You might have noticed that many Michigan breweries seem to be hopping aboard the distilling train lately. But New Holland Brewing started their distilling practices almost a decade ago. Based in (you guessed it) New Holland, the brewery makes high-gravity beers like Dragon’s Milk, along with such seasonals as Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, and year-round favorite Monkey King Farmhouse Ale. New Holland’s handle on locally made booze includes gin, rum, liqueur, and, most importantly, whiskey.
New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon (the name is a bit of a misnomer, considering a bourbon must be made in Kentucky to be classified as such) is the subject for our most recent taste test and shall heretofore be noted as a whiskey.
While straight whiskey can be a bit abhorrent to the novice spirits drinker, New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon is quite enticing, smelling deliciously of wood and beer, likely from the new American oak barrels it’s aged in for “several years,” with additional time spent aging in barrels previously used for Dragon’s Milk. Free of overpoweringly leather notes and aromas, even those who prefer to keep their whiskeys mixed up in cocktails will enjoy this blend with an ice cube or two.
Complete with that signature whiskey bite, this bourbon remains smooth and tasty, with something of a sweet aftertaste. According to the distiller, the whiskey has notes of biscuit, toffee, and caramel, though we’re not sure we detected any in the flavor, but the tang of malt is most certainly present.
Ringing in at 80 proof, one thing we noticed straight off the bat is the absence of an overwhelmingly alcoholic flavor, which tends to be present in lesser made whiskeys, even those produced on the local front.
At about $30 a bottle, this is a whiskey to be enjoyed carefully. We picture you with a rocks glass, lounging in mahogany-colored leather chair surrounded by an impressive collection of novels and texts.