The Mad Hatter: Gone-a-RYE

by Tony Erickson on September 6, 2012

Last saturday night, I stopped at Lake Wine & Cheese on Lake Street in Minneapolis in search of a brew that I had yet to try. I went straight to the rack of various 22 oz bottles, as any brew nerd should. After a few glances at all the others I had already tried, I noticed four bottles with great label artwork from New Holland Brewery. As it turned out, they were all seasonal India Pale Ale releases: the Black Hatter, the Oak Aged Hatter, the Farmhouse Hatter, and the Rye Hatter.  Since I had to work the next day, I was a little short on drinking time, so I could only buy one and decided on the Rye Hatter because I’ve been on a kick with the style this past spring and summer.

As soon as I cracked open the bottle, I knew I had made a good choice. It poured nicely, having the perfect amount of head on top of the Hamm’s glass I drank it from (Yes, the irony was intentional). The aroma alone was enough for me to recommend this brew to anyone wanting to try new styles. The rye malt addition to this ale gives it a spiciness that adds a lot of character to the caramel flavors. I’m not sure if its the base malts that they used or what, but this rye ale seemed to come together much better than a lot of other ryes I’ve had in the past.

There are a lot of breweries putting out rye ales lately and I have to say this has to be in my top three ryes if not my very favorite; that partially may be because at times I’ve been known as a hop-head and they’ve dry hopped this guy perfectly, bringing out a mellow citrus flavor to finish it off.

I’m really excited to dig into the other three Hatters, as long as I can still find them come pay day that is. New Holland is also releasing a line of spirits as well. If my sources are correct (and they are) look for a whiskey that’s been aged in New Holland’s own Dragon’s Milk barrels. That’s right: a whiskey aged in a barrel that previously contained a strong stout that previously contained Heaven Hill bourbon! So keep your eyes open for any of New Holland’s unique creations.

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Tony Erickson

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