New Holland Dragons Milk

** This review has been supplanted by the new one. **

Out to watch a Steelers game at a local bar, I decided to ask for a good sized sample of the most expensive, most alcohol-rick beer they have. It's called New Holland Dragons Milk, and it is pretty self-evidently a stout. Unfortunately, I can't get any specifics about this beer (which I got on tap) from the waitress. A quick look on my iPhone shows that it is a bourbon barrel stout, and that generally doesn't help me out. I'm not a fan of mixing my strong drink with my frothy beverages.

The head is very much that of a stout. A light, spotty head with tiny bubbles cuddling around the rim. The color is a dark brown to the point of being impenetrable. The aroma is mostly smokey oat. There may be a hint of the aforementioned bourbon in there, but I can't smell it too well; it's possible the smell of the free popcorn is overwhelming it.

The first sip reveals a daunting and bold flavor. It's got a cherry rim around a smokey oak flavor with roasted malts just simmering in a vat with straight alcohol. The finish is very alcohol-infused to the point of reminding me of a liquor. Specifically, the finish makes me think they just went ahead and dumped some of the whisky in there with it.

I'm not a fan of region-specific beverage names like champagne and port, but my personal preference doesn't enter into it too much. The fact is, you can't make bourbon outside of Kentucky. So, are these whiskey barrels that they are putting the beer in? I mean, once you remove the barrel from Kentucky, does it cease being bourbon and revert back to regular whiskey?

A deeper draught leads one to think of straight whiskey. There are some oak notes with the fruity bits, but the overwhelming taste is booze. Alas, I'm not a fan. I mean, I'm a fan of the Steelers, but I'm not a fan of this beer. They tried too hard to raise the alcohol content, and they just ignored the flavor of the beer.



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