Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Beer Review, New Holland Oak Aged Mad Hatter

Last night, after attending Smart@ss's birthday dinner; Kridz and I went to Radio Maria for some drinks. I started off with a Rogue 1981 Charlie. Kridz went with a Founders Double Trouble. I followed that up with a beer I haven't had before, the New Holland Oak Aged Mad Hatter.

Mad Hatter is their IPA offering, so I was interested in trying an aged version.

As you can see, it poured (on tap) relatively clearly, it was a pretty golden brown color. It had a decent white head that stuck around for a while. It also clung to the glass well, but I think that was probably more a function of a beer clean glass.

I was surprised that there was hardly any smell to this brew. I asked Kridz to smell, and she also couldn't pick anything up. I found this to be wierd, as she had it before and said that it was almost too oaky for her to drink, so I expected a big wooden smell, but it wasn't there. I figured the beer may have been initially too cold to be aromatic, or that the glass was to full for it to release the boquet, but even as it warmed, and got emptier, there was very little smell.

The beer felt rather thin and slightly effervescent (bubbly) at first, but later it seemed to be somewhat coating on the tongue. Odd that a beer could seemingly change viscosity by getting warmer, but it seemed to. It at first tasted slightly oaky and very sweet, the hops really disappeared in this beer. I wouldn't have expected them to be so fragile to go away, but there seemed to be no bitterness in it at all. What was in the glass reminded me of something that I just couldn't quite name. It may have been a cherry sweettart. It may have been Dr. Pepper, well since Dr. Pepper has 23 flavors, it's probably easy to pull some of that out.

Jacob, the manager at RM, informed us that it was aged in Woodford Reserve barrells for 3 months. After being told that, the bourbon-ey, whiskey-ey flavors really came out. I asked what he thought of the taste, and he said there was some vanilla and caramel, neither flavor I picked up on. As it warmed up (the lighted bar top helps that) the bourbon flavor became more and more pronounced.

The beer made me think of when I was a kid, growing up in Green Bay, going to Southwest High School in the summer to go swimming (for a quarter, I think it was). The beer didn't remind me of swimming, it made me think of the candy table, I'm not sure if it was the big sweettarts, or some kind of laffy-taffy, but there was something in this beer, that made me think of 30 years ago.

This was a good beer. It had the nice drinking qualities of a sipping bourbon barrel beer, without being as thick as a stout. It would probably make a good beer for having with a cigar, or even a cigarette, but I didn't take it outside. It wasn't smokey, but would have gone well with it. I'd get it again.