle that according to the Carey’s is “so unique that (they) have applied for a patent.” It was one of their first beers to win an award and has been a regular winner since it’s first GABF gold medal in 1996 to being named one of the Best Beers in America by Zymurgy magazine in 2010.

Appearance: Deep red with a thin almost pink head

Aroma: Fresh cherries and lots of them, with a bit of a syrupy sweet aroma

Taste: Tastes like it’s name… lots of cherry flavor and some nice sweetness without being over the top. Slightly tart finish.

Mouthfeel: Light from the high carbonation but still has a little bit of a creamy texture to it.

Overall: This is a very good beer but sweeter than most fruit beers. The tartness in the finish compensates some for the sweetness but not completely. It pairs well with dessert, which is how my family and I drank it. We enjoyed this with some chocolate cake and it was very tasty.

I actually wish I could give it 3.5 stars but went with four. It’s a beer that everyone should try but not quite one that I could drink regularly just because of the sweetness. I could totally see this as an intro beer for women who are new to craft beer though. Definitely worth adding to your list!

Details (from website):

Style: Wisconsin Cherry Ale

Flavor: Highly carbonated and intense with cherry flavor and bouquet

Alcohol: 4.0% by volume

Availability: 750 mL Bottles in Wisconsin markets only


Foods: Pasties, Mussels, Ham, Turkey, Vanilla Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce, Cheesecake, Ice Cream Float, Chocolate Cake, Beef, Lamb, Cream or Butter Sauces, Spicy Foods, Fruit Salad, Sorbet, Rhubarb, Chicken, Burgers, Angel Food Cake, Chocolate, Beef and Cheese Enchiladas, Steak, White Rice and Beans, Chicken fajitas, Bread Pudding, Cupcakes, Biscotti, Pasta, Figs

Cheeses: Petit Freres or Mascarpone (Crave Bros. Farmstead Cheese) , Dante with Sheep's Milk (Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Coop), Baby Swiss, Smoked Gouda

What others thought: Beer Advocate Rate Beer

My star ratings:

5 Stars: Amazing! A bucket list beer.

4 Stars: Excellent beer, great flavors and characteristics to be enjoyed over and over.

3 Stars: Average. Good enough to drink but not worth making a fuss over.

2 Stars: Eh, I'd only drink it again if forced to choose between this and a 'light beer'.

1 Star: Drain-pour.


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