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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": New Holland Pilgrim's Dole Wheatwine

By Chuck Sudo on May 16, 2007 3:00PM

2007_05_botw20_1.jpgSome beers are brewed for sustenance, and some beers make us ready for a nap after consumption. Such is the case with this week's "BotW" selection. New Holland Pilgrim's Dole is named after the bread-and-ale rations given to travelers for sustenance on pilgrimage during 14th Century Europe. Beer and religion have a long relationship; one reason that so many monks developed trappist ales was so they could use them as a means of sustenance while on fasts.

2007_05_botw20_2.jpgPilgrim's Dole, part of New Holland's high-gravity series of beer, is a heavy, barleywine-style ale brewed with fifty percent wheat malt. Don't let the inclusion of wheat fool you; this is a thick, heavy beer. It's bottled at ten percent alcohol by volume and 25 degrees Plato (the Plato scale is used to measure a beer's sucrose content by weight). We decanted this into a snifter, where it poured a rich dark amber in color, with no raceable head and thick lace rings on the inside of the glass. We picked up notes of bread and caramel on the nose, with hints of cardamom and vanilla. Sweetness initially dominated the palate, but as the chill faded from Pilgrim's Dole we noticed slight notes of banana, honey, and almond. The finish was slightly sour, with a great overall mouthfeel. It pairs best with desserts like creme brulee, mixed fruits, or blueberry crepes and whipped cream, which is how we paired this beer.

New Holland is fast becoming one of our favorite breweries, and this is our second "BotW" selection from them. With Holland, Mich., only 2-1/2 hours away, a visit to New Holland's brewpub makes for a quick day trip. If you don't want to spend that long cooped up driving to Michigan, pick up a bottle at your local liquor store, where you'll find Pilgrim's Dole sold in 22-ounce bomber bottles. After the hullabaloo made about our selection of Goose Island "312" two weeks ago, here is a wheat ale for the heavy beer geeks. New Holland Pilgrim's Dole Wheatwine is Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."