Edel Pils was the first beer made by the New Glarus Brewing Co. when it was started 20 years ago by Deb and Dan Carey. The brewery is best known now for its hugely popular Spotted Cow ale and award-winning Belgian Red cherry ale, although it has released literally dozens of outstanding beers through the years.
The demand for its products is so high that it still only sells in Wisconsin, despite several expansions. People drive hundreds of miles from other states to stock up on their favorites, including one entrepreneur from New York City who was subsequently fined for selling it at his bar without going through a distributor (under archaic laws, it doesn't matter if there is no area distributor for a desired product).
New Glarus' Edel Pils differs from many pilsners by being a touch sweeter, and less dry and bitter. Pouring it into a traditional V-shaped pilsner glass, the upward-cascading bubbles seem on a race to hurry the clear gold liquid into your mouth, with a creamy white head resulting in the glass.
The main aromas are grain, and grassy and floral hops, with a slight lemony background. The flavor of the malt manifests itself more as biscuit-like grain, giving the beer a very fresh character. The body is smooth and creamy, instead of crisp and dry, yet still has ample carbonation.
Instead of the typical dry and bitter finish of a pilsner, the 5.3 percent ABV Edel just finishes clean with a lingering hop flavor.
Harder to track down might be New Glarus' 20th Anniversary Strong Ale. I happened upon the last bottle left at a local liquor store only two weeks after the beer was released. It leans toward a Belgian dark with strong notes of raisin, rum, dark chocolate, sherry and cherries, but without any earthy or leathery notes. I'd love to find many more bottles of this to see how it would taste after more months of cellaring.
New Glarus' Beer Finder link is at www.newglarusbrewing.com/index.cfm/beers/beerfinder.