Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Moon Man Lands in Oshkosh

Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale is the new beer from New Glarus. It hit the shelves in Oshkosh late last week so let’s see what it’s all about.

Moon Man is an American Pale Ale, a style of beer that continues to evolve in the direction of increasingly pronounced hop character. This brew is no exception to that trend. The beer presents itself with a bright, citrus-fruit aroma – I’d guess there’s some Simcoe and Amarillo dry-hopping going on – that promises a lot of hop flavor. To a certain degree, it’s false advertising. The slightly grassy hop flavor is apparent, but it comes across as oddly subdued in the wake of the initial, pungent aroma. The beer has a beautifully light feel in the mouth and then ends with a lingering bitterness that seems out of place considering the somewhat restrained hop flavor.

I’ve had five of these and I haven’t given up on the beer, but it hasn’t won me over, either. It’s a well-made ale, it’s just not my thing. And I can’t help wondering whose thing it will be. Most hop lovers are going to find Moon Man too lightly hopped while the hop adverse will likely perceive the beer as too bitter. That said, you can’t deny that Sierra Nevada Brewing has had plenty of success with a very similar approach.

What bothers me, though, is that Moon Man is going to replace Hop Hearty Ale in the New Glarus lineup. Pity that. If you love hops, Moon Man is going to make you miss Hop Hearty Ale all the more.

So why call it Moon Man? According to the bottle, the beer is named in honor of a cat owned by one of the New Glarus brewers. That’s Moon Man’s paw print that dominates the label. As you’ll see below, our cat couldn’t care less about any of this.

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