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Beer #25 – January 25, 2010: Cabin Fever

January 26, 2010

Beer: Cabin Fever

Brewery: New Holland Brewing Company, Holland, MI

Style: Brown Ale

Serving Type: 12 oz bottle

Price: $9.99 / 6-pack

Availability: Winter Seasonal

Glassware: Shaker pint

Strength: 6.0% ABV (alcohol by volume)

Drinkability: More flavor and a little more substantial than a typical traditional brown ale, but still just as drinkable, if not more so!

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours a deep, dark coppery brown with a frothy tan head.

Aroma: Unexpected: raisin, cabernet, a hint of roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Lots of tiny bubbles give a moderately fully body.

Taste: Dark fruit flavors of cherry and plum, with a little taste of red wine (cabernet).  Some roasted notes start to come through the fruit, and a buttery flavor starts to come forward.  There is a bit of spice (that I believe is from the rye in this brew) and a woody, earthy hop finish that is somewhat dry, but not harsh or lingering.

Pairing: Short ribs, braised pork, beef stew… really, any hearty, saucy and flavorful meat dish that would be considered comfort food on a cold winter’s night.

Trivia: When you hear “Rye” you typically think of bread or whiskey.  However, rye has its place in beer history, and is making a comeback.  Roggenbiers are traditional German beers brewed with at least 50% rye malt, and while these rye beers almost disappeared after the Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law) forbade the use of grains other than barley, and did not reappear until the late 20th century, and even then are hard to find outside Barvaria.  The Finns also brewed their own version of a rye beer known as Sahti, using rye malt and juniper berries.  There is also a traditional Polish beer called Kvass, which is brewed using rye bread.  It is a very low alcohol beer (1% or less), and is enjoyed by both adults and children.  In the U.S., craft brewers are rediscovering the spicy, flavorful character of rye, used in relatively small amounts in beers such as Cabin Fever.

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