New Holland Brewing Co.
Holland, MI

Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 11.4%
New Holland Brewing was one of the early breweries in the Great Lakes State. They build their reputation with big, full flavored brews when many other 90’s era brewers were working on some amalgamation of “light, amber, dark and a specialty brew.” They haven’t stopped innovating.

In recent years, they’ve rolled out a number of specialty and seasonal brews, some of which are very experimental, to go along with their Artisan Spirits line of distilled products. While they don’t always receive the same “buzz” of other Michigan brewers, such as Founders, Shorts or Dark Horse, they certainly compare favorably to any of these “hot” breweries overall.

From their High Gravity Series, I tried their Pilgrim’s Dole “wheatwine,” which is a barley wine produced with a 50% wheat mash. During the 14th century, the term “Pilgrim’s Dole” described the rations of bread and ale given to nourish wayfarers on their holy pilgrimage…this brew combines both in one serving.

It pours a muddy brown, deep red color with a very thin head. The first sip bites with alcohol burn and a caramel bite. It has a woody nose, reflecting it’s barrel aging, with hints of whiskey. The glass cling is mild. My tasting partner described it as a “slow poke dipped in whiskey,” which I found rather apt. It’s certainly very interesting and would be worth another try as their next scheduled release is this November.