April 24th, 2009 beckel
This is the first review aside from reviews off the tap that I have written after drinking a beer instead of during. The reason for this is it was ridiculously nice in Minnesota yesterday so I had to enjoy my brew from the comfort of a lawn chair with pen and paper in hand. I know, hard life I live. It’s not quite as nice today but its over 70 so I’ve haven’t a thing to complain about maybe more backyard reviews are in the future. The beer on hand was New Holland Brewing’s Pilgrim’s Dole an interestingly styled Wheat Wine which was produced with 50%Â malted wheat. I bought this beer many weeks ago at The Four Firkins and the weather seemed perfect for a wheat beer but as usual I wanted one that packed a punch and at 10% ABV this was a solid choice. I am a big fan of Barleywines and was very excited to try my first Wheatwine. The beer pours a lovely rich red color that is very translucent and almost certainly filtered. Head was about two fingers and light creme in color. The aroma of this beer was intensely sweet with a strong creamy brown sugar base complimented by a little bit of roasted grains as well as a hint of bitterness and alcohol. The flavor of this beer is incredibly sweet with some strong sherry notes. Wheat flavors are detectable and there is no question that plenty was used in this brew, but it doesn’t produce the same flavors one would typically associate with most Weizens. Though the sweetness is almost too much, this beer has many of the same sweet characteristics I notice in our very own Surly Brewing’s Darkness. Additionally the mouthfeel is similarly smooth and creamy though a bit less thick as the body is more medium. Even with a 10% ABV this beer manages to mask the alcohol pretty well with the sweetness, though the hints of sherry will likely remind you that your drinking alcohol.Â This was one interesting brew that I think would have been better with some more contrasting flavors. It would also be interesting to see how the flavors evolve after cellaring for a few years. Not a beer I would buy again, though I did enjoy trying it. If you are really into sweet malts and red wine or sherry flavors this might just be the beer for you. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 28th, 2008 beckel
While at The Four Firkins the other day this beer continued to fly off the shelf but was luckily restocked so I decided I had to check it out. Dragon’s Milk is an American Strong Ale from New Holland Brewing out of Holland, Michigan and is sure to be a pleasant experience. The name Dragon’s Milk comes from a term of the same name that is traditionally used to describe the strong ales in the 17th century that only royalty would be treated to. This beer pours a pitch black color that could not get much darker, with a inch and change of nice thick brown head that settles slowly and cascades marvelously as you pour. The aroma of this beer is strong and malty, sweet roasted chocolate is most notable with a slight hint of bitterness. The flavor of this beer is quite nice, roasted malt rushes all over your palate with a coffee flavor in the back of the mouth. Bitter flavors can be picked up that taste a bit like bourbon and are likely from the cask aging which occurs for at least 120 days. The 8.5% ABV of this beer is definitely noticeable but is not offensive because it blends nicely with the bitter bourbon flavors present. This is certainly a strong dark malty beer but its mouthfeel is medium and lighter than one might expect considering. If you like a well crafted dark beer with an intense malt profile and a little something extra this is a good choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.
August 3rd, 2008 beckel
I don’t know a whole lot about New Holland Brewing from Holland, Michigan having only tried their mad hatter IPA in the past. I have glanced at their existential ale’s lovely bottle on the shelves numerous times and read many reviews of it so it is finally getting its chance. Part of New Holland’s High Gravity Series and made with 200 pounds of malted barley and 37 ounces of hops per barrel this is sure to be a full flavored brew. Smells strongly of malted barley and hops, sweet roasted malt is most notable topped off with robust slight citrus hop aromas. This beer cascades beautifully as it pours and creates almost an inch of long lasting solid head. Color is of a roasted slightly red deep copper but transparent. This is an interesting imperial IPA, initial flavors are largely of bitterness but the malt slowly creeps up on your palate and creates a more mellow sweet caramel flavor while still emphasizing the bitter hops. Though bitter this beer does not taste strongly of alcohol even at 10.5% ABV. A decent beer and definitely worth the money but more caramelized and bitter than I prefer. If you love hoppy beers for the bitterness and like a roasted malty beer this is a good quality choice. Give it a shot and ride your bike.