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Sunday, September 24, 2023
New Beer Thursday--Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale

New Beer

New Beer Thursday--Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale

There's an old Groucho Marx joke about expectations. ""I've had a perfectly wonderful evening,"" Marx said, raising his brow. ""But this wasn't it."" At first glance, we had every hope in the world for New Glarus' Moon Man No Coast Pale Ale. The name is just weird enough to create curiosity. It even pulls at our heartstrings by making a beer that we as Midwesterners can identify with, sandwiched between New Glarus' stronger seasonal offerings. Unfortunately for New Glarus, Moon Man never finds its own complex identity.

The first pour is foreboding. Moon Man is not the wonderful amber color one would expect from an American Pale Ale. APA's are bold, floral accomplishments, ripe with pungent tastes that stand apart from other beers. Moon Man has all the initial flavors indicative of standard APA tradition, it just feels as if they're all watered down. It's really hard to get past the translucent, Pabst-like gold coloration of the beer, and it's even harder to get past how Moon Man never asserts its flavor. There is a disappointment in the color, and this disappointment permeates the whole Moon Man experience.

The first sip is, well, it's pretty meh. It seems New Glarus is sacrificing APA identity for a more drinkable beer. Sure, it's smooth, but frankly, if you want to drink restrained (unremarkable, meak) pale ale, you probably should be drinking something else. The strong initial flavors drop off exponentially as the beer warms, showing Moon Man's true colors. It's hoppy to a fault, the flavors never really coalescing to make the hops part of the overall experience. Each flavor seems unconcerned with interacting with the others. They come in at different points, and the hoppiness leaves a harsh aftertaste.

Does this diminish New Glarus' reputation? Absolutely not. They are still the quintessential, exclusive Wisconsin beer. Moon Man is their swing for the fences, meant to cut through the underwhelming springtime beer tradition. But it's a swing and a miss.

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Best enjoyed when: You want to impress your out-of-state in-laws with a beer you don't want to save for yourself.

Best served: A pint glass shipped directly from Antarctica.

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