Spotted Cow | New Glarus Brewing Company

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Spotted CowSpotted Cow

Brewed by:
New Glarus Brewing Company
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Cream Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 4.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 02-02-2002

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Reviews: 802 | Ratings: 3,473
Photo of rkinsella
3.14/5  rDev -14%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Light hazy straw color. Poured into a "beer clean" glass with a proper pour...very little head, and gone in just a couple minutes.
Almost no lacing.

Smell had a little grain, a little malt sweetness, bit of fruit, but very little of anything else.

Taste was slightly better than average. Way on the light side. Subtle sweetness, minimal hops. The part I liked the least was the seltzer water like finish.

Mouthfeel was decent, medium carbonation.

Very drinkable, and on the right day, it could be very refreshing. I've just had much better beers from New Galrus. I'm a little surprised this is their flagship. I really wanted to like it. But just average to me.

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Photo of DarbyOGill
3.45/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a cloudy yellow with a okay head. There is also some decent head.

Smell: the nose is really fruity. It almost resembles the nose of a Trappist, but not as good.

Taste: I first get a nice strong malty taste, then a hint of hops, and finishes with a malty aftertaste. Not overly impressive, but definitely good.

Drinkability: These are pretty light and I could easily drink a whole six-pack. Good beer for parties or tailgating because everyone likes it and it's easy to drink.

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Photo of Voonder
3.63/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks a lot TATURBO for this one!
Pours cloudy light yeloow with good white head. Smell - grainy, malty, not very strong. Taste - slight banana flavor, maltiness. It is not bad, but i find it a bit boring. Mouthfeel is much better though, it is rally smooth and creamy, very well balanced. Drinkability is good.

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Photo of Opethsprite
3.26/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I was recently at a bar here in Wisconsin and asked what "this Spotted Cow business" was all about... "You've never had the Spotted Cow?!" the bartender asked, incredulous. "I'm not from around here..." He quickly poured a sample for me, saying very few people don't like this beer.

Pours a vivid but cloudy pale golden orange with a fluffy white head. Yeast, orange, and hops are present on the nose, as well as a hint of something floral. Creamy indeed! The citrus is mellowed significantly by the sweetness of the grains (barley flakes and a hint of corn, according to the bottle). Though I enjoyed the initial burst of sweetness from the cream, the sweetness from the grain is a bit much for my palate. Playful carbonation.

Edit: After having a couple more, I've decided that I'm not as keen on this as I initially judged. It's that grainy over-sweetness. Narsty. I have thus dropped the smell and taste by half a point from my original review.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
3.17/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Had this one before in a bottle and wasn't too impressed. At Applebees for a birthday party this looked like the best thing available. Pours a golden body with a small white head with okay retention and no lacing. Smells sweet with lots of cereal grain along with fruitiness. Taste is about the same as the smell, the hops add a small amount of bitterness but grain and fruitiness are still the dominant flavors. Strong carbonation that doesn't show in the appearance, almost too bubbly for me, got distracted from the taste. Pretty drinkable though, however not being a huge fan of the flavor I wouldn't drink a ton.

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Photo of popery
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to deliriumfest for tihs beer.

There just isn't enough going on with this beer for me. Everything about it is so light and airy. It's not bad looking, but it's very light, mildly hazy. The head dissipated rather quickly. The aroma is a tad lemony and a lot of light malt. The flavor is even tamer. I don't hate it, and it's possible that this beer is quite good very fresh. It's certainly not a bad beer. I would have preferred it served a bit colder, and it's certainly not difficult to drink. There are no real off flavors. I don't know if corn is as an adjunct grain in this beer, but it has a similar bland favor to corn.

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Photo of jjanega08
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A= pours a hazy yellow color with a two finger head that falls fast leaving just a thin layer on top with some but very spotty lacing
S= A lot like an Adjunct lager. A small amount of extra sweetness
T= Adjunct lager taste with a sweetness to follow it. Tastes an awful lot like Minnesota's grain belt premium only with an extra creamy sort of twist. Not bad... Very good actually. Still prefer GBP though.
M= Smooth and a little creamy
D= Very high. Not a bad beer at all. Tastes a lot like an adjunct lager only a little sweeter and some strange creamyness. Recommended at least once or when drinking quantity.

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Photo of djeucalyptus
3.75/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours a fizzly light lemon yellow hue with a good bit of suspended cloudiness. A half-finger fizzy off-white head hangs around for a minute before fizzling away, leaving behind just a bit of lacing. Looks exactly like a few other cream ales I've encountered, for better or worse.

aroma is fairly subdued and a bit muddled. bready malt, caramel sugars, a hint of corn, a hint of generic cereal grain, and a bit of honey. a hint of citrus fruit creeps in. I don't necessarily find the corn offensive... almost reminds me of honey cornbread.

aroma of sweet malt with a bit of cereal. oat and hints of corn. some bright citrus - lemony... and a bit of fruit - pear and tart cherries. a touch of hops, a touch of creaminess. honey and sugary... a bit sweet. but at the moment, it hits the spot.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy - exactly as a cream ale should be. the sweetness comes across a touch via a light syrupiness, but the ample carbonation helps cut through it. A touch thin on the whole, but again, the carbonation helps.

Maybe I was just really in the mood for a cream ale... maybe it hit the spot just right. but on the whole, I found this one really drinkable and enjoyable. Not the most complex beer in the world, and a few funky flavors, but all in all, I was pleasantly surprised. If someone wants to send me another bottle, I can see if I find another bottle as enjoyable.

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Photo of ballewblake
2.83/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured from bottle into my Duvel tulip.

Almost no head after a few seconds. Even the ring around the glass is weak. Hazy golden body, nose is mild to boring, not much of anything coming through. First taste was mint. Weird. Heavily carbonated, full body, not a whole lot of flavors coming out, not much to really pin down here. Maybe some wheat malts?

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Photo of julian
4.45/5  rDev +21.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Dark straw/orange color. Pretty murky, opacity is about 65-70%. Possibly unfiltered. Small decent 1/2 finger white head appears but doesn't stick around very long. Lacing is non-existent.

Smell: Awesome aromas of sugar, malt, and a sweet fruity aroma that I can't quite pinpoint. Corn adjuncts also present.

Taste/Mouthfeel: This is a fantastic beer. I absolutely love it. The taste is a beautiful blend of mellow fruity flavors, corn adjuncts, crystal malt, and a light hop presence. Carbonation is average to below average which is perfect for the style, and lends well to the drinkability. This is a very easy drinking, refreshing beer. Tastes great!

Drinkability: Very high. This is a delicious, highly re-drinkable brew for almost any occasion.

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Photo of Thanby
4.13/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Beautiful pour, golden honey color with cloudy yeast, two fingers of foamy white head, retention and a little lacing. Smells of wonderful sweet wheat, honey, orange, and a little of the trademark banana in every wheat ale. Obviously North American yeast, hardly any Belgian nose that you typically find in wheat ales, but then again New Glarus has always been good at breaking traditions. First taste is smooth wheat and mild yeast, not quite as sweet as it smells but certainly not dry either. The citrus and honey come out after a moment, and linger just a little bit after the finish. Somewhere between light and medium body, wonderfully smooth, full and balanced flavor, and just all-round delicious. This has to be my favorite wheat ale so far.

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Photo of jera1350
3.13/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale straw yellow, slight cloudiness with two finger white frothy head. Good lacing.

Smell is yeasty and bread like.

Tastes lightly like fresh yeast, light and clean. Some wheat taste. Like a light hefeweitzen. Not a much flavor going on here. Slightly, dare I say, watery.

Medium carbonation, thin feeling.

Light easy to drink beer. With the lack of flavor here, not something that I would want to drink very often.

This is not my style of beer so maybe their are some better options out there, but I can live without this one ever again.

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Photo of CMW
4.03/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a cloudy yellow with a fluffy white head. Not much in the way of retention but there is some decent lacing. This looks very similar to a wheat beer.

S - Strong yeast, freshly baked bread, and just a touch of sweet spice.

T - The yeast dominates the taste. It provides a very bready note which is quite pleasing. There is a small amount of sweetness that mixes well.

M - Very creamy with light carbonation.

D - In the summer time I would have no problem drinking a few of these. This is a very seasonable beer.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.94/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to ThomasHardy for this one. 12 oz bottle poured into a shaker pint glass.

Looks OK. Hazy gold pour, white head is mostly big bubbles, no tight head retention, not much lacing.

Smells of hay, corn, a bit of citrus and general sweet maltiness.

This one would go down nice on a hot summer day. Kind of a grainy wheat character up front, backed up by some corn/malt sweetness, a touch of bitterness, and a general creamy flavor I can't quite put my finger on.

Mouthfeel is on the thin side, but OK. Carbonation is much lower than expected, but the finish is clean and drinkability is good.

Overall impression: Good session beer, not something I would seek out regularly. A cream ale can be a great beer (see Cape Kiwanda from Pelican). This one doesn't rise to that level, but it's not bad at all.

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Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer so many times, I'm surprised I've never reviewed it. I grew up in WI, and whenever I get back home, this is the beer that is consummed ALL the time.

Pours a hazy gold with about a 2-finger head on it. This goes away very quicky as it sounds like I just poured a cola, all fizzy and popping. Just leaves a ring around the edge, but absolutely NO lacing whatsoever. Weak. Smells like sweet corn and slight citrus. Nothing much there.

This isn't the most complex of brews, for sure, but man is this good! Maybe it's the sentimental value to me, but I love this beer. Just a perfect smooth, yet crisp, mouthfeel. Sweet and malty flavor, with just the faintest of bites at the end. Slight bready aftertaste. Drinkable? I submit that it is. I seriously could drink this daily for the rest of my life and be happy. This is the quinticential 'summer-hanging out-lawnmower-bbq-chillin' beer out there. Recommend.

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Photo of madtowndmb1
3.5/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the beer that got me into craft brews. It's an east drinking beer, great for the newer beer drinkers. I don't see the appeal anymore, but for old-time sakes I'll have one. It pours a straw yellow, smells fruityish, with a little off smell in there. Very light flavor, little wheaty tasting. Not alot here. But it's still a good drinker for newbie's.

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Photo of Soneast
3.1/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a semi-cloudy golden orange color with a 1/2 inch white head that has fair retention and moderate lace.

Aroma consists of a sort of graininess compounded by some fruitiness with a hint of citrus.

Flavor is fairly sweet, with the graininess making a presence again as well as some mild citrus notes.

This light bodied beer has a creaminess that is hidden in the appearance and aroma, however it does feel pretty good in my mouth. If it weren't for the sweetness I would find this beer to be much more sessionable. All in all not a bad offering from New Glarus and in Wisconsin this is available at literally every bar/grocery store/gas station/liquor store around, this is certainly a better option than it's BMC counterparts.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.83/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Spotted Cow, bottle courtesy of a friend. Split, with my portion poured into a brandy snifter.

Appearance: An incredibly hazy, pale amber body with a good one-finger of foamy, white, soft-looking head, cloud-like almost, that has good to above-average retention and leaves sticky wisps of lacing after it fades.

Aroma: Relatively sweet, but crisp and very fruity. There are also flourishes of light spice, nondescript, but almost cinnamony in places.

Taste: Sweet, mildly roasty, but always soft malts, with a definite sweet corny note (though it's not unwanted) and a handful of pleasant, well-balanced spices. Other stray light fruity notes (both tart and sweet) and a handful of earthy yeast notes become prominent as it warms. There's also, somehow, a creamy note here, though I don't know if that's just the name getting to me.

Mouthfeel: Soft and pillowy, relatively thin, but with a hefty amount of effervescence. Still somehow manages to be relatively even and - dare I say it - creamy.

Drinkability: Low in alcohol and reasonably tasty/aromatic. This one's an interesting beast, and is sort of hard to fit into any sort of style (making it hard to therefore, you know, rate to style). I enjoyed, it however, and wouldn't mind living in an area where this was the idea of a session beer.

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Photo of Bootscraper
4.24/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My home state's very own New Glarus has really been making a name for themselves over the last few years. Their most common brew, Spotted Cow, is a favorite of mine and typically what I bring to parties or purchase when hosting my own, because I happen to think it is an exceptional beer that just about anyone can enjoy. Therefore, I thought it was about time I gave the New Glarus namesake a proper review.
Served at about 50 degrees F in pint glass listening to Melvins' "Houdini".
Sat in my glass as borderline yellow to pale gold, and a little cloudy (letting it sit for bit resulted in some stringy yeast hanging from the top... one indication that this is an unfiltered beer). Right after the pour, there was pretty much no head at all. This was pretty disappointing. Whatever lacing managed to stick around clung to my glass pretty damn well, but it desperately needed some creamy foam to supply it.
The smell modestly pierced the air as soon as I cracked the bottle open. The grainy aroma was mellow and crisp like a lager, and also slightly sweet like lemon.
The taste is a very sweet wheat flavor. Towards the finish, the wheaty end becomes more prominent , and the hops also start to come out just a tiny bit, which sticks around for a very slight aftertaste. The sweet end is mild and rich, presumably the corn that went into this bottle (?). All of said transitions and complexity are quite acute though... all in all, it's a very mellow, and very well balanced, beer.
In the mouth, this beer glides by very very smooth, but also a little fizzy & tingly. I love the carbonation levels, and am quite surprised this beer couldn't kick up more of a head. It was pretty light-bodied, yet was fairly creamy... end even became pleasantly syrupy at the finish (despite how dry it might seem at first on the lips). Combine that with the fact that I just finished my 2nd one and am still not buzzed, and it makes for one hell of a drinkability.
I highly recommend this beer to anyone who likes a mild cream ale, or if you are just looking for an all-around general drinking beer.

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Photo of gdfan47
4.2/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

ok wow here it goes... im finally drinking an NG thanks to..Onenote81 for the beer trade
And NG's flagship beer!

A- pours a nice cloudy yellowy orange with a little off white head and very nice lacing
S-Corn, malt, a little hops
T- yacht rock smooth, malty but not overly malty a touch of hops and a little corn in the finish
M- really very refreshing, not overly complex just smooth and cold, great carbonation
D- I really dig it, a great session beer im liking it now when its cold out but I would love to drink this all day when camping or hanging out... also a great great gateway beer for people wanting to get into craft beer

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Photo of dancinwillie
3.15/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

As part of my New Year's Resolution to review all NG's beers, might as well start with their flagship. I've had this beer many times, but not lately, and I hope to review it with an open mind.

Pours blonde and fizzy, with an almost nonexistent white head. Nothing special here.

Aroma is a bit more promising. Some yeast fruitiness, and a lot of (what I assume to be) that corn sweetness.

Taste, is pretty good really. Sweet, to be sure, but the yeast is really there as well. Some discreet lemon, and a very restrained funk, but not bad at all. A quaffable beer, to be sure.

Mouthfeel is thin, but for what this beer is, it works. Semi-dry finish, with a little of the aftertaste.

Overall drinkability, would be low for me in my everyday, drink whatever I want home life, but as far as going out to bars in Wisconsin, this beer is EVERYWHERE. If I'm ever at a bar, and they have nothing I want, they ALWAYS have this. And this is always better than most Macro Lagers, and least to me. A good beer for what it is. Wouldn't it be awesome if Dan released an Unplugged Imperial Spotted Cow?!!?? Anyway, Cheers.

Edit: I forgot one thing I really wanted to say. Drinking this beer from time to time is a good thing to do, because it pays the bills, making it easier for New Glarus to brew the award winning beers we all love so very much. Such a small price to pay...

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Photo of spointon
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured this one from a 12oz brown bottle into a tulip pint glass.

A= This ale poured a hazy yellow gold with a 1/2" white head. The head sank to a 1/8" cap and left spotty lace down my glass.

S= Not a very pronounced aroma profile, but what I got was malty sweetness, raw bakery dough, and maybe some faint lemon.

T= Started sweet and pretty much stayed that way. Not much depth or character here, just a basic sweet malty brew with very little hop presence and no alcohol bite.

MF= Medium bodied (which was heavier than it looked and/or than I expected). Soft carbonation and lower alcohol gave this a smooth easy drinkability.

D= The smoothness and lower alcohol make this beer drinkable and ideal to session. I personally was not too enamoured of the flavor though, so I will not likely have this one again.

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Photo of prototypic
3.47/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: This one pours a very light golden color. It's slightly hazy. The head is white, foamy, and about a finger and a half deep after a forceful pour. It dissipated quickly and left a very light, spotty lacing on the glass.

Smell: The nose is underwhelming in terms of strength. There's just not a whole lot going on there. It is very earthy and grainy up front. It has an interesting vegetal scent that might be corn. There's a very light lemon scent that bumps it up a little above average. No hops are noted. Not surprisingly, alcohol is not noted either. Pretty ho-hum all around.

Taste: It's a little sweet on the first sip. It doesn't take long for a very strong grassy/grainy flavor to emerge. It's not a bad flavor, but isn't particularly good either. There is a relatively strong corn flavor present. Are we sure this isn't a lager? A very light citrus lemon is present. It's a very welcome flavor and tastes nice in this sea of averageness. That's perhaps its saving grace. Actually there's a toasted malt flavor that pops up afterward that saves it. No hop flavor is apparent. Alcohol is nowhere in the neighborhood. Finishes sweet.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It's light bodied and has a decently smooth feel. Carbonation is active, yet it retains a smooth feel. Drinkability is okay, but not exactly good. The flavor just isn't quite good enough to draw you back for more.

New Glarus really didn't impress me with this one. It's extremely reminiscent of a lager. I haven't had many cream ales, but I don't recall my prior experiences being similar to this. It's above averaage, but not by much. Suffice it to say it could use a lot of work in all areas. I wouldn't say it's worth seeking out.

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Photo of younger35
3.36/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up some of this at Woodman's in Kenosha. Gotta love New Glarus! Drank from my Port pint glass.

Appearance- Pours a light semi chill hazed yellow with a nice one finger creamy bright white head. Leaves a decent cap and collar along with a bit of lacing.
Smell- Fairly citrusy and doughy with hints of lemon zest, tangerine and light banana. The corn mentioned on the bottle does add a bit of familiar sweetness to the nose that only maize can lend. Nothing too exciting or mind blowing but a bit better than some other reviews leave you to believe.
Taste- Lightly sweet from the start with a very bready like maltiness that isn't all that exciting. I agree this is 'somewhat' macro like but it has a bit more flavor. The unmistakable sweetness of maize is present as well and not really much hop bitterness. I'm surprised that there isn't a bit more fruitiness in this after how citric the nose came across to me.
Mouthfeel- Fairly full body with a super creamy smoothness and very light zesty carbonation.
Drinkability- When I visited Milwaukee about six months ago I had a Bloody Mary at some random bar to start off my Sunday morning. They made it with a mixture of about half Mary mix, half Spotted Cow. It was one of the best Bloody Mary's I've ever had. I've been curious to what the beer actually tastes like on its own ever since. I probably enjoyed the Bloody Mary a bit more than the beer itself but either way it'd make a terrific session beer.

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Photo of Tucquan
3.04/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this in Baraboo, WI

Poured a golden color with a short head and good lacing.

Not much aroma

Mild apple and orange sweetness from the malt balanced by a mild bitter. Light body with Medium carbonation. Pallet clears quickly of tastes.

I view this as a refreshing, session beer but nothing remarkable.

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Spotted Cow from New Glarus Brewing Company
3.65 out of 5 based on 3,473 ratings.
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