Quite frankly I'm surprised it has taken until 2016 for this to happen. Wisconsin beer drinkers are confronted with no less than three different brews with the name "Bubbler".
A bubbler, for non-Cheeseheads, is a drinking fountain and the term is southeastern Wisconsin one, from my experience. The original trademarked Bubbler from the Kohler Company (in Kohler, Wisconsin) shot the water directly upwards about an inch. But health concerns prompted designers back to the drawing board where they overhauled the Bubbler so that the water came out in an arc instead of straight upwards - the design we see today.
Why such a beloved bit of regional language took decades to become a microbrewing moniker in these parts is beyond me. Well, I wouldn't be surprised if the name was used previously but so long ago – like the mid-90s – that it has long since been long in the mists of time.
Plymouth Brewing Company
, a brewpub in Plymouth (not far from Kohler), seems to have capitalized on the idea first in this modern age of craft brewing with their blonde ale emerging a few years ago. N.B. - Plymouth does not package their beer.
This past winter Madison's Next Door Brewing
piloted a blonde ale which would capture the hearts and livers of Next Door denizens and eventually be christened Bubbler. Not only did it become a regular offering on tap at the brewpub but it also became available in bottles late this spring.
Lastly there is the bier from New Glarus Brewing
in (gasp!) New Glarus. Debuting last month, the Bubbler from Green County is a hefeweizen, a German wheat bier. I was really happy to hear about it because I missed Laughing Fox
, a wonderful light Kristallweizen that came and went. Brewmaster Dan Carey and his crew make fantasic weissbiers and Dancing Man Wheat
is still around but it is just too big of a bier for July. And so I was happy to hear of a hefeweizen on the lighter side for hot weather quaffing.
Bubbler pours a lovely light yellow that takes on a gold tint from the right angle. It was quite turbid – no Kristall here – with proteins from the large amount of wheat making the bier cloudy. As expected for the style, my mug found itself with a big, pillowy, white head that lasted a fair stretch. And Bubbler is quite effervescent with lots of bubbles inside. A beautiful, refulgent bier.
I was quite pleased with the aroma. The hefeweizen is known for the scents and tastes provided by its particular strain of yeast. My own preference is for banana to be primary followed by clove and whatever else you may get such as bubble gum. Here I caught a rather nice banana scent followed by a touch of clove. And with 50%+ wheat, you couldn't help but smell the grain.
For the taste it was banana again at the forefront followed by some clove and some bubble gum too. But there was also a hint of vanilla. A distinct breadiness rounded out the flavors while a generous portion of carbonation made for a fizzy experience on the tongue.
The hefeweizen is not a hoppy bier, generally speaking, but some nice grassy and spicy hop flavors came out on the finish after the wheat and yeasty ones faded. The hops made for a little dryness in concert with all those bubbles but there was also a mild citrus-like tartness here too. My glass looked really nice after the first pour and it looked nice again empty with thick webs of Schaumhaftvermoegen
lining the inside.
Fantastisch! Bubbler is light and fizzy making it perfect for the dog days of summer. I appreciated the banana flavor from the yeast being up front while the clove and bubble gum trailed behind. And the vanilla was unexpected but quite willkommen. It added a little extra smoothness to the bier. Underneath the carbonation Bubbler is a very smooth bier and I liked the interplay between that feel and the bite that the bubbles provide. It's like the duality of man - that Jungian thing.
Bubbler is a great little brew that keeps a variety of flavors in balance while never taking anything to an extreme. Another brew for your summer thirst quenching toolkit.
Junk food pairing: Bust out a bag of Jays Krunchers! Sriracha potato chips. They add a little zing but are not five alarm hot and they complement Bubbler perfectly.
Labels: Beer, Hefeweizen, New Glarus Brewing, Weissbier