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Saturday, April 9, 2011

New Holland Poet Stout

New Holland Brewing Company was my first love when I got into the craft scene so it holds a special place in my heart and Isaac Hartman, their Beer Ambassador, does a fantastic job supporting his brand and Michigan Beer in general.

The Poet is their Oatmeal Stout.  It rings in at a modest 5.2% abv, and at 40 ibu's it has just the right amount of dryness to clear your palette of the rich, chocolate, soft, creaminess from the dark roasted malts. Pouring a deep brown, when held up to direct light you get some dark ruby highlights that compliment the thick creamy head that leaves fantastic lacing even though it dissipates rather quickly.

You get a strong chocolate malt aroma right away with maybe some shortbread and oatmeal notes and surprisingly little coffee scent for how dark it is. I actually poured it a bit too cold so i initially got more iced tea aromas before I got the chocolate and coffee as it warmed up to proper the temperature.

Just as I said above, the alcohol is not present, allowing for great drinkability and allowing the malts to make a very soft  creamy coating on your tongue.  This creates a very satisfying mouthfeel but has just the right amount of hops to clear your palette at the end allowing for that great sensation that leaves you reaching for the next sip. The carbonation is a bit high today, which could be the draft system more than the beer itself, but the bubbles are tight and don't interfere too much. As it warms, the roasted malts with the dark chocolate and coffee make their presence felt.

From top to bottom this is a great example of how to make a solid stout without having to get in your face by over malting or taking the abv too high. It remains one of my favorite dark beers and can be enjoyed in any weather.

To find out more about this and New Holland's many other brews visit them @

You can find this and 67 other great beers on tap at the Shark Club in Howell, MI

To get up date happenings of all Michigan Breweries and Events visit

Thank you for your support, check out my other reviews @

Jonathan Cole

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree

As you can tell from my previous posts, I am a glutton for hop punishment, so when we tapped this years Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree IPA you know I couldn't resist. I sat down with my good friend Chad Roe and we gave it a whirl.

Right off the bat I noticed the murky amber or almost cedar color, with a thin but concentrated head that faded fairly quickly but does leave a touch of lacing behind. The moment I stuck my nose in I get a pronounced honey and maybe sourdough scent, that almost smells sticky, with a strong whiff of alcohol behind it, which is not surprising as it boasts an abv that hovers around 12%. The more it warms up the more of the alcohol nose comes out and the dry citrus hop sent fades but that sticky bready scent lingers the whole time.

The hops are there to be sure, it is a huge IPA, however at first sip I felt it is over balanced. It finishes more like a Barley Wine with its sweetness and syrupy mouthfeel. I lose the hops on the back end and am not left with that dry bitterness that encourages you to grab it up for another sip that I come to look for in my IPA's. Now keep in mind I prefer 60 minute over 90, and Huma Lupalicious over Hopslam, but this beer just didn't resonate with me and my desire for hops. Don't get me wrong this was a spectacular beer and I will sit down with you and have one anytime you like, just not what I look for in IPA's.

for more information on Dark Horse Brewery please visit their website below

Thanks to my friend Chad for sipping this delightful brew with me. He has as much or more knowledge of craft beer as I do and an impeccable palate. To shoot the breeze with Chad, check him out at Stonefire Bistro Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday nights in downtown Brighton.