Beer Review: Golden Cap Saison Ale [New Holland Brewing Company]

Golden Cap Saison Ale [New Holland Brewing Company]

Golden Cap
Brewery: New Holland Brewing Company (Holland, Michigan)
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 6.25%

Being a former Michigan native, I am very familiar with many of the breweries in the Lower Peninsula. New Holland Brewery, located just outside of Grand Rapids in Holland, is one such locale that I have greatly enjoyed over the years. Yet I didn’t notice until tonight that they had a saison ale available in six pack form. Golden Cap, as it is appropriately titled, is a solid summertime beer that represents another good brew from New Holland.

Golden Cap has a light, hazy color to it and this appearance does a good job of concealing its surprisingly potent 6.25% ABV. The beer is a bit sweeter than most saisons that I have tasted, which can be either a plus or a minus depending on your tastes. The first thing I noticed was a strong presence of peppercorn, even moreso than the Goose Island Pepe Nero I tried recently. The peppercorn dances around on the tongue while hints of citrus sneak in at the same time. This is definitely a saison, but with its own unique twist.

Golden Cap is an easily drinkable beer, although I am slightly offput by its sweetness. I wouldn’t say it is one of the best saisons I have ever had, but it is definitely a good brew, especially for the summer. Another quality effort from the guys at New Holland.


Pepe Nero [Goose Island Brewery]

Pepe Nero [Goose Island Brewery]

Pepe Nero
Brewery: Goose Island (Chicago, Illinois)
Style: Saison / Farmhouse Ale
ABV: 6.0%

Pepe Nero is one of Goose Island’s latest beers, and it is one I was initially intrigued about due to its use of black peppercorns in the brewing process. Labeled as a “Belgian Style Farmhouse Ale” by the brewery, this is certainly a unique beer unlikely any other that I have had.

When poured into a glass, the beer has a dark color similar to a cola. Its spicy smell gives hints of what’s to come. It is hard to place all of the different tastes that come out of Pepe Nero. It is spicy, a tad sweet, and definitely roasty. The peppercorn is transparent at first, but it quickly takes over and leaves a lingering presence on the tongue.

This is really a funky beer that has a lot going on at once. While certainly interesting and worth trying, I wouldn’t say Pepe Nero is one of Goose Island’s best offerings. The peppercorn gives it a nice kick, but it doesn’t propel the beer to the next level of quality. If you like peppery tastes and are willing to give an experiment like this a try, it might be in your best interest to pick up a bomber of this. Pepe Nero is good, and I am glad I tried it, but I will likely pass on it in the future in lieu of some of the brewery’s more superior brews.