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ichabod

Holland, Mich. — It may not feel like it yet, but the crisp breezes, changing leaves and chilly nighttime bonfires of autumn are fast approaching. So signals the return of Ichabod, New Holland Brewing Company’s classic pumpkin beer, which is slated to appear in bars and restaurants starting August 13.

The beer will be tapped in New Holland’s Grand Rapids and Holland pubs startingSeptember 4.

IchabodIchabod is a pumpkin ale brewed with real pumpkin, malted barley, cinnamon and nutmeg. This marks the beer’s twenty-first year in New Holland’s lineup. In that time, it has become a heavily anticipated seasonal release.

“Ichabod was one of the first beers we ever brewed,” said Brett VanderKamp, Founder at New Holland Brewing Company. “It’s been an absolute favorite for us at the brewery, and our fans in Michigan and beyond, ever since.”

For the first time this year, consumers will be able to enjoy Ichabod in six packs of cans.

“We’re excited to have Ichabod come out in a can. This will be a perfect beer for sipping around the campfire and for tailgating,” Joel Petersen, Vice President of Sales at New Holland Brewing Company said.

Ichabod will be a limited release this year, making it available for a shorter period of time within the season. Petersen said this decision aims to make room for other fall flavors to shine and to allow Ichabod to be in the market during the peak of Fall.

“Fall, with all of its grandeur, offers many flavor profiles, including pumpkin, and we think people can and should explore,” Petersen said.

Many locations pouring New Holland’s Ichabod will also serve Filthy Pumpkin, a 60/40 combination of Ichabod and Dragon’s Milk that Petersen says is a mug club member favorite at New Holland’s pubs.

“When Ichabod comes out, it kicks off the anticipation for the amazing fall season we have here in the midwest,” Petersen said. “This is a beer that pairs well with sweatshirts, sunny days, cool nights and the smell of smoke from the fire pit.”

It’s no surprise well over half of the 52 breweries at Saturday’s Detroit Fall Beer Fest offered at least one fall-specific brew.

While some breweries stuck to typical nutmeg and cinnamon spices, others showcased a bit more creativity at the event, hosted at Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Jolly Pumpkin, out of Dexter, led the way with its pumpkin beer — La Parcela (6% ABV). Its first and only pumpkin beer, this sour ale was orange in color with a slight fruit smell and no head. I was expecting a bit more sour flavor, though its mild taste led way for the pumpkin spices — with some hints of citrus flavors. Overall this was a very good brew, and equally mixed the fall flavors we’ve all become used to with a bit of sourness that only Jolly Pumpkin can be known for.

Wolverine State Brewing Co. also performed strong, with its Oktoberfest (6.5% ABV). A modern twist on the classic we’ve all known to come and love, the Ann Arbor brewery featured a beer with much more spice flavor than most fall beers. I could definitely taste various spices with minor hops and a bit of a sour fruit smell. The brew had minimal head, and was surrounded by a dark orange color. Wolverine also showcased its Curcurbita Smiles Pumpkin Lager at the event.

Right Brain Brewery took a different approach, focusing on pumpkin pie rather than generic fall spices in its Punkin’ Pie Whole (5.5% ABV). A collaboration between Right Brain and the Grand Traverse Pie Company, I could definitely taste nutmeg in this brew — it smelled and tasted very much like pumpkin pie. The light orange brew featured a minor amount of hops and medium head.

Motor City Brewing Works also brought an Oktoberfest (5.2% ABV) to the festival. A brewery that’s becoming more and more known for its hard ciders, this brew was probably the most malty and hoppy fall beer I tried. The amber colored beer featured a well-balanced array of fall spices, and also had a minor fall scent.

But probably one of the brews I was most excited for was New Holland Brewing Company’s Barrel Aged Ichabod. Usually a well-balanced brew with lots of flavor at 5.2% ABV, the barrel aged version toned down on the spices and flavor, and almost seemed too watery. It was still very good, but the balance wasn’t there as I have become so accustomed to. The amber beer poured with little to no head. It was served very, very cold, which might have taken away from the overall enjoyment of it and ability to pull in all the flavors.

While the pumpkin brews weren’t the only beers showcased at the festival, they certainly played a big part. I also enjoyed a Bourbon Barrel Aged Plead the 5th (14% ABV), from Dark Horse Brewing Co., featuring a heavy bourbon flavor and slight oaky smell. The brew was very creamy, with both chocolate and leather-like flavors present. Very strong, it was more of a “sipping” beer, though it was probably one of the best I tried.

Likewise, Short’s Brewing Company also delivered The Bourbon Wizard (11% ABV), with similar overtones. The bourbon wasn’t quite as prevalent, and there were also minor hints of vanilla in the brew. Like most of the brews from Short’s, the brew didn’t disappoint.

The next Michigan Brewers Guild beer festival will take place Feb. 25 in Grand Rapids at Fifth-Third Ballpark. Tickets go on sale Dec. 1.


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