9.35% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Dark brown with some red hues.
Aroma: Fruit and smoke; perhaps cherries and currant.
Taste: Smoky, with hints of wood and a fruit tartness.
Mouthfeel: Medium to strong bodied.

You never know what you’re going to get with a smoky beer. New Holland’s Charkoota Rye, though, is one of the more pleasant smoky beers I’ve had in a while — it’s surprisingly well balanced, between the smoke, wood and fruit tones, and is also relatively drinkable for the style.

CHICAGO — New Holland Brewing Company was awarded a bronze medal for its entry into the 2012 Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers. The brew, Charkoota Rye, took third in the Strong/Double/Imperial Dark Beer category, which had a total of 24 entries.

New Holland was the only Michigan brewery to be awarded at the event.

Charkoota Rye, a smoked rye doppelbock, is a malt-forward brew balanced with “tones of deep molasses and caramel,” according to the New Holland website.

The Festival of Wood and Barrel Aged Beers is put on annually by the Illinois Craft Brewer’s Guild, and was held at the Bridgeport Art Center Skyline Loft on Saturday. Goose Island Brewing Company (Chicago) and The Lost Abbey (San Marcos, Calif.) took home Best of Show honors.

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