The brainchild of New Glarus’ head brewer and co-owner Dan Carey, Enigma was originally brewed in 2003, but was first bottled and released in 2006 as part of the Thumbprint Series.
According to Carey, The Thumbprint Series, “…are still brewed with the beer enthusiast in mind. Thumbprint beers are brewed in small batches that are intended to be available for one time only. However, popular demand has caused some styles to return. This is my own thumbprint; to let everyone know this is a real New Glarus handcrafted beer! Cheers.”
The Thumbprint Series is a grouping of beers where Carey can brew whatever his heart desires. It is a series that changes based on what he wants to brew at the time.
Presently the series consists of the following beers:
- Scream IIPA – an 85 IBU double IPA
- Apple Ale – a brown ale brewed with wheat and fresh picked apples
- Oude Bruin – a coolship beer that is allowed to spontaneously ferment on oak
- Cran-bic – this beer ferments in oak barrels outdoors for five months, then indigenous yeast and local wild cranberries are added
Cran-bic was originally released in 2009 as part of the Unplugged Series, but was put into the Thumbprint Series in 2014 and has now been brewed again and released earlier this year.
It pours a really beautiful deep ruby red color. There is a decent amount, maybe two fingers or so, of light pink head. It eventually disappears and leaves a milky looking froth of sorts atop the beer.
This thing is straight cranberry funk and oak on the nose. I’m also getting hints of tart cherry and light lemon peel and sour notes. It’s a really amazing smelling beer and also has a sort of familiar lambic/Belgian yeast aroma as well.
The first sip really caught me off guard, it’s much sweeter than the nose let on, but it’s balanced extremely well. The cranberry comes through like crazy; it’s like biting into fresh cranberries with every sip. You taste the tartness of both the cranberry and the sour base of the beer and they work wonderfully together. The taste of the oak helps to really tie everything together as the earthiness and oak flavor help to accent the sweet and sour flavors from the beer.