Beer of the Weekend #800: New Glarus Zwickel Bier

Twenty-sixteen marks the 500th anniversary of the famed — but now repealed — Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, regulating the ingredients in beer.

The law was adopted on April 23, 1516, so I missed the actual date. I also missed the commemorative beer released by Weihenstephan. (I see single bottles here and there, but I am sure the beer is way past its prime.) However, my parents were in Wisconsin a few weeks ago and snagged me a sixer of Zwickel Bier, a Reinheitsgebot commemoration brewed by the New Glarus Brewing Company of New Glarus, Wisconsin.

I made a rudimentary white backdrop with two pillowcases for this weekend’s photo. A white backdrop for my BotW photos is long overdue. The pillows work well, but I want to make something better, more professional. We’ll see what I can do.

The color is clear, golden yellow. A finger of beige head leaves a skim with thick spots and a ring around the edge. It smells crisp and a lot like sparkling apple cider at first. The aroma is dry and tart, and is also vinous. It has an earthy, almost grassy, undertone, too. The flavor is tangy and odd, but familiar and tasty. It tastes unfinished and old fashioned, too. It is yeasty and a touch malty, and zest and earthy spice are also present. The finish is dry and the spice lingers on the taste buds. It is different but tasty and good.

Fun facts about Zwickel Bier:

• Style: The brewery calls it Reinheitsgebot lager.

• Price: I’m unsure, but the beer’s webpage says it is a brewery exclusive, probably only available at the brewery.

• Alcohol content: Not listed.

• Here is the history and description via the New Glarus website:

You hold Brewmaster Dan Carey’s confident response to “What’s your favorite beer?” As a young Apprentice, this is the Reinheitsgebot Lager Dan brewed in Bavaria. Wisconsin glacial water softens a decoction mash of the finest Wisconsin, Czech and English malts. Dan personally selected the German, Czech and French hops for six separate hop additions. Finally, a long lager on his proprietary Munich yeast just as Brewers have done for 500 years. Straight from the tanks, unfiltered, this bier has undergone its third and final fermentation in the bottle in order to ensure you the freshest possible Lager bier. Expect this bier to be assertively hoppy, complex, and slightly cloudy. We revived the name but have brewed a new favorite that can only be found when you visit our little village Brewery here in New Glarus.

The Quiet Man’s grade: B.

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