A laughing fox now joins a spotted cow, a fat squirrel and a cat named Moon Man. Leave it to Dan and Deb Carey, the owners and creative forces behind New Glarus Brewing, to draw inspiration from their natural environment in naming their latest beer. The brewery's new Laughing Fox is a kristallweizen that's the color of a red fox.
What is it? Laughing Fox from New Glarus Brewing Company of New Glarus, Wisconsin.
Style: Laughing Fox is a kristallweizen, or filtered wheat beer. The style is made with at least 50% wheat malt in the total grain bill, so the beer would be cloudy if not for the filtering, which is what gives it the designation "kristall." These brews ranges in color from pale to deep golden. Its flavor is very much like a cloudy German hefeweizen, with fruity notes of banana, cloves and nutmeg. It's also a style that is crisp, but not hoppy. The kristallweizen ranges from 4.9% to 5.5% ABV.
Background: Laughing Fox is a new beer for New Glarus, released just in time for Labor Day weekend. Brewmaster Dan Carey makes it with 50% Wisconsin red wheat. The beer's recipe also includes caramel and German Munich malts. It is hopped with a blend of German and Czech hops.
The brew gets its name from a family of red foxes that share the New Glarus hilltop with the brewery. "[The foxes] run around the brewery property, across the lawn, into the trees, and they always look so happy, like they are laughing," says Carey, "so why shouldn't we call this beer Laughing Fox?"
Laughing Fox finishes at around 4.5% ABV, and is sold in six-packs for $7-$9.
- Aroma: A light, sweet spiciness from the yeast.
- Appearance: Clear copper with a thick, soft, light tan head.
- Texture: Medium bodied, round mouthfeel and very bubbly.
- Taste: A yeasty sweet start with light fruity hints of banana in the background.
- Finish/Aftertaste: A light dryness alongside the flavor of banana and the spice of nutmeg.
Glassware: The weizen glass is great to show off the bright amber color, and its slight inward taper near the lip will coax the fruity esters toward the nose.
Pairs well with: Laughing Fox has some wonderful fruity flavors of banana with a hint of spiciness that go well with grilled meats. I found it very complementary to a bacon cheeseburger made with young Swiss cheese. Too much sweet barbecue sauce will overwhelm the yeasty fruitiness of the beer.
Rating: Three Bottle Openers (out of four).
The Verdict: Wheat beer fans will enjoy Laughing Fox for its yeast flavor with hints of banana and the spiciness of cloves and cinnamon. It's a brew that tastes like a hefeweizen, yet is a little lighter in flavor. A reddish amber color adds a twist to what you might expect from a Kristal Weizen. Its bubbly effervescence, crispness, fruity banana tones, and a light dry finish really made me wish that New Glarus had released Laughing Fox earlier in the summer. Nevertheless, I found it a very nice companion for the backyard grilling, a tribute to the waning warm evenings of September.