Tasting Notes – The Classics: Dragon’s Milk from New Holland Brewing Company

DragonsMilkCapFor this special edition of Tasting Notes, we take a moment to revisit and appreciate a true legend in the craft beer realm, Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout from New Holland Brewing Company (Holland, Michigan).

Introduced 18 years ago to be the modern-day equivalent of a “knight’s reward for slaying a dragon,” Dragon’s Milk is an Imperial Stout “with roasty malt character intermingled with deep vanilla tones, all dancing in an oak bath” sourced from time spent aging in Bourbon barrels. With just one sip of this “true legend,” it will become clear why New Holland always believed that Dragon’s Milk (11% ABV) would become “the finest liquid in [their] house.”

Dragon’s Milk is a Year-Round offering available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft.  You can expect to find this iconic brew at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of New Holland’s distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with the story behind the beer, let’s pop open a few bottles and slay a couple of dragons for the sake of these Tasting Notes!

Tasting Notes for Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout from New Holland Brewing Company

Appearance:  Dragon’s Milk pours an inky black in color and is capped with just over a finger of mocha colored foam.  When held to direct light, the extreme edges of the pour hint at dark brown tones but the darkness holds fast for the most part.  The beer is completely opaque, so there is really no visual indication of the carbonation level.  Head retention is good, slowly slipping down to a creamy ring at around the halfway mark of the experience. The foam attempts to leave spots of lace on the glass after each sip, but the beer coats the glass with an oily slick that forces any lace to retreat back down into the top cap.

Aroma:  The barrel character hits first with pronounced notes of bourbon-soaked grains, vanilla and wet wood/oak.  That grain character eventually emerges on the other side of the bourbon to offer tones of dark roast, toast, toffee, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. A hint of dark fruit sneaks in at times to round everything out.

Taste: High quality dark chocolate (bittersweet), sweet cocoa, deeply roasted grains, and black coffee smoothly slide across the palate at the start of the sip. This sets the stage beautifully for the bourbon barrel’s notes of vanilla, oak, char, caramelized brown sugar and a hint of coconut.  Just like in the nose, a slight presence of dark fruit, riding an extra wave of sweet vanilla, turns up to close the profile.

Mouthfeel: Leaning a touch toward the medium side of full-bodied with a medium carbonation, Dragon’s Milk has a wonderfully silky weight to it while the carbonation keeps the experience smooth by lifting and carrying away any residual sweetness.  That sweetness is further tempered by a gentle bitterness sourced from the beer’s notes of roasted grains, coffee and bittersweet chocolate. The 11% ABV is pleasantly present, supplying boozy notes and a gentle warmth that rises from the belly. Aftertaste is all bourbon soaked dark fruit and cocoa.

Final Thoughts:  There is absolutely no denying that Dragon’s Milk is a true classic in the world of craft beer.  From top to bottom, this brew is one of the lasting original examples capable of providing a template for the basic characteristics one should expect from a well-crafted and balanced Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout.  It has a solid Stout base that carries all the roasty, chocolaty goodness you could want while the Bourbon barrel is there to influence the experience – with deep notes of oak, vanilla and bourbon – in a way that complements rather than dominates. Although they both have an equal opportunity to show what they are all about, the base beer and barrel still come together to consistently provide a cohesive experience from sip to sip, pour to pour, bottle to bottle. 

This level of consistency and quality is what makes Dragon’s Milk the legend that it is. A legend that we should all experience and revisit from time to time so that we can appreciate the breweries and beers that risked everything and eventually went on to shape what we now know and love about craft beer.  It is part of American craft beer lore and should be respected as such.  Prost!

 

Dragon’s Milk Reserve Series Continues With Release of Oatmeal Cookie Variant

beer-dragonsmilk-oatmealcookie-12oz-bottleNew Holland Brewing Company (Holland, Michigan) has officially announced that Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Oatmeal Cookie will enter distribution in October 2019.

Developed to capture the essence of “one of [New Holland’s] favorite treats,” Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Oatmeal Cookie (11% ABV) ages the brewery’s fan-favorite Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout on cinnamon, oats, brown sugar, raisins, and Madagascar vanilla extract.  This treatment produces “familiar flavors of a freshly baked oatmeal cookie” that pair beautifully “with the rich, warm bourbon notes of [the brewery’s] signature barrel-aged stout.”

Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Oatmeal Cookie will debut on September 27 with launch events at New Holland’s Grand Rapids and Holland Brewpub locations and full distribution is scheduled to follow in October.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of New Holland’s distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Oatmeal Cookie from New Holland Brewing Company

Release – Limited; October 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 11%
IBUs – 30
Treatment – Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout carefully aged with cinnamon, oats, brown sugar, raisins & Madagascar vanilla extract
Fun Fact – On the Dragon’s Milk Reserve Series: “Our Dragon’s Milk Reserve series is the ultimate indulgence. Authentic ingredients, unique barrels, and our brewer’s creativity result in delicious brews that showcase the incredible versatility of Dragon’s Milk. Each entry into the Reserve series is carefully crafted to highlight the signature flavors of roasted malt, vanilla, and oak in new and unique ways, becoming a legend all its own.”

Recommended Glassware – Snifter
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://dragonsmilk.com/find-dragons-milk

dragons-milk-oatmeal-cookie

 

New Holland Brewing Co.’s Elusive Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash Set to Return

DragonsMilkTripleMash2New Holland Brewing Company (Holland, Michigan) has officially announced that Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash will make a highly-anticipated return on April 27.

Last released in 2017, Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash is a version of New Holland’s flagship Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout that has endured “three separate mashes, a delicate lautering, and a year’s slumber in New Holland Spirits barrels.”  Weighing in at a staggering 17% ABV, Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash offers its drinker “an intense malt character paired with warm, toasted flavor notes from its time in the wood.”

“We couldn’t be more excited to release Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash into the wild. Triple Mash takes what is already an amazing beer and really amplifies all those classic Dragon’s Milk flavors to the moon—the roasted malt, barrel sweetness and bourbon all shine through,” said Dominic Bergquist, Brand Manager. “Our brewers have outdone themselves with this brew.”

Release parties for Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash will take place at New Holland’s Grand Rapids and Holland pubs on Saturday, April 27.  While at these release parties, attendees can purchase Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles ($24.99 each | limit of one case per customer per day), on draft, and “as part of a special ‘Flight of the Dragon’ sampler that features Triple Mash along with Dragon’s Milk, Dragon’s Milk White and Dragon’s Milk: Brewer’s Select (2019)—which was aged in a first-use bourbon barrel and hand-selected from New Holland’s cellar just for this occasion.”  A limited amount of Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash – both on draft and in bottles – is expected to hit distribution in Michigan only shortly after the on-site release.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dragon’s Milk Triple Mash from New Holland Brewing Company

Release – Limited; April 27, 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 17%
IBU – 30
Treatment – A version of Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout that has experienced three separate mashes, a delicate lautering, and a year aging in New Holland Spirits barrels
Recommended Glassware – Snifter
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Distribution – Michigan only

 

New Holland Brewing Co. Releases Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Raspberry Hibiscus

DragonsMilkRaspHibiscusFruitNew Holland Brewing Co. (Holland, Michigan) has officially announced that Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Raspberry Hibiscus is rolling out now as the newest installment in the brewery’s fan-favorite Dragon’s Milk Reserve series.

Arriving as the latest innovative variant of the legendary Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-aged Stout, Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Raspberry Hibiscus features a “refreshing blend of real raspberry & hibiscus.”  This added element of “fruity tartness . . . enhances the underlying flavors of bourbon, vanilla, and roasted malt character.”  Weighing in at a monstrous 11% ABV, Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Raspberry Hibiscus promises to be “one of the most balanced and exciting entries in the Reserve series to date.”

Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Raspberry Hibiscus made its debut in late March 2019 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located throughout New Holland’s nationwide distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Raspberry Hibiscus from New Holland Brewing Co.

Release – Limited/Dragon’s Milk Reserve, launching late March 2019
Style – Imperial Stout 
ABV – 11%
Added Ingredients – Real raspberry & hibiscus 
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – http://newhollandbrew.com/beer-finder/

New Holland Brewing Co. Launches Dragon’s Milk White in Cans

dragonsmilkwhiteNew Holland Brewing Company (Holland, Michigan) has announced that Dragon’s Milk White, a Bourbon Barrel-aged White Stout, will officially join the Dragon’s Milk family in February.

Developed as “a nod to New Holland Brewing’s 20 years of barrel-aging expertise and commitment to innovation in the name of flavor”, Dragon’s Milk White is a “full flavored . . . hazy, golden” White Stout that offers “strong notes of vanilla, cocoa, coffee roast, and oak from its time in bourbon barrels.”  Despite its lighter appearance and ABV (6%), Dragon’s Milk White “promises to appeal to traditional stout drinkers as well as those who simply are looking for a well-crafted, full-flavored and accessible drinking experience.”

Speaking of accessibility, Dragon’s Milk White will be the first Dragon’s Milk family member available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans.  This new packaging format now makes it possible for the Dragon’s Milk experience to “be enjoyed in more places and on more occasions, giving fans even more opportunity to ‘share a legend.'”

“The white stout is an entirely new Dragon’s Milk experience, pulling many of the same awesome flavor notes that our fans have come to love in our original bourbon barrel-aged stout, but presenting them in a way that is completely unique,” said Dominic Bergquist, brand manager for Dragon’s Milk. “It’s not simply a visual play. The hazy golden color is really just the first cue that this beer is going to be unique, with the aromas and flavors that follow making it something we feel is truly special to behold.”

Dragon’s Milk White will officially debut in New Holland’s pubs in Grand Rapids and Holland, Michigan on February 8 and is scheduled to enter full distribution shortly after the on-site release.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, Michigan and throughout the rest of New Holland’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dragon’s Milk White from New Holland Brewing Company 

Release – Year-Round, launching February 2019
Style – White Stout
ABV – 6%
IBUs – 35
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – http://newhollandbrew.com/beer-finder/

New Holland Brewing Gives Dragon’s Milk a New Look, Introduces Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Banana Coconut

Dragon's Milk Reserve - Banana CoconutNew Holland Brewing Company (Grand Rapids, Michigan) has announced that it is officially unveiling the re-branding of its flagship Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout alongside the latest release from its Dragon’s Milk Reserve Series, Banana Coconut.

After 17 years of production, the legendary Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout will soon be hitting shelves with a “dramatic new look” that better represents its “creativity and artistry.”  This update will see the artwork shifting to “a premium all-black base, allowing the hallmark dragon emblem to serve as the visual focus in place of the brewery’s own logo.”  It will also feature “gradient dragon scales”, a visual accent that acts as a “nod to the stout’s name while mimicking the way foam dissipates in the glass when poured.”

This updated visual design will be displayed on Dragon’s Milk packaging, retail elements and branded merchandise.  If you would like to see more of this beer’s refreshed appearance, you should check out its dedicated website and Instagram account.

“Synonymous with its name, Dragon’s Milk has become its own legend and we’re proud of its heritage as the best liquid in our house,” said Brett VanderKamp, President of New Holland Brewing Company. “We are passionate about the stout’s full, warming and rich blend comprising roasted malt characteristics complemented by smooth vanilla and oak flavors. Our new packaging aims to celebrate the complexity of the beer while paying tribute to its bold, rich undertones.”

To add a little flair to the occasion, New Holland will celebrate the Dragon’s Milk re-brand by introducing the latest Limited Release variant to come out of its Dragon’s Milk Reserve Series, Banana Coconut.  Just as the name would lead you to believe, Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Banana Coconut (11% ABV) takes the “traditional roasted, malty and smooth characteristics of Dragon’s Milk” and infuses it with “hints of real banana, plantain and coconut.”

Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Banana Coconut will officially debut on September 15 at both New Holland Brewing Company brew pub locations and enter distribution shortly after that date.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located within New Holland’s distribution footprint.  Prost!

Vital Information for Dragon’s Milk Reserve – Banana Coconut from New Holland Brewing Company

Release – Limited/Dragon’s Milk Reserve, mid-September 2018
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 11%
Malts – 2-row, Munich, Caramel, Flaked Barley, Chocolate, Black & Honey
Hops – Nugget & Brewer’s Gold
Added Ingredients – Banana, plantain & coconut 
Availability – 4-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://newhollandbrew.com/beer-finder/