New Holland Brewing Co.
Holland, MI

Style: Abbey Tripel
Wow … this one was a surprise.
New Holland has staked their reputation on big, flavorful brews, typically leaning in the English direction, and that’s what I’ve come to love and expect from them.
While they do have a few Belgian varietals in the portfolio—Zoomer Wit most readily jumps to mind—those alternative efforts have really never struck me as anything special.
After checking out a somewhat disappointing effort last time from Leelanau Brewing Company and Ron Jeffries, I dug into New Holland’s Black Tulip Trippel Ale, not expecting much … but found it instead to be much better.
The same estery nose jumps out as it pours a deep golden color. A disappointingly light head led me to believe this effort would again prove lacking. However, the first sip washed away my initial doubt as a nice full body follows up the fruity banana and clove aroma with a malty sweetness and rolling, complex, yeasty finish. It gets even more fun as it opens up throughout my meal, but maintains a consistent and interesting balance of fruit, malt & esters. This balance is particularly rewarding considering the 9.0 ABV and 16.9° Plato heft. It doesn’t give you a burn, just a soft warmth, which may play dangerous by the second pint if one is so inclined.
I was delightfully surprised, especially considering this was a New Holland effort … not that they don’t make fabulous beer—because they do—but because this was so much better than many of the so-called “Belgian-style” micros out there.