Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample
The other beer that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me is a Rye IPA, dubbed Ticket to Rye. I take it as a play on the board game Ticket to Ride. I would like to take credit for incorporating Ticket to Ride into beer before anyone else to my knowledge. Ladies and gentleman of the jury, example 1. Again, if you haven’t played it, you should.
Ticket to Rye pours a nice caramel brown color with bit of red mixed in when held up to the light. It has a two finger off-white head along with a bit of haze. The nose has some solid citrus and pine hops. The hops are edging on pungent, but don’t make it all of the way there. Some really hoppy beers have a different level of hop aroma and produce an odor that takes on a life of its own. This beer is close, but stays out of the world. The hops end with a nice spicy note that may or may not come from the rye malt. There is some sweet malt mixed in the smell as well but the hops are the showcase here.
The taste has some really nice hoppy flavors. The citrus from the nose isn’t really there but the pine sure is. The spicy hops also make a valuable flavor contribution. The hops actually lean a bit towards the grassy flavor spectrum. A lot of people talk poorly about grassy flavors but it works in some beers, this being one of them. The malt flavor is not distinct but it is present and provides a solid backbone for the hop.
I’m a big fan of rye IPAs and this is a good one. It finishes nice and dry. I don’t get a lot of rye. I’m a poet and I didn’t even know it. As an IPA this beer provides a good hop punch with a solid malt backbone. Ticket to Rye comes in at a nice 7.1%. It is very enjoyable and I would be happy to purchase this beer. Continue reading →
Disclaimer: This beer was sent to me by the brewery as a promotional sample
Magic Hat Brewing Company was nice enough to send me some samples of their spring seasonal variety pack. Included is today’s beer, a Rye IPA, and a second yearer Pistil. I’m not going to re-review Pistil as I have already done it here, but it was much more flavorful then I remember it being. I remarked last year that it would be nice on a warm day, but I had it while it was sleeting out and found it very quenching. Anyway, on to today’s beer, Saint Saltan which is a Gose that comes in at 4.6%. The brewery has the following to say about the beer:
A pious piece of a seldom-brewed German style, Saint Saltan is tart, light and crisp. Salt and coriander combine with traditional Hallertaur hops to create a holy and sessionable sipping experience.
Saint Saltan pours a nice golden color with a slight haze that clears as the beer sits. There is a thin white head that also fades as the beer is allowed to breathe a bit. The nose is nice and bready along with some honey malt odors. It is actually a little grainy and smells fresh. I didn’t get any hops or anything else to make note of. The earthy grain smell is wonderful on this one.
On my first taste I was actually surprised to taste a nice bit of salt. Usually I’m not a fan of salty beers (especially in IPAs) but this beer’s salt component is minor, but noticeable. The slight salt then fades into a mild sour note. As I continued to drink the beer the salt and sourness faded away and some really nice malt flavors came out. Nothing on this beer is super assertive in the flavor department but each piece says quiet and comes out in stages. It was really interesting to taste the flavor progression on this one. You usually don’t get sour notes that fade away, but they really do on this one.
This beer is easily drinkable and enjoyable. At 4.6% you could easily knock a few of these out in a sitting. It’s not my preferred beer style per say but I did find myself disappointing that they send a limited number of samples. If anyone from Magic Hat is reading this I would like to demand more free samples /sarcasm. This beer is pretty solid and I think that I would enjoy it while watching my Phillies fail in Spring Training. Continue reading →
The last beer in my winter sampler from Magic Hat Brewing Company is Encore IPA. The bottle says that this is an American Wheat IPA and that it comes in at 6.4%. I’ve seen other breweries refer to wheat IPAs as white IPAs and I am glad that Magic Hat has decided not to follow suit. There really is not a need to distinguish a typical IPA from one made with a higher percentage of wheat malt. I understand the different naming for a black IPA, but most wheat IPAs look like a cloudy version of their base style.
Encore IPA pours a cloudy orange color and has a fluffy white head. The head sinks away quickly in the center and sticks to the sides of the glass. The nose is full of bright citrus hops. I didn’t get any malt smells but I did get a bit of an orange tang, that I will attribute to the hops.
You get a nice malt feeling when first tasting this beer but the malt doesn’t have any stand out characteristics. A good hop bitterness comes in quickly and provides a lot of flavor. The citrus hops start as an orange-like flavor and then move into grapefruit before finishing cleanly. On subsequent sips, the citrus flavor carries though the whole beer and is not only relegated to the second half.
This is not super bitter IPA. I didn’t leave me with a punched in the face by hops feeling but it is full of flavor. I enjoy IPAs that don’t only focus on bitterness but instead focus on hop flavor. It’s a fine line, but Magic Hat did a very nice job on this one. As the last post about Magic Hat beers for this sampling, I want to reiterate how much I enjoyed this group of beers. Each beer was solid and provided some surprises. I would rate the beers in order of review for likeability in my book. All of the beers were good, but the Heart of Darkness stout was just killer. Continue reading →
I have reached the 250 beer review mark. I consider myself accomplished, my wife and parents think that I drink too much. Today’s beer review is the second of three beers that Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me. The bottle says that this beer is an ESB, or Extra Special Bitter, with spruce. I’m not generally a fan of spruce flavored things as it makes me think about tree sap a bit too much. Extra Special Bitter is a bit of a misnomer for many newcomers to craft beer. They are expecting something really hoppy, and an ESB just isn’t that. ESB is an English beer style that, while significantly more bitter than an English Mild, is not all that bitter in the grand scheme of things.
Wooley pours a wonderful clear orange color. It has a thin white head that clings to the side of the glass. The nose is nice and malty. It’s an interesting mike of sweet and dry that you often find in English style beers. There are also some dried fruit odors that are probably the result of the yeast strain used to make this beer. There is a slightly spicy hop smell that lingers in the background along with a slight hint of spruce. Since the spruce was so light in the nose, it gave me hope that it wasn’t going to overwhelm the beer/my taste buds.
There is a nice dose of malt and biscuit on the front end of this beer. It is followed with the fruity esters found in the nose, mainly small bits of plum and cherry. The hops come in on the second half and do a nice job of replacing the other flavors in a balanced way. The hops are slightly spicy and the spruce gives a nice resin taste that adds to the bitterness. Everything mixes nicely to give this beer an earthy quality that I always enjoy.
As I said at the beginning of this review, I’m usually not a fan of spruce flavored anything,but this beer does a good job of keeping that flavor in check. I really enjoyed sipping on this one while getting caught up on episodes of American Horror Story. This beer comes in at 4.5% and I can imagine downing one of these after shoveling some snow when you don’t want something heavy but you also want something with some balls. It’s refreshing and crisp, while delivering plenty of flavor. Continue reading →
The good folks at Magic Hat Brewing Company just sent me a sampler of their Winter Variety pack. Before I get the reviews up I do want to mention that this is my favorite sampler set that they have sent me. Each beer is solid and worth getting. This isn’t me blowing smoke either, I really enjoyed this winter sampling and I’ll probably go out and pick up a case for my holiday parties.
When I saw the Heart of Darkness on the the label I immediately thought of an episode of The Wonder Years when Kevin, Paul, and a troubled friend go out on an illegal camping trip (they lied to their parents). Kevin smokes cigarettes, Paul gets drunk, and they both realize that those activities are not right for their lives. This Heart of Darkness is a bit different, but oddly enough, beer is part of both entities. This stout pours a dark black color has has a thin white head that fades away quickly. The nose is packed with chocolate and roasted flavors. I got a bit of coffee in there as well. There is a slight mention of hops in the background but the other odors really wash it out.
As far as stouts go, you generally have the roasty ones that kill you or the roasty ones that are more subtle. This beer goes more towards the killing range, but in a really nice way. The roasted dark malts and chocolate are really strong at the beginning, but unlike a lot of stouts with similar characteristics, this one get balanced with some nice caramels that come in halfway through the taste and wash away to roast.
I wouldn’t call this stout creamy, but the mouthfeel is full and pleasant. This beer is really nice and roasty but the balance is really, really nice. I’m surprised that this one only came in at 5.7%. Generally the strong chocolates and roasted malts in a beer like this mean that it comes with a with a higher ABV. The last line of my notes say “two thumbs up,” and I think that says everything you need to say about getting this beer. Continue reading →