There are plenty of great things to do in Holland Michigan – perfect for a day trip or a great place to go in Michigan for vacation. You can go to Holland State Park, eat some tasty ice cream at Captain Sundae, or if you are like me (and many other beer lovers) you would drive from many miles to sit down at a marvelous place called New Holland Brewing Company.
About New Holland Brewing Company
Opened in 1997 by Brett VanderKamp and Jason Spaulding (who recently started the tasty Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids), this brewery did not take long to catch on in town. They moved to their downtown Holland location at 66 East 8th Street in December of 2002 and have been a crucial part of the Michigan microbrew scene ever since.
What’s Different About New Holland Brewery?
The thing that sets New Holland apart is the knowledge of the bartenders at the pub. With the expansive selection of drink opportunities at New Holland, these fine ladies and gents have the knowledge to match your taste buds with the correct liquid beverage to make you jump for joy, hug a stranger, and come back for more. Nothing like a smiling face to go with that scrumptious beverage.
Best Time to Visit New Holland Brewing Company
I highly recommend checking New Holland out on a Friday or Saturday night in the summer; not only can you enjoy a pint and some conversations at the bar, but you can also enjoy the local and regional music talents that New Holland brings in. All this in a pub that also knows that sports matter too; they have many of the Tigers games playing on the TV all summer long.
Visiting New Holland Brewing Company
When you walk into New Holland Brewing Company’s brewery in Holland Michigan, you are faced with the smiling faces of the greeter. You’re given a choice of sitting in the typical dining area or the pub side and right away you feel like you are at the beginning of a Goosebumps choose-your-own-adventure book.
When you choose to sit on the dining side, you find a wonderful place to relax, bring the kids, and enjoy a nice night out. You have the New Holland Brewing beers (and in-house distilled spirits) at your disposal. The food menu is filled with tasty morsels that you will love.
For those that don’t mind a bit more noise, you can take a right when you walk in. You’ll see the string lights hanging around the giant chalkboard listing the many different selections of beer that you know will satisfy.
New Holland Brewing Company is not only a brewery, but is also a distillery, so you can choose anything from their Dutchess Vodka to the Huron Rum to wet your whistle.
A #MittenTrip Visit to New Holland Brewing
In addition to enjoying beer, I have an affinity for certain spirits, so it was exciting to try some of what New Holland offers—especially the products that I’m unable to find on the east side of the Mitten.
We’ll get to that shortly. First, true to form, I’m going to get a little nerdy on you…
I enjoy having context for the information I learn and the experiences I have. While at the pub, and on the drive back to Beer City, USA, I started to wonder about the craft spirits industry in Michigan. How important is it to the state? Why did it seem to suddenly explode a few years ago? Is this proliferation of craft spirits happening in other states, too?
Michigan’s craft distilling boom began after 2008 when the state passed a small-distillers law that made it much easier for new distillers to enter the scene. Under the law, a small-distiller’s license costs $100 per year, which allows license-holders to annually produce up to 60,000 gallons of alcohol.
Importantly, it also allows them to offer a tasting room where they’re able to serve free samples, along with cocktails, and bottles for retail sale. Essentially, the hurdles to craft distilling were removed and has allowed for an industry to grow.
As you might imagine, interest in craft production of food and beverages is on a dramatic upswing in Michigan (more here, in a recent Awesome Mitten article). The potential economic impact of the craft distilling industry for Michigan is $400 million.
This impact expands beyond the distillers to, for example, the state’s farmers who supply grains and other ingredients.
New Holland, which began producing spirits in 1997, is one of sixteen craft distillery members, along with three distillers-in-planning members, of the recently-formed Michigan Craft Distillers Association (MCDA). New Holland Artisan Spirits are produced in two locations: At the Pub, and at a facility on the north side of Holland. Tours are offered at both locations.
Since the small-distillers law was passed, New Holland has expanded its production dramatically. Six varieties of spirits are available year-round, and limited release spirits are available at intervals throughout the year.
I’m particularly excited for the September release of Walleye Rye. If you’re interested in tasting the spirits, they’re for sale both the Pub, and at the retail store next door. At the store, bottles are available for purchase as well.
While on my visit to the Pub, I had the chance to try an Uncommon Old Fashioned off of the specials list—in addition to New Holland spirits, it was made with cold brew from Uncommon Coffee Roasters in Saugatuck.
My favorite drink is an Old Fashioned, but I’m not a purist. I enjoy trying new twists on an old favorite, and this one’s a keeper.
In addition to this, I had a taste of Walleye Rye (so newly released it wasn’t even on the menu yet), Pub on 8th Malt Whiskey (only available at the Pub), and Zeppelin Bend (distributed across the state).
Now that I’ve tried it, and can now find it at my local beverage shop, I’ll be incorporating the Zeppelin Bend—an oak-y straight malt whiskey—into my home bar.
What about you? What do you love about Michigan’s craft distilling scene? What’s your favorite Michigan craft spirit?
original article contributed by Dominick Garrett (2012) & Shannon Saksewski (2015)