So, you take a wonderful beer like Dragon's Milk and add roasted chili peppers to it. I don't know what beer drinkers did to deserve this, but we should all send a thank you card to New Holland Brewing.
Dragon's Milk was introduced to me by my Brother in Law. He is actually a contributor on this site. It has been many years since that wonderful day and I still love him for it. Dragon's Milk is on my beer "short list," and I am spoiled that I have it in my beer fidge on a pretty regular basis. But I have never been exposed to their reserve line and this pepper infused beer is simply awesome.
Take a trip with me on this analogy... Many years ago I played guitar. I took lessons, played in a band, etc. I was decent at it. Then as fate would have it, I listened to 2 albums back to back. One was a live album by Al Di Meola and the other was Dokken's Back for the Attack. That is the album with Mr. Scary on it. I stopped playing guitar shortly after that day because I realized I could never be near as good as those two guitarists.
Now wind the clock forward. I brew beer and have become decent at it. This Dragon's Milk reserve almost makes me want to stop brewing because I don't know that if I practiced for years and brewed a thousand batches, I would ever come up with something this good. It is a masterpiece. But, unlike playing guitar, brewing is a science that can be learned and I will be looking for a clone recipe and see if I have the ability...and money, to attempt brewing it.
The beer is nearly black with a khaki head. Boubon-ish aromas nestle in the nose along with some raisin or plum. it is thick and malty with flavors of cherry (light), plum, and raisin. The bourbon flavor is pronounced but balanced with the thick malt depth. The roasted chili comes in early and late. The fruitiness of the pepper is immediately present (and yes a chili is a fruit) but the heat of the pepper comes in late. The heat is warming and mild but noticeable.
Those of you who have had Dragon's Milk either adore it or can't palate it. But any beer drinker respects it. It is a beer for a mature taste. It's thick aged bourbon tenderness is sweet and pronounced. Here they have taken that idea and by adding roasted chilis they have added a valuable element to an already densely flavored brew. The peppers strip a tiny bit of the bourbon flavor away but the trade off is well worth it. It is an extremely successful attempt at adding not only a subtle heat to the beer but also a nice pepper flavor and fruitiness. This beer is something every brewer, professional or not, dreams of creating. Good luck.
If this beer were a movie it would be Shawshank Redemption, Casablanca, Blade Runner, or The Good Bad and Ugly. If it was a T.V. show it would be Breaking Bad, Firefly, Seinfeld, or Battlestar Galactica (the new one). If it was a car it would be a Lexus, Tesla, or Mercedes. If it was a band it would be Porcupine Tree, Chick Korea, The Beatles, or The Clash. It is a beer that is so good it transcends the beer of its genre. And while you may not like it, you will definately understand its depth. If I see this beer I will buy it. Always.
Full Brewery Name: New Holland Brewing Company
Brewery Location: Holland, Michigan
Alcohol by Volume(ABV): 11
Drinkability: Low - Can Maybe Drink 1 or 2