Review: New Holland Cherry Dragons Milk Brings Out My Crazy

My buddy Rich Blair at the New Holland Brewing Company was nice enough to send me a taste of a special edition of their Dragons Milk (an amazing barrel aged stout and probably my favorite beer on the planet) that had been aged on tart Michigan cherries.

This is a one-and-done brew and was (or is, depending on when you read this) only available on tap at Ashley’s in Ann Arbor, as it was crafted in honor of the bar’s 30th anniversary.

Just a single bottle of the stuff made it out of Michigan – the one you see in the video above, which New Holland’s barrel master Tim Faith was kind enough to siphon off for me.  I figured if I couldn’t give everyone a taste, I could at least taste it in front of everyone and share my thoughts. 

cherry-dragon-milkThe beer was a lot like a regular Dragons Milk, which has rich threads of cocoa and a boozy whiskey bite, but with the addition of a tart cherry finish.  The cherry also helped to magnify the sweetness of the cocoa flavor in the beer, bringing it forward in the mix and providing a nice ribbon of dark chocolate that starts early and hangs around on the palate.

I should also say that after I finished the video and put the camera away, my thoughts about the beer changed a bit.  I still enjoyed it, but I had a pretty bad flavor association as the cherry taste began to build after several sips.

Sometimes when I get a head cold and my throat gets really scratchy, I’ll use Chloraseptic cherry throat spray, that awful gunk you pump into your gullet to numb everything up.

While this stuff is a boon when I’m sick, it has also managed to create a weird psychosomatic reaction whenever I drink cherry stouts, which unfailingly remind me of Chloraseptic.  Before I know it, my tongue starts feeling numb and I abandon the beer.  I know, I’m a weak-minded man.

This happened the first time I tasted Bell’s Cherry Stout, which I could only take two sips of before I felt like I was drinking medicine and my brain tricked my gullible tongue into playing dead.

I got further in with the Cherry Dragon, but I eventually started to numb up and gave the beer over to my wife who happily polished off the remainder of the bomber.  She doesn’t share my cherry stout numb tongue hangup and thought the fruit was an excellent addition to one of our favorite beers.

So if you’re not crazy like me, you’ll most likely enjoy this puppy if you can manage to get a taste of it.



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Categories: Beer, review


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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24 Comments on “Review: New Holland Cherry Dragons Milk Brings Out My Crazy”

  1. johnking82
    March 27, 2013 at 11:16 am #

    No reference to me in this post or the fact Mr. Faith is awesome and has a stellar blog. What has this become?

    • March 27, 2013 at 11:25 am #

      I guess I’ve upped my journalistic standards, John…

      • johnking82
        March 27, 2013 at 11:25 am #

        😦 Too high class for me.

        • March 27, 2013 at 11:29 am #

          You’ve been Big Time’d!

  2. March 27, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    Woah! (slight Keanu Reaves accent). Pretty amazing to getthat kind of love from any brewer. I don’t see Ferrari doing that for Wayne Carini.

    I get your issue with psychosomatic triggers. Happened to me the other day when my eyes fell upon a 6 pack of Third Shift Lager. My mind went right to Miller punch top cans and I had to exit the aisle before falling into an embarrassing epileptic siezure/ Elaine Dance (and that was before I confirmed that it was a crafty front brew for Big Beer)

    But I kind of like Chloroseptic. And Ricola.


    • March 27, 2013 at 11:49 am #


      Ive actually traded beers with Rich at New Holland in the past, and I think that helped quite a bit here. It was more doing a buddy a favor kind of thing after I read about the beer and begged for a trade.

      He was surprised with Tim Faith said no problemo and pulled the bomber for me – I think Rich wasn’t expecting this to happen either.

      Anyway, a great get for sure – I was nervous driving around with it in my car, fearing hitting a bump or getting into an accident and having to see the beer splattered across the pavement. They should show THAT in driver’s ed – Beer on the Blacktop would scare a lot of kids straight!

      • March 27, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

        Good point – that might be more effective than the not texting while driving campaigns (though teenagers would be about as freaked out at the sight of a splattered one-off craft beer as they would a dog-eared pinochle deck)

        • March 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

          A dog eared pinochle deck?! NOOOOooooooo…….

          I guess that proves that I’m old. 😦

    • March 28, 2013 at 6:10 am #

      I’ve been eyeballing that Third Shift lager but had my suspicions… if they don’t come right out and tell you that they’re independent then chances are it’s big beer… one quick google search and MillerCoors jumps right out. It may not be a bad beer but big beer gets exactly ZERO of my budget no matter what they make. At least with Batch 19 if you looked hard enough you could see it on the bottle (in the fine print, of course)

  3. March 27, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    You should change medicine flavors! Too many great cherry beers out there.

    • March 27, 2013 at 12:24 pm #

      Yeah, maybe I’ll switch to malt-flavored stuff instead.


  4. March 27, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    Regarding the whole Chloroseptic thing, I’ve used it, but don’t like it one bit. What you should do is use cask strength Bourbon instead. Same effect, better flavor. Keep some Stagg or Booker’s on hand. I’m sure Big Brother Don can hook you up!

    As far as the beer, sounds intriguing! Pity it will never make it’s way to NJ. Unless of course you know a guy…

    • March 27, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

      I wonder how whiskey would be in a spray bottle.

      Maybe you could spray it on steak!

      • March 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

        No need to spray it. Just drink it slowly. Preferably neat to get the full effect.

        And why the hell would you spray it on steak??? You need to cut back on the Chloraseptic. It has hallucinogenic properties you know. But only because of the red dye.

        • March 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm #

          If I has spray whiskey, I’d put that stuff on everything!

        • March 27, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

          It’s a screw top. Dump the cherry crap and fill it with Whisky. Done!

        • March 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

          Great idea. Can’t wait for the kids to say, “Daddy, I can’t feel my sore throat…or my knees” after using the Chloraseptic bottle… 😉

        • March 27, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

          It’s never to early to teach your kids about quality products!

          Kidding aside, I didn’t realize Chloroseptic was alcohol free. Me thinks Daddy needs his own private stash of Bourbon flavored Chrloroseptic.

        • March 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

          He has it – a bottle of Four Roses Small Batch tucked into the kitchen cabinet.

          I mostly use it as preventative medicine. 🙂

        • March 27, 2013 at 1:40 pm #

          Good Man! 👍

  5. March 27, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    Seeing as how I don’t like fruit-flavored beer, I think I’ll leave the cherries in the Kirschwasser, thanks.

    As for the alcoholic answer to Chloroceptic: Hot mint or ginger tea; a generous dollop of whiskey, brandy or rum; honey; and lemon or lime juice. Drink one every time you feel a tickle in your throat. It may not get rid of the tickle or the cough, but after a couple of doses you won’t care.

    • March 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

      I usually do just what you recommend here, Wayne, minus the citrus fruit.

      And the mint or ginger.

      And the honey.


  6. March 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    Thanks Jim. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • March 27, 2013 at 4:00 pm #

      Thank YOU for helping me out and making the effort to pull a bottle of the stuff for me. It was like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one.

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