Let’s cut through all the lingo and rhetoric here and just say that Beer Barrel Bourbon is really good, really rich, and surprisingly sweet and smooth.
One might think that a company called “New Holland” might be in the New York area. After all, the Dutch settled New York City, calling it New Amsterdam for a century. But no … New Holland Brewing and Artisan Spirits is based in Holland, Michigan. So I guess it makes sense anyway.
New Holland Brewing—and the more recent edition, New Holland Artisan Spirits—was founded in 1996 by two childhood friends: Jason Spaulding and Brett Vander kamp. Perhaps not surprisingly, they started by brewing beer. Then they stated brewing a lot of it. Turns out, they were good at it and now they brew nearly 1 million barrels of beer per year across several varieties. In 2005 they expanded into Whiskey, Rum, and Gin, beginning sales of those products in 2008.
Let’s cut through all the lingo and rhetoric here and just say that Beer Barrel Bourbon is really good. For decades, beer makers have aged some of their craft beers and ales in ex-Bourbon barrels to give them extra flavor. The folks at New Holland Brewery did the same thing. Then they had an epiphany. They had just started producing Whiskey, and they were aging it in new American white oak like all the big Bourbon boys do, right? Then they were using those new ex-Bourbon barrels to flavor some of their beers. So what they started doing was flipping the process and aging both in new oak, then swapping. Now the beer is finishing in an ex-Bourbon cask and the Bourbon is finishing in an ex-beer cask. Get it?
The result is a very dark, exceptionally smooth Bourbon that is sweet and rich and a little bit hoppy, but not in a bad way. It is surprisingly smooth and sweet. Almost as if you are drinking an aperitif or … dessert Bourbon? Yes, let’s go with that. And if you add a little ice, the flavors and aromas open up and you even get a little floral scent in a dark, rich dram.