Friday, February 18, 2011

Not So Magical

Yesterday was much more like a day in mid May rather than mid February. To be inside would have been criminal. After a day spent running around town and taking the kids to the park I was ready for a beer or four. I cracked open the new Magic Hat Spring Variety 12 Pack that I had acquired earlier in the day*.

The first beer was called Vinyl Lager. Even though it calls itself a lager it reminded me more of an amber ale and it had a flavor I couldn't quite place. I went and put on my lounging around shorts, took off my socks and sat down on the couch. I haven't really been sockless or slipperless in the house since around Thanksgiving and it reminded me of the warmth of spring. Vinyl really added to that ambiance as soon as I placed the odd flavor, peanuts in the shell. I immediately thought of the hundreds of hours I've spent at the K sitting in the right field seats eating peanuts and drinking a beer. If you're not a baseball or peanut fan I don't think you'll like the Vinyl, I barely do, but it definitely tastes like spring.

Next up was Demo which I picked because it said it was an IPA. I was kind of confused when it poured out quite dark so I guessed it was the elusive black IPA. I'm a pretty big fan of the show  "My Strange Addiction" (go ahead and click that link, you'll feel a hell of a lot better about your own life) which has featured a lady who eats Comet, a lady who eats chalk and a lady who eats couch foam. This week the show featured a lady who was addicted to eating cigarette ashes. I only bring that up because Demo kind of tasted like cigarette ashes and given the choice, I'd pick the lady's addiction to eating cigarette ashes over having another Demo.

Circus Boy, a hefeweizen, was the next beer to find its way into my Lagunitas Mason jar. It's kind of weird to have a hefeweizen in February but Circus Boy isn't your everyday hefeweizen. It's a little more dark and moody than the standard. I think Magic Hat might have created a new style I'd call Winter hefeweizen. Winter hefeweizen is lighter on the citrus, not quite as bright on the tongue and just a bit more dank like the middle of snow covered compost pile. Circus Boy was mildly enjoyable, but I don't think the Winter hefeweizen style's going to catch on.

#9 was the last of my journey through the Magic Hat variety pack. #9 is one of those beers that people either kinda like or absolutely hate (I don't think anybody loves #9). I'm in the kinda like category, but I like a good fruit beer. I'm not saying it's a good fruit beer namely because it's made with a fruit I dislike greatly, the demon apricot. #9 hides that apricot pretty well, but it's there. #9 proclaims itself "not quite pale ale" and I mostly agree with that, it's also "not quite a fruit beer". It falls into a somewhat nice middle ground. Plus, I can't go without saying that I absolutely love numbers divisible by 3, there's something so wonderful about seeing a number like 165 and immediately adding all the numbers together to see if they're divisible by 3 (1+6+5=12, 12 is divisible by 3, so 165 is divisible by 3). Does anybody else do that obsessively? If not, forget I said anything.

Magic Hat spring variety packs are available only in Missouri. The Vinyl Lager is also available in six packs. It was an interesting ride through the Magic Hat variety pack, but I won't be going back for more.

*Disclaimer: I received my variety pack gratis from a representative inclined to sell Magic Hat products. This freebie did not affect my review, but you can be the judge of that.


  1. For some reason, I'm going to go ahead and drink one more Demo before calling it one of the worst beers I've had in my life. I took my first sip of it out of the bottle and nearly spit thinking it was going to taste something like an IPA.

    Circus Boy is aptly named, as it tastes like a carnie who lathered himself in Patchouli oil to cover up his BO.

    Can't wait to crack open Vinyl tonight!

  2. Demo is definitely in the worst 5 beers I've ever had, a tough list to crack now that Weston has 5 beers. It was just completely awful, I think I'll save the last 2 for the next Gents meeting.

    Vinyl's not bad, it's just weird having that peanut flavor in there.

  3. I tried a #9 the other day and the over-riding taste sensation was that of.....weak soap. Price point of $2.99 made me start thinking that this could be another Hop Stoopid-esque value with strong taste at a very agreeable price. Wrong.

    Just a weird brew. I don't know much about Magic Hat but doubt I give their stuff much of a try.

  4. Hmmm, last year they had an IPA in their summer variety pack that was very good -- but it was apparently the Blind Faith, not the Demo. They also had the Odd Notion in that one -- which was great. Unfortunately their summer Wacko is not good.

    My wife is a huge fan of the #9 because it tastes like a summer beer without being too fruity. I'm a "like it well enough" kind of guy for that one.

    And yes, I do the divisible by 3 thing all the time too...

  5. I'm with you--I think #9 is okay, but I can't see me going out of my way to get it. The vinyl was kind of odd, the hefe was pretty crummy, and I don't know what the heck was going on with the beer masquerading as an IPA. But I definitely can't put any of those in my 5 worst beer list, because buddy, I've drunk a lot of crappy beer. I enjoy your blog, keep it up and I'll keep reading.

  6. It has been said that Magic Hat uses an English style yeast, known as Ringwood, for all their brews. This strain has a traditional Yorshire flavor and is popular with New England brewers, Shipyard being another brewery that uses Ringwood.

    These commercial brewers like the speedy and efficient fermentation, plus it readily drops out of suspension reducing the need for extensive filtering. It is notorious among homebrewer's for needing special handling to avoid producing undesirable fruity and buttery flavors.

    Based on this