Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pink Boots at New Holland

"Our imagination is the only limit to what we can hope to have in the future." ~Charles F. Kettering

July 23-24: Pulled into Holland, Michigan just before dinner. Met Brewmaster John Haggarty at New Holland Brewing Company's production brewery, where I parked my rig for the night. John drove us to an Italian restaurant where brewer Ben Fris and Partner Brett VanderKamp were waiting. A special guest of my Holland, Michigan adventure is my old pal, Bill Owens. Bill publishes American Distiller and is on his own 5-month road trip visiting and photographing America's small boutique distilleries. (Photo above, L to R: Ben, Brett, Teri, John and Bill.)

Tried to blog from my trailer as John had given me New Holland's wep-key to get into their wireless system, but I was too tired and just posted photos of my van and trailer.

The next morning I overslept! Ben knocked on my door at 7:00 am, but somehow I had slept straight through my alarm. I threw my things together and was mostly ready in five minutes. Ben drove us to New Holland's brewpub where we met up with Bill Owens.

New Holland is the first brewpub on my journey to have both a brewery and a distillery onsite. Bill had arranged with Ben to distill a 100% wheat whiskey on this day. Ben brewed the wash last Friday: 100% wheat malt with rice hulls mixed in to create a good filter bed.

We watched while Ben pumped the wash up from the basement fermenter into a small holding tank in the still room. Then he pumped 50 gallons into the still and began to heat it.

In the meantime Ben and I went to mash in our India Pale Ale. A few weeks ago, Ben and John had asked me to send them a recipe - anything I wanted to brew, so I suggested a Pacific-Northwest-style IPA. Click here to read the recipe for New Holland's West Coast IPA. Ben had ordered all the ingredients and was willing to go along with my preferences. Above photos are me mashing-in and pulling out spent grain - both with the same canoe paddle! I told Ben all about the amazing abilities of the mash hoe, and recommended he make one. Click here to learn more about mash hoes.

Ben was very patient with Bill and me. He sure had his hands full with both of us hanging around all day! I had a great time running back and forth between the brewery, the distillery, and down to the basement fermentation cellar and whiskey wood-aging cellar. New Holland's cute little still is made from a big commercial soup-pot bolted to the upside-down-cone from a small unitank beer fermenter. It looks like what you'd get if you mated R2D2 with the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz (photo left).
In between all the action, Bill and I took over a table in a quiet section of the pub and worked on our blogs, newsletters, trip planning, and other online stuff. (Photo above.)

In addition to the brewing and distilling, Ben transferred some of New Holland's just distilled Rum to an oak barrel in the basement whiskey aging cellar. But first he and Brett had to lift the empty yet heavy just-soaked soggy oak barrel into position on the rack. (Photos below.)

At the end of the day Brett drove me back to New Holland's packaging brewery where he gave me a New Holland t-shirt and baseball cap (it's pink!), and John gifted me two cases of New Holland beer. I'm not done with the New Holland folks yet - I plan to volunteer at their booth at the Michigan Brewers Guild's "Michigan Beer Festival" this weekend in Ypsilanti.

No comments: