new hollandHolland, Mich. — New Holland Brewing will release a new addition to theirDragon’s Milk Reserve program in April. This time, brewers tried a classic flavor pairing on Dragon’s Milk’s bourbon barrel stout canvas: Cherry Chocolate.

The beer will be available in New Holland pubs starting April 13. It will hit store shelves and across their bar and restaurant distribution footprint on April 16. Consumers can look forward to a rich stout that balances creamy chocolate flavors with a delightful cherry tartness.

“Chocolate is a flavor that is already present in Dragon’s Milk when it comes out of the barrel, but we’re able to play that up and really bring out the wonderful chocolate smoothness. Obviously, that just couples extremely well with the cherry flavor,” said New Holland Vice President of Sales Joel Petersen. “That combination plays nicely against the backbone of this beer.”

For most breweries, a bourbon barrel stout clocking in at 11 percent ABV is a limited release. New Holland Brewing works hard to make Dragon’s Milk available year round. The Reserve series is a chance for brewers and consumers alike to see the favorite beer in a new light.

“I think Dragon’s Milk speaks for itself. It’s a strong beer that our customers love on its own,” said Petersen. “The Dragon’s Milk Reserve program gives us the platform to build on that strong base and create a variety of exciting new flavor experiences.”

“The Reserve series allows our brewers to express their creativity,” said New Holland Brewing President Brett VanderKamp. “We continue to be amazed at the ways Dragon’s Milk can play with different flavors.”

New Holland Brewing welcomes those interested in learning more about Dragon’s Milk or the process to attend a tour where Dragon’s Milk is being brewed and cellared.

new holland

Holland, Mich — Holland, Michigan-based craft brewery and distiller, New Holland Brewing, announces plans to distribute their beer to the entire state of Florida through a network of wholesalers beginning in October 2017. This new territory is part of the brewery’s growing 35-state distribution network. Beer will be available in Florida at restaurants, pubs and retail locations.

“The state of Florida represents an untapped opportunity for New Holland beers and our flagship Dragon’s Milk. I personally can’t wait to add to the vibrant and growing craft scene with the best-selling craft stout in America,” says New Holland President and Founder, Brett VanderKamp. “We’re looking forward to getting out there, meeting the people, and bringing some wonderful flavors from the Midwest to the great state of Florida. It’s an incredible time to be a beer drinker and we look forward to bringing beers that continue to push the envelope and achieve the highest quality.”

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New Holland is partnering across all of Florida with a network of wholesalers who will be managed by Pabst Brewing Company (PBC). PBC’s sales force will sell all of New Holland’s beers to wholesalers in Florida as part of PBC’s high-end portfolio. New Holland, now in its 20th year, remains 100% independent and continues to manage all other business functions for its beers, including production, marketing, and finance.

“Florida has been on our mind for a long time.” says Joel Petersen, New Holland VP of Marketing. “We’ve had many, many contacts with fans of our beers who have asked us to bring our product to Florida. We are thrilled to finally launch in the state and contribute to the exciting craft scene. There are also many Midwesterners who will be able to enjoy our product when they flee the winter weather and travel to Florida. Dragon’s Milk is such a unique brand and we can’t wait to fill the glasses of current and new fans alike.”

New Holland will launch with distribution of their flagship Dragon’s Milk, a year-round Bourbon Barrel Stout, and build in products around Dragon’s Milk in the coming months.

“We at J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida, Inc. have long recognized New Holland Brewing as one of the notable iconic craft brewers in the Midwest. Their Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout was for many, the first introduction to the majesty of Bourbon Barrel Aged Stouts. It’s a great day for us to now have the opportunity to represent a brewery that we have long admired and respected.” Matt Abdoney, Senior Craft Brand & Marketing Manager.

New Holland will be announcing launch events and activities as they are solidified and plans to have key personnel working the market over the next few months to drive launch excitement.


New Holland Brewing Co. announces the second Dragon’s Milk Reserve of 2017: Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mexican Spice Cake. This limited release variant of New Holland’s year-round, Bourbon Barrel Stout, hits shelves and taps beginning April 1, where New Holland is sold. This reserve blend is aged in bourbon barrels for three months, with toasted chiles, cocoa nibs, vanilla, and cinnamon added during aging.

dragons milk“We first brewed this variation for Michigan Brewers’ Guild Winter Beer Fest (WBF) in February of 2016,” says Brett VanderKamp, president of New Holland. “And it’s been a fan favorite ever since. People couldn’t get enough at that beer fest, at the handful of small events across the country in which we tested it, and again at this year’s WBF. It was time for this variant to own the spotlight.”

New Holland’s locations, Pub on 8th in Holland and The Knickerbocker in Grand Rapids, will host official release parties for Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mexican Spice on Saturday, April 1. The beer will be on tap, available in special Dragon’s Milk flights, and available for purchase by the 4pack and case in the retail spaces. Doors open at 11am and the first 20 people in line will get a Dragon’s Milk swag bag.

“This variant is so simple,” says VP of Beer Marketing, Joel Petersen. “The chocolate character in Dragon’s Milk is enhanced by the soft chili heat and mellowed out by the flavors of vanilla and cinnamon. It’s simply delicious and continues to show how well Dragon’s Milk can play with new flavors.”

The third Dragon’s Milk Reserve variant is scheduled to release in July.

All Dragon’s Milk reserves will be released in limited quantities across the areas in which New Holland distributes. To find Dragon’s Milk Reserve Mexican Spice Cake in your area, use our Beer & Spirits Finder or ask your local retailer.

First released in 2001, Dragon’s Milk was one of the early bourbon barrel-aged stouts in the US. The barrel-aging scene has since exploded. Once a single-batch annual release, Dragon’s Milk has become New Holland’s largest selling year-round beer, gaining accolades and recognition internationally, including a silver medal in the Brussels Beer Challenge. In 2015, New Holland renovated its production facility to expand its Dragon’s Milk cellar where more than 3,500 oak barrels can reside at one time.


New Holland Brewing, set to celebrate their 20th anniversary, announces today its 2017 brewing calendar and new additions to its year-round lineup. 2017 will focus on expanding distribution of New Holland Brewing’s core beer lineup including Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, Mad Hatter Midwest IPA, The Poet Oatmeal Stout, and Hoptronix Double IPA, while bringing fresh, new core items to market and continuing to build on an already strong Dragon’s Milk Reserve program.

“As we sneak up on 20 years in the craft brewing business, it’s hard not to sit back and reflect for a minute or two. It’s a worthwhile endeavor to look back at where you started, what you learned and who joined you on the adventure,” said Brett VanderKamp, Co-founder and President. “That includes reflecting on our beers too, we’re looking closely at the brands where we want to accomplish more vs. where we want to try something new.”

The New Holland Brewing lineup is focused on five categories, listed here with notable highlights:

  • Core:
    • Here, you will find the addition of Hoptronix Double IPA and Lost Dune Golden Ale. Released in 2016 as a Summer Seasonal, Lost Dune struck a cord with consumers thanks to its subtle blueberry and coriander flavors that reflect the beauty of Michigan’s gorgeous Left Coast.
  • Seasonal
    • Tasmanian Hatter, a galaxy-hopped IPA and recent member of the Hatter Family of beers will distribute as a Summer Seasonal with placements from May – July. New Holland will also introduce a 5th Seasonal, a Belgian Dubbel out Oct – Nov, set to feature cranberry notes.
  • Dragon’s Milk Reserves
    • Released quarterly, four Dragon’s Milk Reserves will follow the footsteps of 2016 releases. These variants pair the flavors and complexity of Dragon’s Milk with complementary, new flavor combinations or barrel-aging techniques. New Holland’s first quarter Reserve, releasing in January, will be Dragon’s Milk Reserve: Triple Mash, known for it’s intense flavor and ABV.
  • Sour
    • The sour lineup kicks off in January with our classic sour ale, Blue Sunday. This year’s iteration of Incorrigible Reserve will feature Mango & Pineapple.
  • Limited
    • A new limited beer, a honey porter in style, will be presented in September.

“On the whole, we are looking to 2017 as a renewed commitment to fresh, innovative ideas, while using our twenty years of experience to make smart decisions and brew killer beers,” VanderKamp continued. “Two decades of beer is pretty special and we’re excited for our offerings, both new and old.”

new holland

New Holland Brewing

Holland, MI — A tricked out beer trailer? An eight foot tall metal dragon that will be looming over you as you sip deliciousness? A crazy ambitious series from New Holland that provides 16 variations of Dragon’s Milk? Um, yes. Count me in New Holland Brewing. Your presence at the 11th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Winter Beer Festival is worth squealing with excitement about.

It’s no secret that Dragon’s Milk, a bourbon barrel aged stout, has stolen the hearts of many, and for good reason! It’s a solid, damn good product. So, how can New Holland Brewing up their game with the beer? By making it an “Unlimited Release” of course. The company has announced that, “We are all in on Dragon’s Milk this year and truly view it as an “Unlimited Release”. We strive to make it “unlimited” by being available year round (no easy feat), everywhere (working towards contiguous US), available to everyone (not just the “geeks”) and now with unlimited variants and flavor possibilities.”

New Holland BrewingBefore I go any further, let’s check out what exactly the selection from New Holland Brewing will be at Winter Beer Fest 2016…

Dragon’s Milk
Dragon’s Milk Coconut Rum Barrel
Dragon’s Milk Mexican Spice Cake
Dragon’s Milk Peanut Butter
Dragon’s Milk Mint Chocolate
Dragon’s Milk Maple Coffee
Dragon’s Milk Brandy Barrel Apple Pie
Dragon’s Milk Bacon
Dragon’s Milk Chocolate & Orange
Dragon’s Milk Sarsaparilla
Dragon’s Milk Black Cherry
Dragon’s Milk Hazelnut
Dragon’s Milk Vanilla Chai
2015 Dragon’s Milk Reserve Triple Mash
2014 Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Raspberries
2015 Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Toasted Chilies

I know I know. A pretty robust list, right? After taking a peek I had a few questions for Fred Bueltmann,  Vice President of Brand and Lifestyle and Partner of New Holland, and Joel Petersen, Vice President of Marketing of New Holland Brewing about these new brews.

AS: It appears that the Dragon’s Milk variants have several options that mesh together beer (of course) with other beverage types (root beer, apple pie brandy, etc). Have you found that creating these new flavor relationships resulted from organic curiosity in production or have you found that listening to and observing the consumer trends (Not Your Father’s Root Beer comes to mind immediately) inspired these variants? Or possibly both?

FB & JP: In this particular case, they were dreamed up by our team of brewers in a very explorative, freestyle manner. Creating variants for the festival, removes some of the common barriers that come with our normal obligation to volume, and commitment to recreate flavors consistently. In this instance, they were charged with creating fun, one-off flavors in small, festival-sized batches, that may never exist again.

AS: Which ingredient(s) in the group of Dragon’s Milk variants was the most difficult to brew with? Anything that gummed up or got stuck in the mash tun or proved to be too powerful of a flavor in too little quantities? Essentially, which variant provided the most challenging brewing experience?

FB & JP: Bacon and peanut butter are currently the big question marks in terms of methodology, as well as cleanup.

AS: Acquiring barrels is never easy nowadays. How do you stay ahead of the pack in terms of collecting barrels for flavor and aging, especially less common ones in the beer scene such as rum and brandy barrels?

FB & JP: We have been barrel-aging beer since 2001, so we have learned a lot and developed many relationships. We have a great relationship with our cooper, who also serves as a bourbon-barrel broker, and we project our needs well ahead of time.  Our barrel cellar also produces a large amount of second-use barrels, so the relationship is reciprocal at times.  Our barrel sourcing efforts are as important and serious to us as our grain and hops.  

AS: Speaking of rum and brandy, could you give us an idea of the flavor differences you noticed between using rum or using the brandy barrels for the Dragon’s Milk?

FB & JP: This is the first brandy barrel we’ve used for Dragon’s Milk, so time will tell.  Rum is made from molasses and cane sugar, and typically expresses the darker flavors of it’s distillate and sugars.  Caramel, molasses and toffee are common to the flavor profile, which is a delicious connection to the dark and roasty malts, as well as the vanilla component found in Dragon’s Milk.  We expect the barrel that held brandy, which is fruit-based distillate, to have more fruit-like sweetness and play a bit brighter, accenting more of the toasty notes from the oak.

AS: What was the method used for including the bacon characteristics in the beer? Allowing full pieces of cooked bacon to hang out in the fermentation tanks? Were they included during boiling? Or was it some sort of steeping method towards the end? I bet the facilities smelled amazing that day…

FB & JP: We are conditioning the beer with bacon, post-brew and post-barrel.  Finished Dragon’s Milk will be transferred to a tank where crispy cooked bacon will be added. This allows us to manage the ingredients well and gauge conditioning time. Bacon brings lots of flavor as well as mouthfeel, so this should be velvety smooth, with tremendous porcine flavors.

AS: What advice would you give enthusiasts out there who are looking to pair these new variants with food? There are numerous pairing options, but perhaps some stood out in particular during your trial period?

FB & JP: Our advice is always to Stop & Taste.  Trust your intuition and think about what flavor you’re picking up, more than any given technique.  Also, since these are Winter Beer Festival only, we suggest, they should be paired with giant turkey legs and whatever chocolate you can get your hands on while enjoying the fest.

AS: You’ve created a purpose-driven program for the Dragon’s Milk series. Allowing the beer to be available year round in all your distribution networks and launching the “Unlimited Release” idea is incredibly difficult and I think will be received very well by your fans. What is the most challenging aspect of this idea? Do you think it’ll push other breweries to attempt this line of thinking with their rare or specialty items?

FB & JP: Our decision to go year round several years ago has definitely changed the face and footprint of the brewery. The need for dedicated blending tanks, refrigerated barrel storage, re-orienting how our barrels are stored, projecting the cash flow for all of those barrels to hang out for three months and having a robust quality control program to make shelf-stable barrel-aged beer, are all challenges that have been discovered and met at one point or another. Who knows whether other breweries will follow suit, but you have to look at it two different ways. Making rare or specialty items more widely available is one thing, and it should be in concert with demand.  Dragon’s Milk has grown in response to our customers demonstrating that they want more and will buy more. The second point is that taking barrel aged beers to market has significant technical challenges to assure that the bottles will be shelf stable and will age gracefully. Once beer is in contact with wood, it has met potential souring and/or staling agents, and we go to great pains to protect our barrel aged beer from preventable negative consequences to that exposure. Both of these points should be considered before breweries expand specialty lines, and are challenges that may keep some rare or specialty beer closer to home and in more limited contexts and volume. 


Photography: Steph Harding



HOLdragon's milkLAND, MI–New Holland Brewing Co. has taken its year-­round, bourbon barrel stout and infused it with flavors of Vanilla Chai for its first 2016 reserve batch.

This reserve blend is aged in bourbon barrels for three months, with the nuanced flavor of Vanilla Chai for a portion of that time.

“This reserve batch of Dragon’s Milk scored great marks when we quietly pub­ tested it this Fall,” says Brett VanderKamp, president of New Holland.

“The rich vanilla and chocolate notes of Dragon’s Milk with the layered flavor of Vanilla Chai – it’s so unique and so complementary.”
This reserve release kicks off a new release schedule for Dragon’s Milk Reserves. New Holland will release four variations quarterly in 2016, as opposed to all at once as was done in 2015.

As 2015 releases sold out in record time, the move to quarterly releases allows for more of each reserve to be brewed and offered.

The second quarter release will be Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Coffee and Chocolate. A crowd favorite from the 2015 release, this reserve will be back in larger quantities for those who didn’t get their fill.

More information on future reserve releases will be provided as 2016 unfolds. All reserves will be released through all locations in which New Holland distributes.

“These small runs of Dragon’s Milk are both to satisfy the creativity of our brewers, but also the palates of our fans” said VanderKamp.

Keep an eye out for special Dragon’s Milk surprises upcoming at the Michigan Brewer’s Guild Winter Beer Fest and other festivals throughout the year.


Masen James Bakery is taking craft beer to another level by baking it right into their brownies, cupcakes, and fudge… oh my!

Inspired by a longtime passion for baking, owner Clarice Dennison was encouraged by her daughter Sydney Dennison to open up Masen James Bakery storefront after a chance encounter with Goose Island Brewery during their Bourbon County release in 2014. Conversations sparked and friendships were molded. This year, Masen James was given 2 cases of 2014 and 2015 Bourbon County to bake 1,000 craft beer brownies for Goose Island’s Black Friday release. Yes — wipe the drool off of your mouth and keep reading, it gets better.

2015 has been a whirlwind of creative goodness for Clarice and Sydney. They teamed up to bake sweet and savory treats for events at the Downtown Outdoor Market on Ionia over the spring and summer, while working on opening a storefront on Monroe Center during ArtPrize. The main focus? Infusing craft beer into many of Clarice’s concoctions while enhancing the unique flavors in the beer.



Mason James Bakery doesn’t like things to get stale. Their seasonal menu changes on a daily basis to maintain freshness and keep up with demand. Their craft beer brownies are baked in a special pan so they are all corner pieces, making each brownie crisp and chewy on the outside and oh so moist and gooey on the inside — they nearly melt on your tongue.

I was treated to a brownie baked with New Holland Dragon’s Milk Reserve with Toasted Chilies, topped with a chili powder sugar. Holy wow!!! These brownies practically punched me in the face with flavor. First, you taste the rich chocolate brownies are known for, then your eyes light up as you savor the slight hint of heat from the chilies. YUM!

Next I enjoyed a Saugatuck Brewing Co Neapolitan Milk Stout brownie topped with a chocolate ganache and sprinkled with a crushed dried strawberry topping. The familiar trifecta of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate flavor of the Neapolitan Milk Stout poured out into the brownie, the crushed strawberry topping made for a beautiful finish. Delicious!

Clarice has had a passion for the culinary arts since she was a little girl, but didn’t go to culinary school and instead ended up working for Spectrum Health. After she started making craft beer brownies, Sydney told her “Mom, you have a gift; you need to share that gift. I am not the only one who is saying that, friends and strangers are telling you this. Teach me how to bake and we will do this together. I will help you put your product out there.” Sydney continues. “After being turned down a few times, I brought some of her products to the Downtown Outdoor Market, we got our foot in the door in the spring of 2014, and we built up clientele. This is my mom’s dream, but I am so happy I can help her fulfill it.”

Masen James Bakery also offers a wide variety of artisanal sweet and savory scones, cupcakes, cookies, macarons, fudge, bread, and more.

Taste Masen James Bakery’s goodies for yourself at 40 Monroe Center NW in downtown Grand Rapids. If you’re out and about this weekend, swing by the Pyramid Scheme Bake Sale and Craft Show on Sunday, December 20 from 12:00pm – 4:00pm where they will donate all proceeds to Well House.

HOLLAND — Sensible. Balanced. Artistic. Encouraging. Adventurous. Innovative.

All great personality traits. These qualities, too, are ways of describing one of Michigan’s pioneer breweries. But the personality of the state’s third highest producing brewery — New Holland Brewing Co. — cannot be summed up in just these words.

“We see our brand in a few different ways,” said Fred Bueltmann, one of three New Holland managing owners. “One is we are adventurous and innovative, so our customers do expect to see new things from us. But that’s paired with a real balance and sensibility.”

New Holland’s balance includes not just the brews themselves, but the entire portfolio of beers as a whole. This requires a large commitment from the brewery, but it is part of an effort to bring both connoisseurs and newcomers to the craft beer table.

“We see ourselves as a good host,” Bueltmann said. “We can lose people by being too intense and not managing the invite. It’s a responsibility that all craft producers have.”

New Holland’s portfolio is certainly broad, consisting of seven year-round brews, three seasonals and more than a dozen limited releases each year. Within these three main categories, the brewery is noted for its high-gravity, wood-aged brews and a growing number of sours.

“We like having range. We like having choice,” Bueltmann said. “We’re committed to keeping that.”

Distributed in 15 states, the brewery’s most-recognized beer is bourbon barrel stout Dragon’s Milk. A close second is Mad Hatter IPA, with several variations released annually as a seasonal and five limited releases coming this month.

“We’re not afraid of stretching our creativity in the least bit,” said co-founder Brett VanderKamp. “We’ll try anything.”

The story of New Holland is the archetype for most breweries in the ever-growing craft microbrew industry. It started with two college buddies who loved beer and got into homebrewing in college — VanderKamp, current company president, and Jason Spaulding, now owner of Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids — as they began to see perhaps this passion could translate into business.

After moving to Boulder, Colo. in 1995, the two friends saw the success of New Belgium, a high-producing microbrewery in Fort Collins, Colo. — now one of the premiere craft brewers in the nation.

“It was one of those kind of aha moments of, ‘Wow, you can really make a business out of beer,’” VanderKamp said.

And two years later, VanderKamp and Spaulding began brewing in Holland Township, growing the business gradually, including an eventual move of the brewpub into the heart of the city’s downtown on 8th Street, and, in 2006, completing a production facility in a Holland Township industrial park.

According to VanderKamp, the move downtown was necessary and “it really drew people in.” In part, he did it because he thought the New Holland brand needed greater visibility.

“The early days there was a lot of ‘what is this?’ type thing,” he said. “Now we are very much accepted and really we’re promoted and always highlighted when people come into town.”

“We’ve really become an anchor for Holland. We’ve certainly gotten more integrated with the fabric of the community over the years.”

Situated at 66 East 8th Street, the brewpub invites patrons into the New Holland experience with freshly tapped brews coupled with artisanal, causal pub grub inside a restaurant with plenty of seating, one side featuring a large main bar. Live music and various events are highlights throughout the year with its beer garden as a great setting for the warmer months. Most of all, the pub is a place of connection.

“For us, and for our customers, the craft consumer tends to really value connection,” Bueltmann said. “They want to know where it came from and who produced various products.”

And connecting with customers is just as important to New Holland’s management team.

“Our pub is a great opportunity to get the feel of our customers one-on-one — whether we’re actually talking to individual people or getting general feedback,” Bueltmann said. “Our customers just get closer and more connected to what New Holland is — we really value that opportunity.”

In addition, pub customers have a chance to try specialty beers either not readily available on store shelves or not available outside the pub at all.

Another highlight of the New Holland experience is the pioneering nature of the company and its owners. Both Bueltmann and VanderKamp have penned books on beer — Bueltmann as series of essays on food and drink and VanderKamp with a bathroom-style read with anecdotal insights.

The brewery’s wood-aging dedication is also one-of-a-kind with a sizeable refrigerated area of its brewing facility dedicated to Dragon’s Milk and other wood-aged brews. Its sour program is ever-expanding as well. The company was also an early leader in using local ingredients, including Michigan hops (a growing industry of its own).

But the company is not just limited to beer. New Holland is a pioneer in craft spirits with five varieties year-round, four limited releases this year and another four released as part of is Brewers’ Series. The mainstays are crafty spins on traditional liquors — bourbon, gin, whiskey and rum — along with its just released Clockwork Orange liqueur.

“I see us out in front,” VanderrKamp said. “We maybe have a little bit of attention issues in having such a broad scope of vision, but that’s what keeps us energized, and I see us as leaders.”

Ultimately, Bueltmann and VanderKamp see New Holland as more than just one successful brewery in the Great Beer State. For them, it is about a community of brewers and, aside from just alcohol, a whole craft industry of food and drinks.

“We’re very much tied to being part of a movement that is much larger than our individual products,” Bueltmann said, calling it a “food movement” with “connectivity aligning those who appreciate connection, sourcing, craftsmanship and art form.”

VanderKamp agrees.

“We’re about moving the conversation forward,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we have all the answers at all. There is a collection of people asking for more. The market will react if we all start making those small decisions.”

Throughout the month of June, New Holland is offering $1 off mainstay and seasonal brews when readers mention this article to their server upon ordering.

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