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Chicagoist's "Beer Spirit of the Week:" New Holland Hatter Royale Hopquila

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Apr 8, 2010 6:20PM

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Craft Brewers Conference kicked off yesterday, capped by an opening reception at the Field Museum. But it was the after parties and later events where the big surprises were sprung on people throughout the city. One such reception at Green Mill hosted by New Holland Brewing found owner/"beervangelist" Fred Bueltmann putting a formidable hand on my shoulder and stating, "we've got some new stuff for you to sample.". New Holland's spirits more than meet the standards of high quality of their beers. But owner and distiller Brett VanderKamp may have exceeded even his expectations with a spirit he calls "hopquila." VanderKamp described it thus:"I distilled some barley grain and then added a lot of hops."

Specifically, VanderKamp dry-hopped the distillate with a serious amount of Centennial hops. The combination of spice from the hops and sweetness from the barley results in a color and flavor profile that impressively approximates white tequila. Ergo: "hopquila." Hatter Royale hopquila works well as a shot or as a cocktail base. Weegee's Lounge owner Alex Huebner said he's been doing some cocktail experimentation with Hatter Royale and Adam Seger's Hum Spirit and has been pleased with his findings. If anyone has tried this in a margarita, feel free to chime in in the comments.

Hatter Royale "Hopquila" retails for $29 at local liquor stores.