4/28/23: New Holland Brewing's Dragon's Milk Tales of Gold

6:42 AM

It seems as though New Holland stumbled upon a whole den of dragons, each slumbering atop a separate pile of treasure. Only earlier this week did I unleash my post of the series' bourbon barrel aged red ale. Now my attention's focused on the next great slumbering wyrm: Tales of Gold.

An unopened bottle of Dragon's Milk Tales of Gold

Just like Crimson Keep, Tales of Gold isn't a traditional Dragon's Milk offering in that it isn't a stout. Yet, it seems set to carry on the lauded lineage of the brand by keeping it's high ABV and bourbon barrel aging. Remember--I enjoyed Crimson Keep although it wasn't a typical Dragon's Milk! Here's hoping I find just as much to enjoy in Tales of Gold.
I've mentioned my Tales of Gold a few times now, which indicates to me that I really ought to link that post. I'm doing it here so you can hop over there to see a little about New Holland's history; since I just wrote about it, I'm not doing it today. I'll also link you to the brewery's "Our Journey" page for you to read up on the finer details about who they are, what they do, and why they do it.

Tales of Gold's an 11% ABV BBA golden ale that's brewed with milk sugar in finished in bourbon barrels. New Holland writes that it features notes of honey, caramel, oak, and a slight amount of sweetness.

Unsurprisingly, there's a slight amount of sweetness on the ale's nose, manifested as toffee, caramel, graham cracker, and vanilla (I'd guess this last bit comes from the bourbon barrels). Before all of that, however, I pick up on straw-like aromas and a little bit of yeast (like what you'd get in a Belgian blonde). Purrl gave my bottle seven whiffs, which I disagree with; the bouquet here is incredibly pleasant and inviting. Really, the only qualm I might have with Tale's of Gold's nose is the lack of booze--for 11% ABV, I'd expect it to smell hot. This lack of alcohol bite is a commonality it and it's red-scaled brother share.

Purrl the cat sniffing an opened Tales of Gold bottle

The flavor profile here contains many of the bouquet's notes: caramel, toffee, straw, oak, and vanilla (although these two are more ethereal than I'd look for them to be). Citrusy qualities also abound with candied oranges and lemons. The sum of all these wonderful flavors isn't unlike a shortbread cookie. Again, as with the nose, there's a decided lack of booze on my palate--it's here, but only just.

I'm happy to report that Tales of Gold's mouthfeel is velvety smooth. Crimson Keep was punchy and bitey, which I had half-expected here. Instead, I'm met with an almost creaminess that fits the bouquet and palate perfectly. 

Much like with Crimson Keep, a healthy head's developed in my bottle (no glass-pouring for this beer).

A frothy head in a Tales of Gold bottle

Have you ever wandered through a hayfield just after a rainfall? The fresh and earthy aromas of straw and dirt rolling over the acres. The sky lightening rapidly as the wind carries the clouds away. The first warm rays of the sun spreading wide. This is all much like the sensation of drinking this beer.

Both New Holland's Dragon's Milk Tales of Gold and Crimson Keep are great beers. However, they aren't wholly equal. Tales of Gold is, in my humble opinion, the better of the two, scoring a firm 10/10. If New Holland can keep pushing the definition of Dragon's Milk with offerings of this quality, I'll follow them into the deepest and unmapped dungeons.

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