by John Ellis
To be honest, lagers do not excite me. Ok, to be fair, that was an understatement – when offered a lager, I usually ask what soft drinks are available. In fact, I’ve lived so long with my nose turned decidedly up and away from lagers, that I’m not sure if I’m happy or pissed off at New Glarus Brewing Company and their delicious Two Women Lager.
Lagers often get a bad rap, or, better stated, an unfair rap by many who drink craft beer; I’m shamefully no exception, as demonstrated by the opening paragraph. Lagers, while maybe not as full-bodied and full-flavored as a Stout, by way of an unfair comparison/example, can be wonderfully crisp, refreshing, and tasty. Unfortunately, our opinions of lagers have been unfairly shaped by the flat and mostly tasteless, minus some notes that remind you of the water from a stale can of corn, American adjunct lagers that we were peer pressured into drinking while in high school. Of course, and especially if you’re anywhere near or above middle age, the beer options in college were pretty much the same lite beers that the cool kids smuggled into parties during high school. It’s not the fault of the style that most of our experiences with lagers have been with shitty beers. Thankfully, brewers like those at New Glarus continue to brew excellent examples of a worthy style that has been unfairly demeaned.
Before the review proper, a quick summation of Two Women’s back-story –
The craft beer landscape is dominated by men. As a man, I’m not going to editorialize about how upsetting the gender inequity in the craft beer scene is for me. For one, as a man, it would probably ring hollow. And, for another, this is a beer review and I’m not prepared to wax eloquent about anything except the deliciousness of the New Glarus Two Women. That being stated, the brewing of beer has traditionally been the purview of women. New Glarus, continuing that noble tradition, is run by a woman. The Two Women Lager is a collaboration between New Glarus and Weyermann Malt, another craft company run by a woman. Hence, Two Women Lager. But, don’t drink the beer solely to appease your white-male guilt; drink New Glarus Two Women because it’s delicious.
AROMA: New Glarus Two Women Lager has an aroma that is reminiscent of the best of lazy, late-spring afternoons. Freshly buttered bread right out of the oven dominates the nose, but new, spring grass isn’t far underneath. As evidenced by the grassy aromas, the hops are not hidden in this lager. Overall, a very refreshing and comforting aroma. 11/12
APPEARANCE: The Two Women poured darker than I expected – a nice, light copper with flecks of auburn. The head is thick and yeasty with excellent retention that leaves thick lacing. 3/3
FLAVOR: Wow! Those Weyermann malts shine in this clean tasting lager. The flowing grains are there, holding court, in the flavor, as are the fresh grass notes. The bitterness is appropriately subdued, but appetizing. The finish is clean and grounded. 18/20
MOUTHFEEL: Light bodied, crisp, and refreshing. A very smooth beer that goes down easy, causing your palate to long for more. 5/5
OVERALL IMPRESSION: An outstanding lager! My only regret is that I drank New Glarus Two Women during winter and not at the conclusion of a hot summer day. To be fair, “regret” is too strong of a word; I don’t think that it’s possible to regret drinking such a delicious beer, regardless of the temperature outside. That being said, I will definitely be taking New Glarus Two Women Lager to the beach at some point this coming summer. I highly recommend that you do the same. 9/10
Outstanding (45-50), Excellent (38-44), Very Good (30-37), Good (21-29), Fair (14-20), Problematic (0-13)