Have you ever gone to the beer store with the intention of buying one bottle, but somehow managed to walk out with far more than you originally went for. This seems to happen to me nearly every time I go to the store. When I was younger it was the same type of danger I would get walking into a music store. I walk in there to find one album, but the joy of finding so many other things would over take me, and I would walk out with 5 CDs instead. Somehow I never really see this as a problem; however, my wife might (and has) disagree with me there. Between seeing incredible new things, old favorites, and things that catch my eye, I just can’t keep myself to any one bottle. Such was the case the Saturday I learned Life and Limb 2 was available at my local store. Heading down there, my main intention was to simply purchase that bottle and be gone. I, however, ended up with Life and Limb (review upcoming), my previous duckrabbit review, and this bottle of New Holland.
New Holland has that every brew lovers dream story to it. This is the story of two homebrewers who met in college, shared a love of making good beer, and decided to take it full-time. Of course it’s always more complicated than that, but I would like to think it’s that easy. New Holland is located in Holland, Michigan, and initially, it was thought that was right where their beer would stay. However, as they continued to gain popularity, they managed to increase production and move out into a bigger market. This of course makes me happy.
This particular bottle is in the traditional style of a Belgian tripel. Now tripels definitely have to be up there as some of my favorite beers; however, this one has a different take on that. In the recipe is a spring wildflower-honey and ginger. I have had some beers brewed with different ingredients; however, never one that combines these two. Needless to say, I was very excited for this tasting.
The appearance on the pour is slightly darker than I was expecting. I typically expect that most tripels are lighter in color. This one however pours out a reddish auburn color. The beers clarity is a little hazy. It also had very little head develop on the pour. It was really only about half an inch to less. The lacing on the glass isn’t too substantial; however, swirling does allow the lacing to last fairly long on the sides. I think the haziness and slight lacing are mostly due to the honey included. This, or the ginger, may also result in the darker color.
The smell seems pretty normal to most tripels I’ve had. There is some fairly heavy orange citrus scents on the initial smell. This heavy citrus smells give way to more of a cinnamon apple smell. I was a little surprised to pull out something comparable to cinnamon in there. I’m not sure if the honey or ginger is reacting to create that. I don’t really pull out a ton of hops; however, the malts are certainly present as well.
The taste here seems a little lighter in flavor than your typical tripel. It’s almost not immediately recognizable as a tripel. The start is kind of mellow and works into the nice citrusy flavor expected of your typical tripel. These blend nicely from the citrus to that apple taste that was coming through on the nose. The presence of the honey seems to linger right around here. As you taste the honey, there is a nice little spicy kick of the hops. I really didn’t smell hops present in this one; however, they are definitely noticeable in the taste. The hops and ginger seem to create a nice little kick; although, on some sips it was a little off-putting. The aftertaste is slightly sweet, which is also nice.
Mouthfeel has a high to moderate amount of carbonation. It isn’t the most carbonated tripel I have ever had, but it has enough to keep it slightly refreshing. I tend to not like an over carbonated beverage. The flavors all blend quite nicely to create a well-balanced take on a tripel. The hops are the only thing that seem a little out of place; however, I don’t hate them. They don’t really manage to ruin the aftertaste at all.
All in all this is a great beer. Being my first real taste of New Holland, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. While it isn’t the greatest tripel I have ever had; it really stands up nicely to other American interpretations to the style. If you’re looking for something different to try, definitely pick this one up. I’m really looking forward to tasting a few other selections from their line-up.
Teacher Grade: B
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