Magic Hat is one of those breweries whose stuff I like but when it comes around to doing a review folks come over and drink all the beers I have and there is nothing left to review. So I have only reviewed one to date - Revell porter out of the winter 12 pack. This time it will be different. I am going to defend the stash against perps and foist paper and pen upon them.
What I like about Magic Hat is that they do light ales well. Not thin - light. It is easier to make a big beer than a small one and in this biggie world there is a mad rush to bigosity. This summer 12 pack says no. It says I will not bow to loud Lord Big. There is the lightly fruity #9, the gentle wheat beer Hocus Pocus, their wit by name of Batch 370 and Fat Angel which is something of a rich malty ale...but an unbig one. All displaying a deft hand. Their website displays something of a daft hand, by the way. One of the guys who started it is now a baker of treats near a pal of mine's place. I will have to interview him one fine day on the whole nuttiness thing.
- #9: Effervescent orange ale spewing masses of tiny white bursting bubbles. Peach juice. Aroma and taste of peach juice. In the mouth it morphs into a bit of grainy wheat or pale ale maltiness and twiggy hop. Not too far off the idea of a dry Irn Bru, the Scottish soda pop. Light not too sweet, quaffable and refreshing...but lots of peach. If you are against it, as some 12% of advocates are, you are really against it.
- Batch 370: White foam and rim fed again my a very active carbonation, this time in a Belgian wit...but the BAers say it is a version of a German hefe! Hmmm...no banana or clove to hand that hat on. How odd. Amber with a bit of orange. Cloudy with yeastie floaties. Dry and orange peely over lemon. Again, twiggy drying hops. There is lots of yeast tanginess and nice spice. Not a real corriander or other spice presence but the raw wheat gives a flour-dusty and creamy effect that sets it apart and is quite likeable. Is this an ok US version of a wit...or a hefe...or what? I dunno. It is a light summer ale and in itself it is not neither wicked or the other sort of wicked. I'll have another if that is the way the guest grabbing plays out.
- Hocus Pocus: again a highly active ale, this time light straw under white foam. A bit grassy nicely offset by a touch of twiggy and metallic hops. The center is somewhat vegetative - not fruit but faintly like the green of celery or broccoli. Underneath milky yeast but still a dry beer. I think of the four this is my favourite. I am surprised that 21% of BAers do not like this as I find it a simple but clean balanced summer wheat ale with true real flavours.
- Fat Angel: Again light but the least of the four. A hint of crystal malt and maybe even a hint of smoke. Reddish amber with a white rim. Quite still unlike the other three. The same signiture grassy tang. Like the Hocus Pocus I would call the light touch on the hops twiggy and metallic. I don't think I like this one that much though I have been far more offended by ales in my life. There is again that dry heart that I would think is wheat malt but it does not meet well with the sweeter notes. The advocates rate it positively but with a low average.