Review: New Holland Brewing Company Cabin Fever Brown Ale

New Holland Brewing Company Cabin Fever

New Holland Brewing Company Cabin Fever

Dark, complex, and a little bit moody is how I prefer them.

The darker the better.  Not too complex otherwise you’ll just be left confused and unsatisfied which doesn’t do you any good.  Moody because it needs to melt with you and fit your current emotion like a glove.  A support system of sorts.

I’m talking about beers, not dudes!  A complex and moody dude would just get on my nerves actually and I would end up kicking him to the curb.  But beer?  Oh yes it must be complex, requiring me to spend time figuring out it’s good to me or not.

Hello Cabin Fever! You will not get kicked to the curb!

This beer meets all my criteria for an awesome beer.  Check out that color!  The first time I poured this beer into a glass I was blown away by its very dark and rich coloring.  It almost looks like dark chocolate or perhaps a really strong coffee.  I was nervous tasting it because the color reminded me of a Black&Tan (or Guinness), and in my opinion those beers are thick and syrupy, which is not a pleasant drinking experience for me.  Who wants to drink syrup?  This beer is most certainly not that way.  That’s not to say it’s a “light” beer; this is a hardy beer with a very strong presence.  But the carbonation is perfect and keeps the beer from becoming a heavy syrup mess in a glass (sorry Black&Tan and Guinness lovers! (not really)).

The flavors of the beer are subtle and hit you at the end.  The description from the brewing company is this:

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.

I could taste the rye but not the raisin flavor.  The caramel sweetness is right there the entire time and helps keep the beer light and smooth.  The smell of this beer alone would keep me coming back.  To me it smells like a fresh brewed pot of coffee.  That smell when you first walk into a room and realize there’s coffee around?  That smell is what hits me first as I go to take a sip.  It makes the drinking experience all that more enjoyable.

I have found that I prefer this beer not super cold but a little warmer than how a typical beer is served.  If it’s too cold you can’t taste all the different aspects of the beer and it doesn’t quite sit right on the tongue.  Chilled is how it should be served.  Bypass super cold in a frosty mug and go for cool.

Naturally this is a seasonal beer, hence the name and my luck finding really awesome beers that are not around long.  Unfortunately the website does not list the availability timeframe of this beer so I don’t know how much longer it will be around.  I’ll have to pick more up soon!

If you like beer and especially if you enjoy a darker beer, check around and see if you can find some Cabin Fever.  I bought mine at Whole Foods actually.  The other grocery store I frequent does not carry it.  If you can’t find it, well maybe New Holland will be nice enough to ship?  It’s worth asking at least!

New Holland Brewing Company Cabin Fever

7 thoughts on “Review: New Holland Brewing Company Cabin Fever Brown Ale

  1. I think I would dig the Cabin Fever too if it’s less sweet, I have to agree that Guinness can be a little syrupy. Although, that’s not stopping me from having a pint if offered one =) Have you ever tried brewing your own beer, from like a kit? My brother started doing that – the only problem he had was trying to get empty non-twist top beer bottles in order to fill them up (because everyone recycles them too quickly). We had to actually go out to the store and buy beer and drink it in order for him to get enough empties – yeah, what a horrible task – we HAD to drink beer, haha.

    • Bryan, oh yeah it’s totally not a sweet beer. It’s awesome and it’s probably too early in the day for me to have one! ;) Actually it’s funny you mention home brewing because it’s something Scott and I have recently started talking about. I think we would like to try it and see how it goes.

  2. I did find that Cabin Fever is a little sweet and syrup-like. This is because of all of the unfermented sugars that were left in this beer. By my calculations, based on the original gravity (published by the brewer) and the alcohol content the final gravity is 1.019 or 16 Plato.

    Check out my review here:

    I find the Guinness comment curious. Do you mean a syrup-like texture? Because Guinness is actually quite a dry beer with slightly lower than average calories. I believe it is the nitrogen that gives it the thick texture.

    • David, Thanks for linking my review! I do indeed mean texture. I find Guinness to be thick and very syrupy which isn’t something I like in a beer. :)

  3. Ryan says:

    Yes, syrupy has a sweet connotation. If you are referring to texture, you might use terms such as full bodied, creamy, etc. And in my opinion, the only beers that should be served ice cold in a frosted mug are the beers you don’t want to taste! The more complex the beer, the more you will get out of it with a bit warmer serving temp.

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