(New Glarus, WI) – If you dream of wheat, ‘Dancing Man’ will get your toes tapping. Since 1995 New Glarus Brewing Company has brewed Bavarian style wheat beers exclusively for the same great state that grows and malts their own Wisconsin wheat. In a world full of posers this is a true hefe-weizen, naturally 100% bottle fermented and hazy.
The Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law (first adopted in 1516), states that the only ingredients used in beer be barley, hops, water and yeast. The ‘hefe-weizen’ (or ‘wheat beer with yeast’) was the only exception, due to an intentional loophole in the law. In fact, the honor of brewing with wheat was initially bestowed on only a single brewery. Wheat was, at that time, an expensive grain better suited to make bread. For this reason, the majority of wheat was used for the family food staple, bread, allowing only the most wealthy and elite to enjoy the extravagance of a beer brewed with wheat.
Today, not many people make true Bavarian style hefe-weizens. Daniel Carey (Diploma Master Brewer, New Glarus Brewing Company) apprenticed at a German brewery, and has always been a fan of authentic wheat beers. He even built a special wheat beer cellar at his new Hilltop brewery in New Glarus. Dancing Man Wheat adheres to all the traditional brewing methods, which have grown out of favor with even the Bavarian brewers as they are an expensive and time consuming departure from the usual American wheat beer in many ways. Dancing Man is brewed in Copper kettles using a decoction mash, which means that the wheat flavors are extracted from the grain by double boiling. The majority of American brewers use ‘infusion mash’, which is similar to steeping in water, like a tea. Despite the ability of more flavors to be extracted by boiling, it is an uncommon practice.
Dancing Man is fermented in specially designed open top fermenters, which are uncommon in the United States. It is bottle conditioned, meaning that the yeast continues to ferment the beer in the bottle, ensuring the freshest possible ‘living beer’ when opened. This isn’t even a common practice in Bavaria anymore. In addition, New Glarus Brewing Company continues to use their proprietary yeast strain (and have since 1995), making for an incredibly fruity and assertive beer. Only a few small traditional Bavarian breweries still practice these methods, and it is unheard of in the United States. However, the combination of these unique steps makes for a fuller flavor, and a more complex beer.
Wheat beer fans are lucky to have this true original to enjoy all summer long. Expect this beer to cascade effervescent into your glass. The rich spicy clove and cinnamon notes will greet your nose while sweet fruit and wheat kisses your lips. Lick the foam from your mouth and admit sometimes you just gotta get up and dance.