Like most of the beer tastings at The Wine and Cheese Place, there were barrels set up in the beer section (if you haven’t been to The Wine and Cheese Place for a tasting, it is something that they do every Friday from 4-6pm. It is very informal and most of the time self serve). On the barrels were the tasting selections. Rich Blair from New Holland gave a great presentation.
Hatter Royale Hopquila
Zeppelin Bend Straight Whiskey
Dutchess Citrus Vodka
Freshwater Rum – Huron White
Freshwater Rum – Michigan Amber
Freshwater Rum – Superior Single Barrel
Art in Fermented Form (Beer)
Hopivore (Wet Hopped Harvest Ale)
Charkoota Rye Smoked Doppelbock
Imperial Hatter (IIPA)
Full Circle Kolsch
Mad Hatter (IPA)
All of New Holland’s beers were solid (most notably the Imperial Hatter and Dragon’s Milk). Even the summer favorite–though not really mine–Full Circle Kolsch was good. In fact, the quality of their beers made me reflect on the fact that, arguably, most of the attention paid to Michigan beer goes to Founders and Bell’s. And they certainly deserve it. Founder’s and Bell’s are both extremely good breweries. New Holland, though, seems to be the neglected younger sibling of the two, which is so undeserved, it’s worth mentioning. I will definitely be looking into New Holland more seriously in the future.
New Holland’s strength lies in the beer I tasted, but also its (new to STL) line of Artisan Spirits.
Full Disclosure: I am not a hard liquor guy. Scotch does nothing for me (other than a slow burn in my throat) and vodka is usually relegated to pairing nicely with my OJ. Instead, I prefer to wax poetically about the intricate complexities of beer, New Holland’s spirits may have changed that.
The hip thing to write about would be the Hopquila, which is all the buzz right now. New Holland’s Hatter Royale Hopquila is essentially a distilled version of their Imperial Hatter Imperial IPA, which is then dry hopped to taste. It is technically a flavored whiskey that does a very good impression of tequila (no agave nectar means not actually tequila). The New Holland Pub even serves a “margarita” made with Hopquila (affectionately called the “Hoparita”). I was shocked at how closely it mimicked the flavor of tequila and it was certainly good, but the real star in my mind was the Knickerbocker Gin. I had literally never tasted anything like it. It was like eating a juniper flower straight from the tree (but not nearly as girly as that sounds). The taste was so vibrant and unlike anything I had ever had before, especially from Gin. Normally I have to mix my liquor with something, but I could definitely see drinking this one neat.
I like the trend of microbreweries branching out and diversifying their production. The spike in popularity of craft beer proves that people are responding to the fact there is more out there than the “Light Beer Trinity” and I think that Artisan Spirits from craft breweries (Rogue, Square One, Amalgamated, and many others) will do the same for the spirit world.
If you missed this last tasting event at The Wine and Cheese Place, it’s not too late. This Friday they will be hosting Jim O’Connor from Bell’s Brewery at the Forsyth location from 4-6pm.
Check here for more info.