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Archive for the ‘Vermont’ Category

Feast of Fools Variety Pack from Magic Hat

The Feast of Fools variety 12-pack comes with three bottles each of four different ales, the #9, Lucky Kat, Winter Odd Notion 09, and the Howl (click each beer for my full review).

The variety of beers in this sampler pack is impressive. The Howl and the #9 are about as far apart on the flavor spectrum as you can get. The Howl is a black-as-night winter seasonal with pungent coffee, chocolate, and smoke flavors. The #9, on the other hand, has an incredibly strong apricot flavor.

At $14 for the 12-pack, I think the Feast of Fools is a good deal for anyone who is a fan of Magic Hat. If you aren’t a fan of the #9 or Lucky Kat, I would recommend picking up a 6-pack of Howl this holiday season. In my opinion, it is by far the best of the bunch.

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Magic Hat's #9

The Magic Hat #9, according to the brewer, is not quite a pale ale. I will agree with them. From the psychedelic swirling orange label, to the super strong apricot flavor, this is not your typical pale ale.

The first time I had a #9 I thought it was the greatest beer ever. I was in college, and to be honest, it was probably the best beer I had up to that point. I was like most college students, I preferred quantity over quality. You can’t really play (or afford to play) beer pong with an artisan beer like a St. Bernardus Abt 12.

The #9 is a light, translucent amber color that pours with a thick, fluffy white head. After the head dissipates, it leaves behind pretty nice lacing.

The #9 smells so sweet and fruity that it reminds me of apricot flavored gummy bears. Like the smell, the #9 tastes extremely sweet with flavors of apricot and peach. These flavors, especially the strength of them, will not be for everyone. If you do enjoy these characteristics, you may find this beer very enjoyable.

The #9 is different, and sometimes different is good. My flavor preferences have definitely changed since the first time I tried this interesting ale. I would no longer claim that it is the greatest beer of all time. The thing that I like about Magic Hat is that they try to be different. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

If you enjoy strong fruit (and more specifically, apricot) flavors and aromas in your alcoholic beverages, you need to try this not so pale ale.

Brewery website: http://www.magichat.net/

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Magic Hat's #9

The Magic Hat #9, according to the brewer, is not quite a pale ale. I will agree with them. From the psychedelic swirling orange label, to the super strong apricot flavor, this is not your typical pale ale.

The first time I had a #9 I thought it was the greatest beer ever. I was in college, and to be honest, it was probably the best beer I had up to that point. I was like most college students, I preferred quantity over quality. You can’t really play (or afford to play) beer pong with an artisan beer like a St. Bernardus Abt 12.

The #9 is a light, translucent amber color that pours with a thick, fluffy white head. After the head dissipates, it leaves behind pretty nice lacing.

The #9 smells so sweet and fruity that it reminds me of apricot flavored gummy bears. Like the smell, the #9 tastes extremely sweet with flavors of apricot and peach. These flavors, especially the strength of them, will not be for everyone. If you do enjoy these characteristics, you may find this beer very enjoyable.

The #9 is different, and sometimes different is good. My flavor preferences have definitely changed since the first time I tried this interesting ale. I would no longer claim that it is the greatest beer of all time. The thing that I like about Magic Hat is that they try to be different. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

If you enjoy strong fruit (and more specifically, apricot) flavors and aromas in your alcoholic beverages, you need to try this not so pale ale.

Brewery website: http://www.magichat.net/

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Lucky Kat by Magic Hat

Lucky Kat’s label has a picture of a huge pink cat that looks “up to no good.” I immediately thought of the cat from Alice and Wonderland. I was curious to find out whether this brew was a tamed house cat, or a bad street kitty. I was certainly hoping for the latter.

The Lucky Kat is a 5.8% ABV Pale Ale. It is amber in color and pours with a large, light tan head. The head quickly dissipates but leaves behind some nice lacing.

It has a hoppy aroma with undertones of citrusy fruits and sour apples. The taste is pretty straight forward, a little hoppy with tart and bitter fruit flavors.

This isn’t a very complex IPA, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In my opinion, this is more of a session beer. It is very easy to drink and goes down smooth.

The Lucky Kat isn’t quite the evil street cat that I was hoping for, but a pretty good beer none the less.

Brewery website: http://www.magichat.net/

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The Odd Notion Winter by Magic Hat

According to the label, “Magic Hat’s Odd Notions are a series of exceptional (and mostly odd), limited quantity, specialty craft releases.” I was intrigued by this bold statement and was looking forward to finding out which adjective best described this brew, odd or exceptional.

The label has a picture of a candy-cane colored tower with falling snow and a sleigh in the background. A pretty odd label, if you ask me.

The Odd Notion Winter is brown in color with orange hues around the edges of the glass. It pours with a massive tan head and has strong apricot, orange, and floral aromas.

The Odd Notion has a sour citrus flavor with hints of honey and bready malts that help balance the flavoring. At only 4.5% ABV, this is a very drinkable beer that won’t end your evening after having a couple.

I was expecting a much different beer when I first held the bottle in my hand, which isn’t a bad thing. When I hear winter seasonal, I picture a darker, thicker beer, like Magic Hat’s Howl.

I think the adjective odd does an accurate job of describing this winter seasonal. There was certainly something different about this brew, but then again, maybe that’s what Magic Hat intended.

Brewery website: http://www.magichat.net/

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Howl Winter Seasonal by Magic Hat

Howl Winter Seasonal by Magic Hat

The Howl page on Magic Hat’s website is so damn cool it demands a look. Here is Magic Hat’s description of their dark black ale.

“Born of dark, cold and snow in the MARROW of the North East’s longest night, HOWL comes in on WAILING winds with winter-weary eyes, burning holes in sunless shadows. In it’s darkened depths our inner voids are warmed. HOWL will remain until your bones are thawed, your spirit is freed… and until there is no longer a NEED…”

That certainly got me excited to sample this black ale.

The Howl pours as black as a demon’s soul with a large, caramel colored head. I opened the bottle and set it about two feet away and all of a sudden I was smacked in the face by strong coffee, chocolate, and smoke aromas.

Like the smell, there are chocolate and coffee flavors with hints of roasted malt and smoke. The howl has a pretty low ABV at 4.6%. I was shocked that the ABV was this low after drinking half the beer. There is not a strong alcohol presence, but for as flavorful and dark as the beer is, I just assumed that it was at least 7%.

Being 4.6% definitely makes this a drinkable dark ale. If you are looking for a flavorful, dark seasonal brew to have before hitting the town, this is not a bad option. You will have a HOWL of a good time.

Brewery website: http://www.magichat.net/

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