Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mad Hatter Birthday Bash


It doesn't take much for New Holland Brewing Company to find an excuse to throw a party, and believe it or not, Seth and I are okay with that. The IPA that has been a flagship for the brewery since it opened celebrated its birthday in style last night with an Alice in Wonderland-themed bash at their pub in downtown Holland.  Outfitted from head-to-toe in Wonderland attire, the staff at New Holland welcomed its guests to celebrate the “Mad Hatter” IPA and sample some special, single-batch variations of the well-known beer, such as Black Hatter (brewed with dark malts), Rye Hatter (with Rye), Farmhouse Hatter (Belgian-style IPA), and even an Oak Aged Hatter (with smoked malts).

Our first beers, the Farmhouse Hatter

The festivities began at 5:00pm with a "Beer and Cheese Smackdown" between Little John (a brewer at New Holland and last year's champion) and Mike Baptista (manager at Zingerman's creamery in Ann Arbor).  This popular event challenged the contestants to pair six different cheeses with a beer of his choice, and then voters decided which pairing they liked best.  Little John obviously hasn't lost his touch, as he managed to keep his title as Beer and Cheese Smackdown Champion.

Immediately following the beer and cheese event was a Mixology Class led by Spirits Ambassador Rich Blair, featuring classic summer cocktail recipes using fresh local ingredients. An enormous, whimsical cake was on display all day in the decked out pub, before the cutting which aptly occurred at 10:06pm.  Illustrator Kyle Bice from the Chicago area was on hand to sign commemorative prints of the labels he designed for this year's four limited edition Hatter beers.  The Bike n’ Bar was available for rides around the block, there was a photo booth with plenty of props, along with complimentary tea party snacks and raffle prizes throughout the evening, and music provided by DJ Snax a little later in the evening. 

The Bike-n-Bar

Another staff member in a great costume!

The Elvis tap on the back patio where brats, beans, and sautéed onions were all made with beer!

The cake

Illustrator Kyle Bice (center)
Drinks made with Hatter Royale Hopquila were also very popular with people not desiring a beer at this Hatter Day event.  In fact, Hatter Royale was created as an experiment for a Hatter Day party a few years back.  It is distilled from a barley-wash (unhopped beer), making its origins quite similar to un-oaked whiskey. It is then steeped on hops, before being filtered and bottled.  Its dry-hopped character emulates tequila-like characteristics, with refreshing citrus notes.

The Mad Hatter Birthday Bash is an annual event that is definitely not to be missed, but if you couldn't make it out to Holland last night, they're hosting a similar party tonight at Cliff Bell's in Detroit starting at 4pm that will surely be a great time.

Our photo strip from the photo booth
Our signed posters from Kyle Bice

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