Wow! It has been a while since I sat down to type up a review. Please accept my deepest apologies. Getting back into the swing of things (after various weddings and computer failures) I thought it might be cool to break down a few beers I had the privilege to sample. On June 23rd, the Bavarian Lodge rolled out what they called “Mad Hatter Days” in celebration of various renditions of New Holland Brewing Co’s Mad Hatter IPA being on tap. I ordered a flight and went about jotting down some notes/thoughts of my comparisons.

Note: Reviews work from Right to Left in the picture.

Original Mad Hatter IPA: 5.8% ABV. Dry-hopped with Centennial hops, this brew explodes with a floral/citrus nose. The color had an orange-pale hue with a foamy head. The sweet malt aroma was subtle allowing me to focus on the generous hop profile. The hops had a delicate floral quality that paired will with the sweetness of the malt. There were citrus flavors of orange and grapefruit that gave way to a minor pungent aftertaste. Overall, it was light bodied, refreshingly hoppy, and cleansing. B+

Black Hatter: 5.5% ABV. It had a mahogany hue with a tan head. The description said to look for citrus hops and roasted malts giving flavors of maple and dark chocolate. I found that this beer was a late bloomer. At first the aroma was mild and I could only pick up hints of roasted grains which had a nice coffee-ish appeal. The hops were not all that citrusy or noticeable (like in Southern Tier’s Iniquity or Stone’s Sublimely Self-Righteous) as I hoped. It smelled boozy and tasted as such. There were flavors of dark chocolate up front and the hop bitterness (piney) set in on the backside of the sip. The more I drank it the better it got, but I’d say out of the 5 Hatters this one was the weakest link. Not the best BIPA I’ve had. C

Rye Hatter: 6.5% ABV. For a Rye P.A. this was pretty tame. It has a slightly spicier nose from the Rye malt, but not much different from the Original Mad Hatter. The floral aspect dropped a little as it had more of piney/citrus quality that paired well with the spiciness of the rye. With regards the flavor, it was a little more toasty/biscuity and produced a minor spicy kick towards the back of the palate. I had some rye bread which helped to bring out the malts a little. The hops were not as noticeable in the aroma, but still had characteristics of the original (along with the same color and head). B-

Oak-Aged Hatter: 6.2% ABV. Aged in Bourbon barrels (not just oak barrels) this brew has a bronze-golden color and slightly lacking head retention. Smelled great with hints of charred wood that played well with the hops. There were fruity notes of grapes, prunes, apricots from the Bourbon and an overall sweeter aroma with hints of honey. Smooth and mellow IPA at first, transitioning into a wonderful blend of hops and Bourbon at the end. The high alcohol component adds to the hop bitterness which still shines through in the aroma and taste. My favorite Hatter in the flight! A-

Imperial Mad Hatter: 9.4% ABV. Darker in appearance capped with a rich frothy head. Definitely “imperial” as it possessed a boozy and pungent hop aroma (citrus-grapefruit). They say it is “assertively dry-hopped” and you can tell as it carries a much bigger nose from the original (not as floral though). This late hopping shows itself in the aroma and forefront of the palate where the ABV is very noticeable. The malts are deeper given it a more pronounced toasty/bready caramel sweetness. The hops leave a nice bitter and resinous aftertaste, while the ABV tingles the back of the throat. B+