New Holland Brewing: Oh, you guys (to NH and to my readers). I have visited this brewery quite a few times, camping on the Lake Michigan shore. I always forget about Hatter Days, which is 6/10, instead of 10/6 (the hat of the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland says 10/6). This year, there were quite a few festivities last Friday, celebrating the Mad Hatter. Lots of bars, lots of variations on New Hollands Mad Hatter IPA. Tried two variations yesterday, at Four Moon Tavern, in Roscoe Village.
Mad Hatter Black IPA - "Blackened" version of Mad Hatter. Black malt, often used in porters and some stouts, adds a nice roasted grain flavor, lots of color, and a nice sweetness to Mad Hatter. Dry-hopped, a bitter citrus-y aroma and flavor hovers over the beer. I'd love this one with bbq.
Mad Hatter Farmhouse IPA - think of this like a belgian IPA. saison-ish qualities with Mad Hatter hop levels. The belgian yeast really emphasize a spicy flavor that dominates over anything citrus. Not a lot of malt backbone to this, but not an overly bitter beer either. Balanced, belgian inflected IPA.
Also floating around: Rye Mad Hatter, Imperial Mad Hatter, Oak Aged Mad Hatter, Sour Hatter
I must also mention New Holland's ENVIOUS. An annual beer in their Cellar series, this might be my favorite fruit beer ever. It's got a powerful malty body, is fermented with pears and then aged in oak with local raspberries. The two fruits meld together with a caramel and toasted bread sweetness. Not cloying at all, just delicious. Disturbingly disliked on Beer Advocate, put your trust in OMG Beer! and try one ASAP.