With a history dating back 22 years, New Holland Brewing Co. makes a lot of beers and has a wide distribution footprint, distributing to 38 states and four countries. In 2015, its production facility in New Holland, Mich. underwent a huge development that included the tripling of its brewing capacity.
Today’s review is a variation on one of the breweries core beers; its Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, which was introduced originally in 2001. Some variations of the aforementioned stout include: Dragon’s Milk Coconut Rum Barrel, Mocha Mint, Coffee Chocolate and Vanilla Chai, just to name a few. The variation for today’s review is Reserve Cherry Chocolate, an American imperial stout clocking in at 11 percent ABV, which is the mean alcohol content of all the variants.
Poured from a 12-ounce bottle dated from April of 2018, the color stands as a dark, near black brown with light tan notes under the half inch of khaki, semi-creamy head. Aromas are bold with the familiarity of chocolate covered cherries and remain pleasant for the first few hits on the nose and then deliver a bit of a medicinal smell.
The first taste delivers a semi-sweet, almost milk chocolate taste that quickly turns into a light alcohol burn—albeit not over the top—but enough to break apart the initial goodness of that great milky creamy chocolate. As the brew lingers, the mouth feel becomes almost medicinal like cough syrup if not swallowed quickly, leaving a finish that seems a bit fake. Carbonation, which usually should be on the light side for the style, seems to fall even flatter, bringing out an artificial feel that further decimates the balance and harmony of ingredients, leaving an underwhelming, simple beer, lacking complexity and balance that should be expected from a big stout