11/10/17: New Holland Brewing's Baltic Anomaly

5:55 PM

Halloween's over and there's another, more Turkey-related holiday looming around the corner. And believe you me, do I have some beers slated for posting about in preparation for Turkey Day. But, before I get to those, I really want to do a post on this: New Holland's Baltic Anomaly.


It's been a bit since I've posted about a porter. My parents seem to know that. Which could explain why they gave me a sixer of Baltic Anomaly a month and a half ago. I'm really proud of myself for not breaking into the stuff yet. But, since it's been super holiday-y around here lately, I really wanted to give the porter its due diligence while also using it as a segue from one holiday to the next.

New Holland Brewing's "Our Story" page tells that the brewery was founded in (surprise!) Holland, Michigan by Brett VanderKamp and Jason Spaulding in 1997. A few years later, they began brewing their renowned bourbon barrel-aged stout: Dragon's Milk. This gave them the recognition and backing to expand their operation to include distilling in 2005. 2006 saw another expansion to a larger production facility and, finally, they opened a Grand Rapids, MI restaurant last year.

Baltic Anomaly is a limited offering that's brewed with seven grains and honey. The porter clocks in at 8.5% ABV and as touted as being a balanced sweet beer with a finish that's on the dryer side.

The porter's bouquet is very dry--like a fine white wine. There's a level of sweetness laid right atop the roastiness of the baltic porter. There's some light smokiness here but it's underplayed by the dryness of the honey. I really enjoy the aroma because, although it wasn't what I was expecting, it's wonderfully put together. I need to let you know about Purrl. She took one whiff. That was it. She harbors an extreme disgust of this bottle and its contents.

She hated it so much this was the only (terrible) picture I could snap.
That unexpectedness carries into the flavor. It's unlike any porter I've ever had. Instead of the dark, roasty malt that leads to coffeey and chocolatey notes, this has that honey backbone which lends it almost a malty sweetness. While some swigs showcase the beer as a definitive porter, others show it off as something akin to a roasty märzen. It's sweet. It's roasty. It's wholly unlike anything out there. Good on you, New Holland. You've taken something familiar and turned it into something new.

The mouthfeel of Baltic Anomaly is neither full nor thin. It's on the creamier side of things, which I think pairs well with that truly unique taste.

This reminds me of a run I took once through the country near my parents' old house (they've since moved into town). It was cold out; snow had recently fallen and the road I was running hadn't been plowed yet. The sky was overcast and darkness was quickly approaching. I was on a long stretch where houses were few and far between.

But, at the end of the stretch and right before the corner that signaled my final leg before home, there was a small white cottage. I didn't see a car in its drive, nor did I spy tire tracks in the new fallen snow. But there was a lit candle in it's one road-facing window and smoke billowed steadily from its chimney, indicated a lit fire in its place, warming the little cottage. It looked warming and welcoming and helped to spur me on my way home.

New Holland's Baltic Anomaly follows the recent trend on this blog where the beers I drink are unique and/or unexpected. I cannot help but give it a 9.0/10. It's strange. It's good. It's original. It's something you need to track down while you can because it's limited and not something you'll want to miss.

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