New Holland Brewing Company
After some shopping it was time to head to dinner. J actually got a suggestion for a restaurant and it happened to be the same place I picked out.
The New Holland Brewing Company is in downtown Holland on the corner of 8th Street and College Avenue. It looks like they just expanded to take up about three storefronts along the busy stretch of road.
The new entrance brings you into an area between the original bar/dining room and a new dining room. There is a hostess station right as you enter and right away we were taken to our table. The route to that table just happened to be right through a gift shop-like area even though it didn’t have to be.
The space is deceivingly huge. There are two large ground floor dining rooms, but we were taken to an upstairs dining area that overlooks the bar area. The whole space has an industrial brew pub feel to it. The floors are aged hard wood and the booths in the upstairs dining area are straight plywood. There’s no finish or covering. Right in the middle of the space is a large, non-functioning beer still and there are TV’s all over the place where I could watch UNI whoop top-seeded Kansas.
J and I are both fighting a pretty nasty cold and we both took some cold medicine before we went to eat, so alcohol was out of the question. I’m not a beer lover like some, but when we go to these brewpub’s, I’d at least like to try one. Instead, I got a Coke and J got a Diet.
The menu looks fantastic. There were several items that jumped out at both of us and the food coming out around us all looked good. We went kind of safe just because we weren’t feeling great and you know how it is eating with a cold. Smell plays such a huge part in taste and you lose that with a stuffy nose.
I was very close to ordering the Tennessee prosciutto pizza which comes with peppers, mozzarella, basil, ham and five cheeses, but backed down to a burger. I went with the Fire Barrel Burger. The half pound burger comes with bacon, pepperjack cheese, pickled jalapenos, and BBQ sauce. You get your choice of chips or potato salad and I went with chips. The sandwich was really good. There was just enough heat, but not so much it was inedible. There were two large crispy strips of bacon and the cheese melted everything together. I almost wasn’t sure there was BBQ sauce there. It was put on the bottom bun, but I realized the sweet sauce was mellowing out the jalapenos on the other side of the meat. The chips were a waste of time. They might as well have served the sandwich with no side. There weren’t very many and they were out of a bag. That part of the meal was really disappointing.
Since J didn’t get BBQ for lunch with me, she ordered the Tarheel BBQ Pulled Pork. This sandwich isn’t your typical pulled pork sandwich and it’s something that I probably wouldn’t have ordered, but she felt brave. The pork is served with a Carolina style vinegar mop sauce flavored with BBQ spices. The pork itself is roasted, not smoked and it’s topped with sweet pickles, a horseradish mayo, and romaine lettuce. The sandwich is served on a toasted sub bun with the same choice of side as I had. J actually ordered the chips, but they brought her the potato salad. I told her she was probably better off because the potato salad actually looked home-made. It had skin on potatoes and she ended up eating most of it. The sandwich was really interesting. If you’ve never had Carolina BBQ, it’s not what most people think of when they think pulled pork. The mop sauce is very thin and has a very strong vinegar taste. J said it was really interesting and the sweet pickles were not like anything she’s ever had on BBQ before. The bun was very toasted, but it did a good job of holding the sandwich together. She said it was pretty good. As far as BBQ goes, it has a little bit of weird taste because, again, the mop sauce plus the horseradish mayo which I’m not sure even stood out as being part of the sandwich.
Our bill was a little over twenty-one bucks, but we weren’t able to enjoy one of their craft beers which is a little disappointing. Other than that, the food was pretty good. I left hungry because the chips were a joke. I think my burger was almost nine bucks and all I really paid for was the burger. If you’re gonna go cheap, at least fry up some GFS fries or something.
The atmosphere is great, but I don’t know. For some reason, I hold brewpubs to a really high standard when it comes to food. They’re always my favorite places to eat when I’m visiting a new town. NHBC has pretty good food, but I think they just missed the mark for me because of the chips. I would go back though. It really is a place you need to go if you’re a fan of New Holland Brewing’s beers.