Beer Review 0067: New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale

The beer we’re looking at today comes from New Holland Brewing Company, located in Holland, Michigan. It’s a winter seasonal Brown Ale called Cabin Fever, meant to be a hearty and comforting companion to those cold days many of us dislike this time of year.

New Holland has been brewing since 1996. The also operate a nice pub and make distilled spirits.

Their company website is a little lackluster when it comes to any brewery history, so let’s just dive right into the beer, which features a quaint winter snow scene on the bottle with the words CABIN FEVER in a frightening typeface…

The pour made for an average head that quickly diminished. The body was clear and completely free of particles or sediment, and was a ruby brown color. It’s a very nice looking beer, with the opaque liquid sitting atop a small but creamy light tan head. There were some small touches of lace left clinging to the glass as I drank.

The aromas were classic Brown Ale; there was some nice roasted coffee, caramel, and milk chocolate. There was a small grassy note, and I detected just a faint whiff of alcohol. This one comes in at a little higher ABV (alcohol by volume) than most of the winter seasonal Brown Ales — 6% here. The scent was pleasant and definitely makes you want a sip.

On the palate, there’s a nice hoppy start to this beer that is unexpected. There is a floral note that almost makes the first part of the taste a little sour, but that is quickly replaced by a wave of coffee and chocolate. The finish is heavy on the rich dark chocolate, which is sweet, but not overly so. The sweetness is balanced by a smokey note, which turns more bitter as the finish lingers.

The only negative thing I have to say about Cabin Fever is the smokey note at the very tail end of the finish turns a nice and creamy dark chocolate ending into something that is just too overwhelming, and if you’re not sipping on this slow, it almost ruins your next taste.

Cabin Fever Brown Ale is a nice beer that has an unexpected hoppy start, which eventually leads into those classic Brown Ale flavors that are deep, rich, and sweet. There’s nothing overly impressive here, just a well-crafted and easy-drinking brew worth picking up this winter season.

New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale, 88 points. Price: $1.99 US for one twelve ounce bottle.

Have I mentioned I’m a sucker for messages under bottle caps? This one is quite appropriate.


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