New Holland Brewing Company is a brewery near and dear to my heart. When I moved to Michigan in 2000, the brewery was still just getting off its feet, more or less. Later, I lived a few blocks from the beautiful brewpub in downtown Holland, MI. I’m thankful I can get their beers now here in Kansas City, too, although I will forever miss the weekly growler night when I could fill my 1/2 gallon jug with any of their mainstay beers for $4!

The Poet is one of NHBC’s mainstay beers, brewed all year. It is a nice example of an oatmeal stout and it’s one of my favorite beers. It pours black with red highlights and a nice tan head that sticks around for a long time. The aroma is roasty and chocolatey, although neither of those are main components of the flavor profile. Some dark fruit comes across on the nose, too.

The Poet has the slick mouthfeel you’d associate with an oatmeal stout (coming from the oatmeal itself) and the light carbonation adds to its silky texture. There is a good balance in this beer between malty flavors and the hops and bitterness that comes from the dark roasting of the malts. Up front, the beer is very balanced, with dark fruit predominating, then in the aftertaste a nice, pleasantly warm roastiness settles in. This is not the dry, carbonized roast of some stouts, but a mild, easy flavor that doesn’t leave you feeling like you just sucked on some charcoal.

The Poet isn’t the most complex oatmeal stout by a long shot, but it is a nice, easy drinker at 5.2%ABV and I enjoy it every time I drink it. It pairs really great with pretty much any kind of food outside of the lightest fair, so it’s no wonder it is perennially one of New Holland’s most popular beers.