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The Six Beers of Xmas #5: New Glarus Uff-da Bock

As if I hadn’t reminded him lately that he has always been the best gift-giver on the face of the planet, The Korean Lover recently lugged an assorted six-pack of brews from the New Glarus Brewing Company all the way back from Wisconsin for my tasting pleasure. From now until Jesusmas, my tasting pleasure will become your tasting pleasure. Before this week, I’ve never had the opportunity to try their beers, but I’ve always heard good things about New Glarus Brewing. Their Wisconsin Belgian Red comes in at an impressive number 42 on BeerAdvocates top 100 beers list.

For those of you with connections to the upper-midwest, the phrase “Uff-da” is not an unfamiliar one. For those of you from the South, allow me to translate: “DAAAAAAAAANG.” The fifth beer in the series is a bock called Uff-da. The vitals …

Color: Dark brown, but very clear. Pours with a sandy head, lots of lacing.

Aroma: Roasted notes of coffee, chocolate, biscuits.

Flavor: The flavor is very large and robust, and mimics the aroma in its notes of roasted coffee and chocolate, but the malt bill leaves a clean finish. There is a minor bittering hop presence, but no hop flavor or aroma.

This has all the makings of an autumn session beer I could get used to, which is good and bad. It’s good because I could drink a few of these without wearing my mouth out. But it’s bad because, at a sneaky 7.3% ABV, drinking a few of these might leave me with more headaches and embarassing next day stories than I would prefer. I’ve read a few reviews that claim Uff-da’s flavor needs to be bigger and bolder for the style, but I’m inclined to disagree. Bocks are lagers and the sweet spot with lagers, for me anyway, is when they show off the brewmaster’s control over the process, not giant, crazy flavors. The fact that this beer is dark brown, but still clear like a jewel, and that the flavor starts out large and complex but quickly wraps itself up and finishes cleanly, tells me that the brewer knew what the hell they were doing. And I never would have suspected this to be 7.3% ABV, so good on the brewer there too. I’m still a little more impressed with the Spotted Cow, but this one moves into the second slot on my arbitrary list.

In subjective order:
1. Spotted Cow
2. Uff-da
3. Staghorn
4. Fat Squirrel
5. Native Ale

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