New Holland “Oak Aged Hatter”
Oak Aged IPA – 7.22% ABV – 62 IBU
Sometimes, when I taste a beer, my colleagues can almost taste it themselves when they witness the look of delight on my face after my first sip. That, my friends, is what happens when you drink an awesome beer. And unfortunately it is what New Holland, out of Holland, Michigan typically lacks. I’m not deeply versed on their entire catalog of offerings but I have had my share of their brews. They’re all good and worth trying, but nothing I have tasted from them has caught my attention like the famous “SNAP OUT OF IT” bitch-slap Cher gave Nicolas Cage in “Moonstruck”. Every man watching that movie feels a sting on his cheek when her hand meets Cage’s face. SMACK!!! I can tell when I drink their beer they’re trying to pack such a wallop but what I feel instead of the authoritative, womanly hand of Cher is the wet noodle of Justin Beiber. Their beers always taste great, but what they are lacking is depth and strength. And Oak Aged Hatter is no exception.
The color of this pour is brown with an antique gold hue; and crystal transparent. The head is bone white, thick, and impressive at first but does not settle evenly. Lacing is at medium-strength. It has a very fresh odor that boasts of heavy malt and fresh floral hops. It’s simple and pleasant. The flavor is more complex and offers not only the dominant flavor of malt but also adds oak, maple, caramel and pecan. But I did not taste an IPA here. To me it resembled an oak-aged, Scottish-style ale. But after the brew made its way down my throat, the IPA character hit my tongue with a bitter sting. It’s OK, but not hoppy. It’s just bitter. Overall the flavor profiles are not strong enough. They are tasty, but the volume seems bloated in comparison to the flavor. It tastes as though it is cut with seltzer water. It isn’t well balanced. And it’s weird because it tastes like one style, and then another, rather than a blend of the two. The carbonation is quite high and thus a gulp of this beer will go down in 2 to 3 swallows, making it very creamy. And it is very easy to drink.
The upside to this beer is that I would recommend it for someone who is starting to explore the craft beers out there. Its lack of strength in flavor will ensure the newlywed is not overwhelmed. The other upside is that it provides a nice buzz out of a bomber bottle with its slightly north of 7% ABV. For the experienced beer drinker though, I recommend passing on this one, but if someone pours you one, by all means drink it. It’s not bad.
By the way, if Cher ever slapped me I would most definitely become aroused and the need to adjust my belt-loop would be very apparent within seconds. If Justin Beiber ever struck me I would gouge out his eyeballs and stuff them down the back of his pants so he could watch me kick the shit out of him. Then I would slug myself in the face and give myself a black eye so I could appear a victim in court, sue him for all he’s worth, and buy a condo on Miami Beach where hot Latina broads fight every morning over which one gets to blow me in my hot tub first.