The most-rated beer for the Cream Ale category on both BeerAdvocate and RateBeer comes from Wisconsin, specifically the town of New Glarus: Spotted Cow, from (fittingly enough) New Glarus Brewing. As it happens, it may also be Wisconsin’s best-known beer—it’s certainly the flagship beer for the brewery.
At 4.8% alcohol by volume it’s a true session ale. Here’s their description:
Cask conditioned ale has been the popular choice among brews since long before prohibition. We continue this pioneer spirit with our Wisconsin farmhouse ale. Brewed with flaked barley and the finest Wisconsin malts. We even give a nod to our farmers with a little hint of corn.
Naturally cloudy we allow the yeast to remain in the bottle to enhance fullness of flavors, which cannot be duplicated otherwise.
Normally only available in Wisconsin, I was able to acquire some just to be able to review it for Cream Ale Week.
Appearance: Golden yellow with a bit of haze; two fingers of fine white head.
Smell: Crisp wheat and a touch of sweet corn. Bread yeast, slightly grassy.
Taste: French bread crust, wheat and a bit of sweet green grass. Fairly clean and crisp, tiny notes of hops and a little mineral-y.
Mouthfeel: Light and crisp with a pleasing mineral-sweetish afterbite.
Overall: I think this is pretty prototypical of the Cream Ale style, light and sweet and grassy but very clean. It would be a good go-to session beer and I can see how it’s a big seller.