New Glarus Brewing Company
Active Beers: 39
Beer Ratings: 28,010
Beer Avg: 4.01
Taps: / Bottles:
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: Y
Ratings: 154 | Reviews: 39 | Display Reviews Only:
4.28/5 rDev -8.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4 | $$
Visited August 31st (Hard Hat Tour), 1:00 - 4:00 pm-ish
I've tried a number of New Glarus beers over the last 5-6 years, thanks to traders and friends in the area - but never at the source. I learned about a business trip I'd be taking to Iowa around Labor Day weekend all the way back in June; wheels turning in my head, I decided to extend the trip to Wisconsin and Illinois to see family and friends. Even in mid-June, the August 31st tour was booked solid (the 'Hard Hat' tour is only offered once weekly -Friday afternoons- and limited to 15 people). Oh well, I'd still visit and go on the free self-guided tour... until, that is, a phone call on Wednesday 8/29, just as I was leaving Des Moines, informed me that *one* person had cancelled and that I could have their spot (I'd asked to be put on a waiting list in June, even though I was told 'nobody ever cancels'!). Hell, yeah!
I showed up at the Riverside ('old') brewery a few minutes before 1:00pm and was greeted by brewer Stephen and Alyssa... after a short snafu over my reservation and some impatient waiting for a late-arriving group of six we started the tour. I've been on a couple dozen brewery tours over the years; this was among the largest and most impressive. Even though I feel knowledgeable about beer and the brewing process, it was fascinating to learn about how New Glarus does it and about their growth/expansion (no plans to expand beyond the Wisconsin borders, even though it appears they could quite easily). We thoroughly toured both the Riverside and newer Hilltop facilities, including brewing tanks, packaging lines and R & D labs. The tour concluded with a 30-minute tasting of several beers (bottles) and six heaps of tasty local cheeses. We also learned a little of the Swiss heritage of the neighboring/namesake village and why the building had to designed in the 'chalet' style to keep with the aesthetic and of a scale to not be an eyesore nearby housing developments. For $20+tax, I was very satisfied with the tour; my only disappointment is that Deb & Dan Carey (who usually greet the tour) were away for the Labor Day weekend. I'd have liked to have met them and shaken hands.
Afterward, I had just a few minutes to stroll the grounds and shop at the bottle shop. Didn't have room for much, so I bought a 4-pack of the seasonal Thumbprint Saison and a 750ml of Raspberry Tart. Prices are about the same here as they'd retail for elsewhere. Of note, there's some ongoing expansion of the gift shop/bottle store and also of the 'Sensory labs', so expect some construction fencing and minimal disruption in the next year or so.
All in all, a very good experience - one I'd recommend.
For the record, what we tasted:
* Beer: Totally Naked, HomeTown Blonde, Laughing Fox, Thumbprint Saison, Staghorn Oktoberfest and Raspberry Tart.
* Cheese: Aged Cheddar (Voegeli Farms), Petite Frere (Crave Brothers), Limburger (Chalet Cheese Co-Op), Raspberry Bellavitano (Sartori Foods), Baby Swiss (Alp & Dell) and Dunbarton Bleu (Roelli Cheese)
09-12-2012 15:51:19 | More by msubulldog25
4.45/5 rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | $$
First time at the brewery for the sour Ale release. This place is just a gorgeous brewery, inside and out. Great atmosphere, very clean inside. Great gift shop with lots of cool brewery related and Wisconsin related items. Went on a self guided tour, but they do have guided tours too. Great outdoor space for drinking the beer. The only criticism is that they only had their regular stuff on tap, not that those beers aren't great just don't expect anything special.
Overall, loved the brewery and the city is very cool too.
08-11-2012 23:28:15 | More by mobius387
4.45/5 rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | $
We have been wanting to visit New Glarus for quite awhile. Couldn't make it on a Friday for the "hard-hat" tours. If you are planning on booking one, do so months in advance, for they sell out quickly!
Amazing location. About an hour from Madison in the middle of some really beautiful rolling farmlands.
Facilities are top-notch. A self-guided tour lets you wander the brewery. You will be amazed at the organization of this brewery. Great engineering.
Decent selection of merchandise. 6-8 beers on top for tasting. Would have liked a few more "rare" beers on tap. Good selection in bottle shop, but would have loved one or two more incredibly rare beers to bring home to Cali.
Bottom line- do NOT skip this brewery. If you are anywhere in the Chicago/Milwaukee/Madison area, make it a priority. If you love beer and find yourself a little further away (Minneapolis, Urbana, etc) plan a visit.
06-05-2012 18:19:53 | More by mrelizabeth
4.5/5 rDev -3.4%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | $$
My wife and I drove up for a visit in late May. Having never been there before, we came across the original brewery first which did not look like it was exactly open to the public. We then found a sign with maps inside that gave directions to the new Hill Top brewery which is where the tour and gift shop is. The hill top brewery is only about a mile down the road and it beautiful. Since it was a Tuesday, we found easy parking.
We took the self guided tour and got to see Dan hard at work. It was pretty simple, but very interesting. We also did their 3 samples for $3.50 and got some New Glarus gear. I had to make a stop downstairs at their beer depot before I went home. I was surprised there was only one brewery exclusive beer, the rest I have easy access to at work. No food on site but plenty of bar and grills to choose from in their downtown district. Nice folks and would love to visit again!
06-05-2012 04:57:01 | More by Lemke10
5/5 rDev +7.3%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 5 | $$
A great town to visit with an amazing brewing Company! You will love the town. You will really love the beer and you will miss the beer once you are not in Wisconsin. I have family in wisconsin to keep me stocked up!
Each beer they make you can tell is made with love and art! They make more lagers then Ales so that may throw some people off. But its Wisconsin so it makes sense.
Dan knows and loves beer and he shows it with each beer that comes out. Even the beers you may not like you enjoy trying them becuase how well made they are!
05-29-2012 15:28:53 | More by FakeDeniro
4.45/5 rDev -4.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | $$
Well if you happen to be anywhere near here and know anything about good beer. You absolutely must stop here and take a tour or just walk around and soak up the scene.
The new hilltop brewery is a sight to behold. It's like the most beautiful beer church you've ever laid your eyes on. The place is a masterpiece of stone and mortar. From the gift shop to the downstairs brew barn. The inside of the actual brewery is like walking into a full on science lab. Spotless with everything in it's place. The copper brew kettles shine so bright you check your appearance in the reflection. The outdoor drinking area is spectacular on warm sunny days. Sipping on a pint of while taking in the rolling hills of central Wisconsin is simply heavenly.
I've been to the brewery more times than I can remember and I still get excited every time I go back.
04-05-2012 02:27:01 | More by beerwolf77
4.8/5 rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $
I had a fantastic time visiting the New Glarus brewery.
The atmosphere was laid back and nice. There were several people talking in the tap room and the staff were very personable to talk about the beer. Many of the people there were friendly and we ended up talking to several of them for quite a while!
The quality and service were top notch. Everything was clean, the beer was out of this world as usual and the self guided tour was nice. Would a guided tour have been better? Sure. But they offer those and we didn't make reservations. For a show yourself around tour, the people were more than personable and very friendly and knowledgeable.
The selection was good but not great. They had 5 or 6 beers on tap which was nice. Wish they had more on tap (I've gone twice and they have only had 1 of the Belgian Red or Raspberry tart on tap) but still a decent amount. And for the price, it was pretty hard to beat considering that you get to keep the NG glass. The depot in the basement was also great and had a great assortment and the ability to buy everything in nearly every amount you could desire.
I really enjoyed visiting New Glarus and will be back the next time I can.
03-06-2012 06:06:25 | More by cradke
4.09/5 rDev -12.2%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$
I've got to admit, New Glarus's brewery is an impressive operation. It's been several years since I've visited the brewery and the new location is absolutely amazing. The building sits upon a hill and has been designed to look as if might be in the Swiss Alps. Rocks, stone, and natural colors make the brewery look like it belongs exactly where it is.
The inside is no less impressive. Wide open with lots of glass and more glimmering stainless steel pipes than it's possible to count. It is impeccably clean. The new self guided brewery tour doesn't have a whole lot of information on it, but if you know the brewing process, it really doesn't matter much. Gawking at the facility is all that matters.
There are two shops on the site. One, near the parking lot, sells beer to go, while the other is a gift shop that sells beer for consumption on the premises. For $3.50 you get three tastes and get to keep the tasting glass. For $6 you get a full beer and still get to keep the glass. Either way is a deal. The beer shop down below sells all of the regular offerings plus the latest Thumbprint and the R&D (currently the golden ale). The gift shop sells absolutely everything you could possibly imagine, tastefully branded with the NG logo of course, at less than reasonable prices. (My 4 year old daughter was able to walk out with a plush "spotted cow." "Fat Squirrels" also available!)
And while I'll admit I'm not NG biggest fan, I was still impressed by the brewery, the operation, and the genuine friendliness of the people working there.
01-06-2012 02:30:26 | More by Florida9
4.6/5 rDev -1.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 5 | service: 4 | selection: 5 | $
Probably the prettiest looking brewery I ever laid eyes on. I liked the curvy gravel road detour you had to take off of route 69 to get there, which felt like you were somewhere off-the-path. When I first saw this place, it looked so new & nice that it could of been mistaken for a high end resort/ski lodge. You could either go upstairs, or to the right of the stairs was the beer shop. Weren't too many people there, just a few old touristy looking people.
The upstairs portion is the gift shop/tasting room. Service was nice and professional, despite hearing from others that the girls that work in this part were clueless when it came to their products. The girl there (short, big breasted redhead) was very knowledgeable and knew the answers to all my questions. She said that the reason why they don't sell in Illinois was that its very hard to obtain a license to sell beer in Illinois and that the high taxes didn't help either.
In the same room were some taps, where you could sample 3 3oz. beers for $3.50 and you keep your glass or you could get a pint for $6, $3 for refills and get to keep the glass. I didn't like that you only had 6 to choose from and I wasn't too happy about Dancing Man and Crack'd Wheat not on the tap list, when you bring up my visit in the summer and both styles were tailor made for the hot weather. There was a zig zag hallway, with a few windows that showed small rooms of where the magic happens followed by a trophy area where various medals/accomplishments were shown.
The beer shop at the bottom was basic. There was a lot of beer there, about 40-50 cases of each brew. They didn't have Crack'd Wheat when I was there. Pricewise, it was a little high, but when you come from a different state that has a higher cost of living, you probably wouldn't complain about the price. Anyway, here's the breakdown:
$8 6 pack
$9.75 Unplugged 4 pack
$16 2-6 packs
$30.50 a case (non-unplugged)
$8.75 750 ml fruit beer
$1.35 single bottle (had a mix n' match option)
They also had limited beers that were only sold there which were Two Women Pilsner (350 ml for $5.00) and Golden Ale (350 ml for $8.00)
Overall, I wouldn't go back, but its one of those places where you have to go just once, especially if you're a fan of their brews. Roy's market and the 2 gas stations off of route 69 sell their beer cheaper.
12-23-2011 07:07:41 | More by JohnnyTightLips
4.8/5 rDev +3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | $
There is not much about New Glarus's operation that is not impressive. You will be hard pressed to find a brewery more devoted to a pure product than them.
The atmosphere was relaxed and fun. There brewery looks like a farm house connected to a small victorian mansion on the outside, with a cool beer garden in the back with a fountain and pic nic tables. There was also cornhole available to play.
Service was excellent. Three tap locations around with a tap room, one outside, and one in the gift shop. Your free to walk around the brewery most days and take a self guided tour, but there is usually a guide around who is happy to tell you all about it if you ask.
Selection was about 9 of their beers on tap, including the raspberry tart and the Wisconsin Belgian Red. Others included Dancing man wheat, moon man, two women, spotted cow, and fat squirrel. Im sure some of these change with the seasons. There is also a beer depot below to purchase most their beers in bottles.
The quality of this place is outstanding. They have an amazing devotion to sanitation of their equipment. The place literally shines when you walk in, and the beer is excellent as well. Its not too hard on the wallet either. 6 bucks for your first pint, but you get a sweet glass with it to keep, refills after are only 3 bucks. Thats certainly a price that could keep me around all day for such great beer.
09-22-2011 04:36:38 | More by gordonbeersch
New Glarus Brewing Company in New Glarus, WI
100 out of 100 based on 154 ratings.