Craft Beer. Heavy Metal. Fuck Yeah.
New Holland Charkoota Rye Smoked Dopplebock Lager Aged in Brandy Barrels
New Holland makes Dragon’s Milk; ergo, like most craft beer drinkers I know, I have a very special place in my heart for New Holland. I’m also a pretty big fan of their Pilgrim’s Dole barleywine, and Mad Hatter has never steered me wrong, so whenever I see something interesting from New Holland I’m inclined to pick it up. This Charkoota Rye Smoked Dopplebock certainly falls under the heading of interesting. As a general rule, I hate lagers; I can’t explain why, it’s just a quirk of mine. And ordinarily the suggestion of pairing it with anything pork would immediately turn me off (in the interest of full disclosure, I’m a vegetarian). But then I read the part of the label where it said ‘Aged in Brandy Barrels.’ I’ve heard an awful lot about brandy barrel aging and have been very curious, but I had never tried one. Then I read the part on the label where it said ‘High Gravity Series’ and I was sold.
Pour: 22 oz. bomber into a snifter. I also ended up sharing the last third of it with someone; he drank it out of a pint glass.
Appearance: Jet black with a thin brown head that dissipates pretty quickly. No lacing. Direct light doesn’t penetrate the beer; there’s no apparent effervescence. It has good legs, though, as most high-gravity beers will.
Aroma: First and foremost, there’s an overpowering wood smoke scent. There may be some malt notes behind the smoke, but you really have to look for them.
Flavor: Sweet and smoky in almost equal amounts. A touch of cherry or possibly molasses up front and then the smoke overwhelms. A bit of brandy in the finish, leaving a sweet-smoky aftertaste. It drinks a lot like a smoked porter or smoked stout.
Mouthfeel: medium-heavy. This is a sipping beer.
Overall: This is a very enjoyable beer that I would have again. There’s just the right amount of smoke to put me in the mind of a barbecue without making me feel like I was drinking a charcoal briquette. In fact, if I were still a meat eater, I might even try marinating some pork chops or tenderloin in this to see how it grills up. I wonder how it would taste on tofu?
Final Grade: B