New Holland Brewing Rye Hatter

I love concept beers, especially when they come in a series. Think Dogfish Head’s Ancient Ales or Mikkeller’s single-hop IPAs, a personal favorite. That’s why I was excited to see, for the first time, New Holland’s Hatter Family series at my local beer store. I had never seen them before, but loved the idea of a line of different IPAs. My store was carrying Farmhouse Hatter (farmhouse IPA), Black Hatter (black IPA) and Rye Hatter (rye IPA). I chose the rye version – as it seemed perfect for the hot spell we were getting in North Carolina. It’s got an 85 on Beer Advocate.

Aside from using rye and barley malt, I couldn’t easily find specifics about the ingredients to this beer. It’s dry hopped, so that at least gives it a lot of great pine and citrus hop smell. It got me very excited for what was in store, which in the end kind of let me down.

While the nose of the beer was wonderful, the flavor just tasted like a dry hopped pale ale – kind of a bland, nonoffensive overall taste that the smell of the beer easily outshines. It’s dry as hell, which left some tartness on my tongue and was kind of a buzzkill as the beer went down. There was definite bitterness, but no pleasant bite to the beer. At just over 6 percent ABV and with no standout hop flavor, that makes sense. Really, it just left me longing for a killer American double IPA that would kick my ass.

At first I thought all this made the beer refreshing given the time of year and what kind of IPA you’d want in the summer, but then I was just disappointed. The beer has the bitterness of an IPA without overall body of flavor and a killer smell. Very weird. Silver lining: the label is really cool. So, there’s that.

Hit the jump for my “Rate That Beer” sheet.

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