Holland, Mich. — New Holland Brewing Company will celebrate its 21st anniversary, as well as its beloved family of IPAs, with the annual Hatter Days party from Friday, June 8 through Sunday, June 10.

This year, the celebration will take place throughout the entire weekend inside the the brewery’s Pub on 8th and its back patio.

hatter days

Attendees can look forward to live music from local performers, activities for all ages and special food features. And of course, a selection of New Holland’s Hatter IPAs will be available on tap, including Mad Hatter, Berry Hatter and Black Hatter.

“The Mad Hatter is turning 21,” said New Holland Brewing Company General Manager Shawna Hood. “We’ll be toasting to that and celebrating the New Holland fans whose support makes this all possible.”

The festivities kick off with the annual golf outing on Friday, June 8 at Ravines Golf Club in Saugatuck, Michigan. Live music starts in the Pub on 8th’s back patio at 5pm with the Moonrays, and Nashon Holloway will take the stage inside the pub at 10pm. A silent disco—where people will dance together to music playing through individual wireless headphones—will also start at 10pm that evening.

Saturday starts with a bloody mary bar featuring New Holland’s own spirits at 11am and gives way to a day filled with live music acts. Catch the likes of Coty Bouchard, Delilah DeWylde, Rachel Curtis and Rusty’s Big Ass Band inside the pub or in the back patio. At midnight, there will be a toast honoring the Mad Hatter’s 21st birthday.

Sunday will offer a variety of family friendly activities, including a cookie decorating workshop with Rachel from OoKalooKa Cookies. There will also be a bloody mary bar and live performances from Vinylicious and Kelli Boes.

All ages are welcome to attend, and there will be no cover charge.


HOLLAND — Wonderland overtaken by the The Hatter?

Don’t fret, dear Alice, it’s all in the name of Michigan beer.

With several real-life depictions of the popular Alice in Wonderland character walking through its restaurant/pub and adjacent street block (College Avenue between 8th and 9th streets), New Holland Brewing Company celebrated 15 years of brewing Saturday with an ode to its anchor brew, Mad Hatter IPA.

“The event is really about our anniversary,” brewmaster and partner John Haggerty said. “Mad Hatter really being our flagship beer, it made sense (to call the event Hatter Day).”

Bringing the annual event into the street was a milestone for organizers, and allowed local chefs to offer various cookout items to folks. New Holland, Vander Mill, Salt & Pepper and Brewery Vivant kitchens were all represented.

“For now, this is the biggest event we’ve done,” Haggerty said. “It’s also big for the city of Holland.”

Hatter Day 2012 featured a variety of Hatter-esque IPAs, including the debut of White Hatter (a spiced-up Hatter) and several variations on the Hatter theme. They included: Mad Hatter, Imperial Hatter, Farmhouse Hatter, Black Hatter, Oak Aged Hatter, Rye Hatter and Full Circle (the last not so much part of the theme, but hard not to include at a New Holland anniversary party).

New Holland has never been afraid to try something new, Haggerty said. However, their biggest goal is balance — both in beer styles and within the beers themselves.

“When we think about making beer, we think about the notion of balance,” Haggerty said. “Really what we are saying is everything has to meld together in the flavors, alcohol content…What’s the appropriate amount? We try to shoot for that balance.”

That was the original concept behind Full Circle, which has become one of New Holland’s most-celebrated beers. As Haggerty says, when people first start brewing beer, they have the adage: “The more hops the better.”

“Then you kind of diversify to all these styles. Ingredients work together in harmony. Full Circle is kind of our version of Budweiser. Point is everything has its place and time. The point of being a beer connoisseur is to recognize this.”

Hatter Day 2012 was capped with music by national headlines The Dynamites featuring Charles Walker. Of course, the annual cake cutting took place inside the pub promptly at 10:06 p.m. — appropriately timed for the “In this style 10/6” depicted on the card on Hatter’s hat.

“For us we like to do things differently and be outside the box,” said Dave White, general manager and partner. “We live to push the envelope.”

7.2% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Gold amber with a small white head.
Aroma: A bit of a fruity smell.
Taste: Some fruit and malt are present, but otherwise very balanced. Some wood taste as well.
Mouthfeel: Very smooth, medium bodied with a moderate amount of hops.

New Holland’s Oak Aged Hatter is a perfect example of an easy-drinking IPA that is anything but bitter. The hops provide a bit of zing in the aftertaste, but otherwise their presence is covered up by the balanced taste of fruit and malt. There’s a bit of a wood taste to the brew as well, which makes it a bit earthy. All in all this is a smooth, well-balanced IPA that I’d be happy to drink again.

5.5% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: A hazy orangish-gold with a white head that quickly shrinks to a lingering wisp.
Aroma: A medley of floral and citrusy hops and spicy coriander.
Taste: Fruity and spicy, lots of coriander that melds into a refreshing bitter hop finish.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and carbonated with a smooth creaminess.

The newest addition to New Holland’s Hatter series of beers, White Hatter, is billed as a cross between a Belgian witbier and an IPA. Its witbier heritage contributes a strong note of coriander spiciness, slightly fruity yeast characteristics, and a lighter body, while it inherits from its IPA parentage a nice hoppy bitterness, all balanced with a generous wheat, oat and barley grain bill. And at a reasonably low ABV, you don’t have to share: Drink that whole 22 oz. bottle yourself!

5.3% ABV, Bottle

Appearance: Slightly hazy amber-copper color, medium carbonation with good head retention.
Aroma: A medley of floral, pine and citrus hop notes over toasted malt.
Taste: Balance of toasty and sweet malt flavors with a smooth, lingering grassy, resiny and grapefruity bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied; slightly slick and creamy.

Along with Bell’s Two Hearted, Mad Hatter is one of the beers that really turned me on to IPAs. It’s well balanced, beginning with a taste of caramel sweetness followed by slightly toasted grain notes and finishing with an earthy cocktail of bitter hop flavors including pine, grass, grapefruit and sometimes a wee touch of metallic. At under 6% ABV and medium bodied, Mad Hatter is highly drinkable as well as deliciously flavorful.

HOLLAND – New Holland Brewing Company has come to known some pretty diverse and interesting beers over the years, offering everything from a Golden Cap seasonal ale to the ever-popular Dragon’s Milk. But on Saturday, New Holland played a different tune. In celebration of its Mad Hatter India Pale Ale, New Holland released four new “hatters” to the public during its 14th annual Mad Hatter Birthday Bash.

The event featured nine “hatters” in all, and we were able to try out five of them. Each offered a particular spin on the traditional Mad Hatter, introducing some new flavors and giving familiar flavors a different spin on things.

Centered around a decked-out “Alice in Wonderland” themed brewery, we tried the Black Hatter, Smoked Hatter, Farmhouse Hatter, Sour Hatter and Oak Aged Hatter. And despite the obvious IPA undertones, all five of the beers seemed to bring something different to the table.

The Black Hatter (5.5% ABV) retained the somewhat bitter aftertaste I’ve come to expect from an IPA. Its dark color, though, was refreshing and a great way to start off the night. And like the Black Hatter, the Farmhouse Hatter (5% ABV) still had a hint of bitterness with an underlying IPA taste.

But that’s when the similarities seemed to stop.

The Oak Aged Mad Hatter (7.2% ABV) had no bitter taste to it at all — in fact, it was smooth, refreshing and held a slight caramel aftertaste. It’s woodsy-like flavor was accompanied by a somewhat fruity flavor and golden color. This was definitely the most rustic of the night.

And like the Oak Aged, the Smoked Hatter (5.2% ABV) was equally interesting. Being a newbie to smoked brews, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of flavor the beer let out. It wasn’t overpowering or bitter, and had a nice, relaxed flavor to it.

By far, though, the favorite of the night had to be the Sour Hatter (8.5% ABV). It was the only beer that was served to us in a flute glass (the rest were in standard pints), and was very refreshing and smooth. It’s dark brown color gave way to its slight cider taste and somewhat fruity smell. It was crisp on the tongue, but smooth thereafter. My immediate thought was that it reminded me of those sour candies I used to eat as a kid — but much more refined. It was a great cap to the night.

In addition to the five we tried, New Holland also served up its regular Mad Hatter, Imperial Hatter, Oak Aged Imperial Hatter and Rye Hatter. Surrounded by servers who were decked out in “Alice in Wonderland” costumes, everything seemed to fit together for the event — including the absolutely mad birthday cake.