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New Holland Charkootah Rye 2011

October 1, 2012

As I mentioned in my last review, I recently attended a New Holland Tap Takeover that happened to coincide with their launch in the wonderful state of New York. New Holland is a brewery out of Holland, Michigan. Started in the mid 90s, the brewery began small, slowly expanding its employees and brews, before opening a local brewpub in 2002. Since the early 2000s the brewery has steadily expanded, continuing to open larger and larger facilities. What truly makes them unique in my opinion though is the fact that they also distill a wide line of spirits including gin, vodka, rum, and of course bourbon (which goes hand in hand with beer just like dogs). The other spirit they make that sounds extremely intriguing is “hopquila,” presumably some sort of hop-based tequila. Despite the many interesting things they also do, I had their Charkootah Rye from 2011.

The beer pours an opaque dark brown with a small bit of brown head that slowly disappeared from the brew. The scent of this beer was quite phenomenal, it was like you had a loaf of rye bread in your hands while sitting next to a campfire. Strong scents of smoke and rye mingled into a tantalizing bouquet. The beer was ultimately very light, which surprised me since it seemed to give such a heavy impression. Yet, the beer clung to my mouth long after it had disappeared.

There’s a very sweet punch up front with this beer that leads to the sweet cloying sense of the mouthfeel. What sticks with you is the sweet brandy flavor from the barrels this beer was aged in, and while it adds a nice dimension to the brew, I can’t say I like my mouth being left puckered with sweetness. Of course, this sweet puckering might just be worth while as the beer ends up providing a beautiful array of stronger darker tastes, namely smoke, rye, and I kid you not, bacon. My first few sips of this beer sent shivers down my spine as the sweetness kicked my teeth in and then it felt like I was smoking a cigar while biting into greasy bacon on toasted rye. Of course, by the end there was a strong brandy taste lingering in my mouth that reduced the beer somewhat.

However, if you’re willing to calmly and slowly drink this taste roller coaster you should be able to beat the cloying nature and have quite a good brew in your hands. If not, well it’s still pretty good.

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