A popular beverage throughout the winter months in Central Europe is Glühwein, a mulled wine that’s served warm. Also offered, but in smaller amounts and unique spots, is Glübier. Yes, a mulled beer that it too can be served warm with lots of spices.
During our travels in Switzerland we came across a Glühbier from Liefmans with its Glühkriek. At first sip we were hooked! Here in Portland, Cascade Brewing has offered up its version, a Glueh Kriek, on occasion during the holiday season.
Now a major craft brewery here in the U.S. has joined the “Glühbier Revolution”. New Belgium Brewing has released Glühbier, a mulled-style dark sour ale packaged in 750mL cork and cage bottles.
Glühbier is a Dark Sour Ale that’s aggressively spiced with apple, cranberry, orange and lemon peel, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger. The spices in this beer are fantastic and simply put, quite amazing. Served chilled we found to have experienced the fullest flavors of this beer that comes in a hefty 8% ABV.
We also decided to add a portion of the 750mL to a crockpot to warm it up a bit. In doing so, the beer’s carbon dioxide gets released as it warms up. The one thing we did not do was to add any additional spices in the crock pot hoping that the heavily spiced beer was enough. Maybe just adding a plain cinnamon stick to the warmed beverage would have helped. In not doing this, we came up with a beer that tasted a bit more oxidized, almost closer to wort, than we anticipated. This can be chalked up to a rookie mistake while utilizing the crockpot with a beer for the very first time.
Every holiday season, our kitchen was filled with warm citrus and spice aromas. The bouquet would swirl around you like a warm blanket in front of a cozy fire.
I spent hours sticking whole spiky cloves into oranges for my mom while she brewed up a pot of mulled wine for the neighborhood gathering. Even though the kids got the non-alcohol version, it was intoxicating to our senses. We felt giddy and held our heads over the glasses, giggling.
When thinking about the holiday Blender Project, I had to try to create this same organoleptic sensation in a beer. Gluhbier! Gluhwein is German for mulled wine, hence the same for Gluhbier, mulled beer. We brewed an apple-cranberry brown ale, blended in some foeder-aged dark sour and then spiced it with every holiday spice I could get my hands on – heavy on the orange and clove, of course.
Try it warmed and hover your face over for the full experience, and don’t forget to giggle.
D.J. is a Portland, Oregon based writer that spent his formative years in the Midwest. With over 25 years under his belt of drinking beer at festivals across America and the world, he has developed a strong appreciation and understanding of craft beer and the industry that surrounds it. He can be found in any of the great breweries or beer bars that make Portland the best beer city in the world. His writing can also be found in the archives of Northwest Brewing News and can be followed on Twitter and Instagram at @hopapalooza.