New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale 2008 Review

New Holland Brewing Cabin Fever Brown AleWhile I was on a trip in Chicago, I wanted to try some of the local beers but my schedule didn’t lend itself to visiting any of the local breweries or beer bars. Instead on the way back to the hotel, I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up some beer. I wasn’t quite sure what to try but the New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale caught my eye.

Established in 1996, New Holland Brewing is a brewery located in Holland, Michigan and has both a brew pub and a production brewery. The Cabin Fever Brown Ale is a seasonal offering that they describe as:

Robust in character yet smooth in delivery, Cabin Fever is a roasty brown ale and a hearty, comforting companion for long, mind-bending winters. Its rye, roast and raisin notes play off a subtle caramel sweetness and culminate in a dry finish. Excellent with roasts, stews, caramelized onions and snowfall.

Where I Found It. Whole Foods in Chicago, Illinois.

Serving Type. Poured from a bottle into a small glass.

Appearance. This brown ale has a dark color like that of a porter with a dark off-white head. The head retention was extremely poor. I personally think that a beer like this should have a nice head that lasts more than 30 seconds.

Smell. The aroma of Cabin Fever is roasty and slightly nutty. In the first few smells of this beer the aroma is yeasty and bready. Either you get used to it or this smell fades after time. There is no discernible hop bouquet.

Taste. The taste has a malty-sweetness with a roasted chocolate malt flavoring. There are flavors of coffee and mocha present as well. There is a little bitterness, which helps enhance the dark chocolate and coffee notes.

Mouthfeel. Cabin Fever is a medium-full bodied beer. According to my calculations of taking the original gravity of 1.065 (16 Plato) and the alcohol content of 6%, then the final gravity of this beer is 1.019 (4.8 Plato). This beer had a chalky mouthfeel that I did not find very pleasing.

Drinkability. I bought a six-pack but after the first one I really wanted to try something else but didn’t have anything handy. The second was better than the first and it did grow on me a bit but I really didn’t want any more after that.

Rating. My ratings below are on a five point scale with five being the best score.

  • Appearance (20%): 3.0
  • Smell (20%): 2.5
  • Taste (40%): 3.0
  • Mouthfeel (10%): 2.0
  • Drinkability (10%): 2.5
  • Overall: 2.75


Other Reviews

Please take a look at a few more reviews. A few of these reviews liked this beer more than I and some come to the same conclusion. One review in particular mentioned problems with consistency from bottle to bottle. Maybe I should have tried it on draft instead.

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About David Jensen

David is a craft beer and photography enthusiast.
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2 Responses to New Holland Cabin Fever Brown Ale 2008 Review

  1. I was wondering if you can give me some good comparable beers to the Cabin Fever. I cannot find it in SW Florida. I have a recipe that calls for it. Therefore, I could use some suggestions (nothing hoppy).

  2. David Jensen says:

    Did you find a replacement? I’d imagine almost any dark brown ale or nut brown ale will do. You just want to make sure that the beer you cook with is not too bitter and not too hoppy in the nose.

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