HERE’S A BEVY OF BAUBLES. Appropriately adorned with a flying pig, New Holland smelts rye, smoke, cherry, and robust (7.8%) doppelbock flavors into a relatively reasonable lager frame. With a color nestled between honey and loam, Charkoota leads with the expected smell of roasted malt, earthy smoke, and of dark fruit (see: the cherry wood). Virtually no head, though amidst everything else at work here one wonders whether such a crowning charm would have been the one to break the camel’s palate. The initial flavor has a pronounced caraway edge that slides naturally into the rye-heavy midpalate, though both end up dominated by smoke, molasses, and roasted malt in subsequent sips. The final impression is a little more like an effervescent porter than a lager, aside from the crispness of the finish. A worthy example of blunderbuss brewing done well, but also of why it rarely strikes the bulls-eye.
Served: On tap (Kuma’s Corner, Chicago)