Magic Hat

MAGIC HAT BREWING COMPANY

Magic Hat is out of Vermont. Their most popular beer is probably Magic Hat #9. That is all I could get from their website.

www.magichat.net

Year-Round/Seasonals:

 BLINDFAITH IPA: 77 Points

Summer IPA

This IPA is part of their “IPA on Tour” Series. It is available between April and July. It has an IBU of 60 and a SRM of 9. It is available on draft or in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description:  “Blind Faith is an extremely well-balanced India Pale Ale with a crisp, refreshing hop bitterness and a deep malt body to match.”

My Description: This is just an OK Malt IPA. I understand what they were doing by creating a summer IPA but the maltiness and the hoppiness just didn’t seem to blend that well together in this beer. It starts off with a really nice fluffy off-white head that thins down but lasts until the last drop.  The lacing is really nice and hangs on for a few minutes. The aroma is filled with hops and some maltiness that smells enticing. The first thing I noticed when I first took a sip is that this beer just seems slightly over carbonated, it’s not a Witbier so I didn’t enjoy this level of carbonation.  The taste is slightly malty and hoppy with some citrus notes that leads to an aftertaste that is bitter but not that satisfying. I would serve this around 45°F and it would pair nicely with cheeseburgers, grilled chicken, or nachos.

ABV: 6.2%  Color: Medium Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 6/10

CIRCUS BOY: 76 Points

Designed for circus folk perhaps?

This hefeweizen is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description:  “Unfiltered and unfettered, Circus Boy is a unique and refreshing American-style Hefeweizen. Is he a who? Or a what? Or perhaps some of both? Be amazed by the flavorful haze of this wonderful wheat beer.”

My Description:  Unfortunately, this did not quench my thirst for a good hefeweizen. There are better versions of this style out there. It has weak, white colored head with absolutely no retention and very little lacing. The aroma is faint with only the minor hint of lemon, which is disappointing because I was hoping for a little more. It is roughly light bodied with an average carbonation level. The flavors are subtle and distant with only the flavor of lemon standing out. The aftertaste has a touch of spice with a hint of some herbalness. The Germans would be pissed about this. This beer is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with burgers, roasted vegetables, or grilled shrimp.

ABV: 4.5%  Color: Straw  Sweetness: 1.5/10  Bitterness: 1/10

DREAM MACHINE: 79 Points

Who Dreamed This?

Who Dreamed This?

This IPL is available year-round in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Dream Machine, an India Pale Lager or IPL, is a melding of varied visions of an India Pale Ale and an Amber Lager. Once poured, its light copper color delights the eyes and a citrusy hop aroma flows through the nose. Upon first sip, a smooth hop bitterness reveals itself – fresh, bold and slightly spicy – before subtle hints of mild maltiness appear. A big hop bite and a crisp, clean lager finish combine for a beautifully balanced beer. Take Dream Machine for a spin and let your reverie begin.”

My Description: It seems like the all the correct ingredients are here but the execution is lacking some. It pours a good sized, off-white colored head with a retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind some spotty lacing. The aroma is welcoming with notes of caramel malt, bread, grass, and some mild hop spice notes. Dream Machine is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile follows the nose nicely. A noticeable malty backbone holds up faint notes of floral hops, bread, caramel malt, and some citrus hops but it seems to thin out in the aftertaste. The finish in this beer is what is holding this IPL back; it doesn’t have to be a bitter monster but the taste I’m getting is almost stale-like and boring. I could use a lot more bitterness to keep the flavor profile balanced nicely and to make this a more satisfying IPL. It still makes for a nice session beer though. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with grilled sausage, warm pretzels, or mild cheeses.

ABV: 5.7%  Color: Golden Copper  Sweetness: 3/10  Bitterness: 3.5/10

ELDER BETTY: 74 Points

The quality is just not there

This Weiss Style Ale is released seasonally in the Summer months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Elder Betty is a weiss-style ale with a bready malt flavor balanced by a touch of hops and complimented by the tart berry flavors of elderberry.”

My Description: There are many great things about summer, unfortunately this beer is not one of them. It has a sub-par, light tan colored head that dissipates quickly leaving nothing behind. The aroma is probably the best part of the beer with a nice fragrant note of elderberry accompanied by a touch of wheat malt. It is roughly lighter bodied with a higher carbonation level and a lip smacking finish. The beer has a noticeable berry component that is slightly tart accompanied by a touch of spice and citrus. There is also some grain notes in there but the flavors just fade too quickly and the beer is too watery. The aftertaste has a berry flavor to it but it leaves me feeling unsatisfied and irritated. It is smooth and easy drinking but nothing I would purchase again. It is best served around 40°F and pairs nicely with salads, coconut shrimp, or grilled chicken.

ABV: 5.5%  Color: Golden/Orange  Sweetness: 3.5/10  Bitterness: 1.5/10

HEX “OURTOBERFEST” ALE: 87 Points

Enjoy the Smoke

This seasonal Octoberfest is available between August and October. This has an IBU of 25 and a SRM of 18. This is available in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A malty amber ale with hints of toffee and coffee and a slightly smoky finish.”

My Description: This is a different take on a traditional Oktoberfest that works nicely while you’re sitting next to a bonfire in Autumn. It has an off-white colored head that is thin but it holds on for the whole way. However, the lacing was just non-existent. The aroma is on the malty side but you will pick up on some toffee notes as well. It’s an aroma that is rough in a pleasing way. As you drink this beer you will notice it is malty accompanied by some toffee and grain notes which gives way to an aftertaste is bitter and slightly smoky. Although, I did not really pick up on any caramel notes. The finish will be a bit dry and that works with the flavors and texture of the beer. It is medium bodied and fairly smooth and crisp. I like this take on an Oktoberfest because the addition of a smoke flavor reminds me of Autumn. I would serve this at least at 42°F and it would pair well with sausages, roasted duck, or grilled shrimp. $9 for a six pack.

ABV: 5.4% Color: Brownish Amber Sweetness: 3/10 Bitterness: 5.5/10

HI.P.A.: 83 Points

The Columbus Hop

The Columbus Hop

This IPA is released in their Spring Variety Pack in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “A highly hopped India Pale Ale, which was formerly our spring seasonal. It began and ended with a hop bite that is itself forever balanced on the brink by a steady rhythm of malt.  The label was designed by artist Stanley Mouse who is internationally acclaimed for his iconographic concert posters for venues like the Fillmore Auditoriums and the Winterland Ballroom as well as his classic album covers for the Grateful Dead and other bands.”

My Description: According to Magic Hat’s website, this IPA is brewed exclusively with Columbus Hops and the beer showcases this hop nicely but it does have some negatives. First off, it pours a good sized, white colored head with a great retention level that holds the whole way leaving behind some lacing. The aroma is pleasant and clean with notes of malt, grass, herbal hops, and some mild earthiness. Hi.P.A. is medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is enjoyable with notes of citrus hops, grains, some grassiness, and herbal hops. This transitions into the aftertaste that is moderately bitter with a lingering orange note. However, the beer seems to thin out a bit in the finish and the alcohol begins to show itself slightly as the beer warms. This is still a nice presentation by Magic Hat and pairs nicely with jerk chicken, roasted brussel sprouts, or grilled lamb chops.

ABV: 6.7%  Color: Gold  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 5/10

PISTIL: 76 Points

Taste the harsh weed.

Taste the harsh weed.

This herbal ale is available in the Spring season in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Stop and smell the petals. Pistil is a summer beer unlike any other, brewed with a combination of dandelion petals, Pale and Acidulated malts, flaked oats, and Apollo and Northern Brewer hops that results in a one-of-a-kind beer with a slightly sour acidity and a smooth malt body. Perfect for taking down deep thirst.”

My Description: This ale is unique in the sense that it uses dandelions. However, I would like to see a quality brewer use this ingredient because this beer is harsh and not satisfying. The head is pretty good though. It is large and foamy with a white color and good retention level. The aroma is the worst part of this beer. It is very harsh and unwelcoming with notes of grass and flower. Pistil is light/medium bodied with a higher carbonation level and a semi-dry finish. The flavor profile consists of pale malt notes, herbal and grass notes, with a hint of spice. The aftertaste is slightly bitter with a touch of sweetness. As the beer warms, a lemon note begins to make an appearance. It is best served around 45°F and pairs nicely with light salads, margarita flat-breads, or sushi.

ABV: 4.5%  Color: Hazy Straw  Sweetness: 2.5/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

SÉANCE: 72 Points

Do not communicate with this beer!

Do not communicate with this beer!

This Saison is released seasonally in August and September in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Séance is a dark, complexly concocted Saison, rich with earthy hues and flavors. A mild tartness begins the journey, and an underlying hop bitterness sweeps the senses through a newly opened door of the mind, where you will soon find subtle hints of ripe fruit, bringing you to a place few dare to roam.”

My Description: It is never a good sign when the head of a beer is its best feature. This beer has a very large, light beige colored head that lasts forever and leaves behind a great amount of lacing that glues on. The aroma is interesting enough; it is dominated by malty notes like caramel and tobacco but there is also some spice and earthiness accompanied by a touch of funk. Overall, the aroma is intriguing. Séance is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. Although the beer has flavor, it feels thin and very lackluster. The flavor profile is similar to the aroma in that it is dominated by malty notes with some hints of toasted bread and tobacco with some earthy notes but that’s about it. It is lacking Saison notes like Brett, funk, grass, light fruits, etc. This tastes more like a crappy Brown Ale with harsh hops. I would not repurchase. It is best served around 50°F and pairs nicely with roasted turkey.

ABV: 4.4%  Color: Dark Brown  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10

SINGLE CHAIR: 70 Points

No need for a second

No need for a second

This Golden/Blonde Ale is released seasonally in the Winter months in 12 oz. bottles.

Brewer’s Description: “Single Chair celebrating the uniqueness of the Mad River Glen Cooperative Ski Area in Vermont. Medium bodied and ideally balanced for all tastes, Single Chair Ale’s tempting light golden color, heady aroma and smooth liquid go down effortlessly and often!”

My Description: This is basically another below average beer from Magic Hat. This ale pours a weak, white colored head that forms a thin film that hold most of the way leaving behind very little lacing. There is really nothing exciting going on in the aroma; some hints of pale malts and floral hops accompanied by a touch of light fruits. Single Chair is light/medium bodied with a moderate carbonation level and a dry finish. The flavor profile is just as boring as the aroma. Hints of grains and honey blend with notes of herbal and floral hops. The aftertaste is minimally bitter and doesn’t really satisfy. This beer isn’t necessarily horrible but I can’t see how a craft brewery would be proud of this. Drink this cold to hide some of the flavors and pair it with cheesecake, roasted asparagus, or a light pasta.

ABV: 5%  Color: Light Gold  Sweetness: 2/10  Bitterness: 2.5/10