This is it, ladies and gentlemen. This is the first American beer to make an appearance on the 8 Beers of Chanukah, and on the blog itself. New Holland Brewing from Holland, MI is not exactly a local beer, but with a name like Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, I was lured in, and I knew Kole would be too. He is happy with all things aged in barrels. Part of the brewery’s High Gravity series, I knew we were in for a good time. This bad boy weighs in at 11% ABV, and at $7.75 for 650ml, I had to think twice before buying a bottle. Well… think for a split second or two. I mean come on, there is a DRAGON on the label. We shared this bottle between two wine glasses, but I was hesitant to share. MY PRECIOUS!

We left a strong beer like this one for the weekend, cause I’m a classy lady who needs to be able to wake up at the crack of 6 a.m. for real life during the week. And what better way to end a day of drinking stouts then to finish off with this fellow? Why, we feel like we need to drop everything and go watch the Hobbit 3: The Battle of the Five Armies just to watch Benedict Cumberbatch as Smaug the dragon simply cause we had this beer. Did I mention that we spent the day at Indie Ale House’s Stout Night? Do you detect a theme tonight?

Appearance: Dark like espresso on the pour with a creamy head. Opaque. A sultry seductive pour.

Aroma: Lovely bourbon and vanilla aroma with decadent coffee notes. Did I just pour a beer or a dessert?

Taste: Deep and decadent chocolate flavour with vanilla and coffee. Roasted grains. Thick and rich mouth feel. I immediately regret not serving this with food. It would pair wonderfully with cheese, especially a pungent option like blue cheese. Kole wants to pair this with a steak served up rare. I would like it paired with a Belgian chocolate cake. FOOD. Velvety mouth feel.

Aftertaste: Chocolate, in the best possible way.

Overall: I’m glad this is our inaugural non-Ontario beer. I chose well. Now out of my way, I feel some hoarding of this beer coming on. I suspect it would cellar quite nicely.

Shawna O'Flaherty

Shawna is a 30-something Montreal native transplanted to Toronto in 2010. Wine loving, beer sniffing and rum swilling come naturally to her, and she is also a certified Irish whiskey taster. She has hosted beer and cheese pairing events in the past.

Shawna has visited vineyards in 6 countries on 3 continents, and has a knack for finding the hoppiest beers around.

She can be found drinking alka-seltzer and coconut water in the morning.

Email: shawna@torontoboozehound.com