Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our Brewing Company

Holland, Michigan, has been home to one of the most successful and well known breweries in Michigan for years. As the third highest producing brewery in the state, New Holland Brewing is synonymous with the Michigan craft beer market. Dragon’s Milk and Mad Hatter are household names, even outside of Michigan. It would take a lot of moxie to open a brand new corner brewery just a block from New Holland’s downtown taproom...and moxie is exactly what Trevor Doublestein and his wife Lisa possess, as they recently opened Our Brewing Company to the public.

Residing in a small space in Holland’s beautiful downtown district on East 8th Street – literally 100 feet from New Holland’s taproom – Our Brewing Company provides a comfortable, rustic experience. Given Trevor’s background in contracting, he was able to turn a previously boring office space into a welcoming environment complete with finished hardwood floors, a painted tin ceiling, and plenty of exposed architecture which has become so popular of late. The barstools, which look like outdoor patio furniture but are sturdy, metal, and surprisingly comfortable, add to the casual atmosphere.



All of the brewing equipment resides downstairs; in addition to their primary brewing system, Our Brewing Company will occasionally ferment beer directly in the kegs! This practice allows them to test some experimental batches without disrupting the volume of their primary system. It is here where head brewer, Ed DeGalan, works his craft. Trained at Chicago's Siebel Institute and having gained experience at Finch's Beer Company (also in Chicago), DeGalan brings a philosophy of experimentation to Our Brewing Company. “I am interested in blurring the lines between beer styles, and introducing hybrid and otherwise unknown beers to the market,” he told us.

Chief among those new styles was the Paterbier. DeGalan has essentially created a session Belgian pale ale – something akin to what the monks would drink on a regular basis. This light, low alcohol (4.3%) beer had characteristics of fruity esters and a bready finish, not unlike a saison. For those of you who love Belgian style ales but are put off by the traditionally high alcohol content, I cannot recommend this beer highly enough.

Paterbier: 4.3% alcohol, 104.3% flavor.

We also got to try the Dry County Stout. This Irish stout was so dry, it had a spicy quality. Both Laura and I actually assumed this quality was derived from an addition of rye to the grainbill, but the brewer explained that the spiciness had been attained without any rye added. A surprising stout, delicious both cold and warm, and different than most dry stouts you may have tried.

Finally, we sampled the Andes Mint stout. I'll be frank; mint stouts are not my favorite genre. Mint stouts are typically labeled as sweet or milk stouts, and the tannin-like quality of mint (especially harsh mints, like peppermint) tend to overwhelm the overall balance of the beer. DeGalan's stout, however, was different. Brewed with a ridiculous amount of actual Andes mints added at the very end of the boil, this sweet stout did not have a harsh aftertaste, but rather possessed that sweet chocolate/mint combination one equates with a hotel stay. Or the end of a meal at Olive Garden, if that happens to be a positive memory for you.



What's great about Our Brewing Company isn't that it's competing with its neighbor, New Holland; it's that it complements New Holland. A corner bar serving beer created ten feet away with a small footprint and a cozy atmosphere can coexist here in conservative Holland and add to the landscape. The town flourishes with the two breweries, and the winners are fans of Michigan beer. Congratulations to Our Brewing Company as we raise your glass to our moustache!

Laura doesn't have a moustache.  Just...FYI.

More pictures available at our Facebook Page.

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