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12-18-00

Beer Review #311 G-Thing

12-18-03The good folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their winter beers. The first was a return to the line-up in Heart of Darkness. I still really enjoy that beer and I’ve actually gone to seek out more on my own accord. Today’s beer is named G-Thing. When I read the label my first thought was “that’s an awesome gingerbread man” and my second though, well more of a song, was Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Ain’t Nothing But A G Thang. Yup, I went there.

G-Thing pours a nice deep dark brown that I half expected in a winter beer. There is a slight tan-ish head, but not a ton going on. The note of this beer is really interesting. You obviously get some ginger, and a good dose of it. Being the ginger there are some really nice bready notes. This beer surprised me in it’s ability to capture as much malt as it did. I wasn’t expecting that much malt to come through when compared to the ginger.

On the first taste I was very open to the malt flavors. They flowed in nicely and exhibited some nice dark caramels and bread notes. The ginger spice comes in about halfway through the drink and makes for a wonderful addition. I will full admit that I’m not much of a ginger fan, but this beer stays in balance. I didn’t get much in the way of hops but the beer finishes dry. It reminds me of an English style beer in that the malt and body are there until the end.

It was pretty easy to drink this beer quickly. It was refreshing and had a nice mix of flavors to stay interesting as it warmed. With the holidays quickly approaching this beer would make for a nice drinker during a holiday party. With the cold weather that we have had here on the east coast, I have found myself turning to this style of beer. I think it fits the season nicely and fulfills the goals of a seasonal beer.

06-14-03

Beer Review #296 Blind Faith

06-14-03Along with Elder Betty and HiCü, Magic Hat Brewing Company sent me Blind Faith, an IPA that comes in at 6.2% ABV. Magic Hat puts out a lot of IPAs as part of their IPA tour and this is one that I’ve had the chance to try before. I’m on a bit of a IPA kick right now so a free IPA made me super excited.

Blind Faith pours a deep orange color. It is perfectly clear and has a thin off-white head. The nose has a good amount of hops. The hops are pretty grapefruity with other citrus flavors in there. I guess the best way to describe them is floral and bright. I didn’t get much in the way of malt; just hops.

On the first sip I was really to find that this beer has a malt backbone. There are some light caramel flavors to begin with that lead into some bready flavors. A light hop flavor of citrus comes in and reminds you that you are drinking an IPA. The citrus is light and really warms the beer up and then a good smack of pine flavor comes in at the end to clean it all up and assert the IPAness of the beer.

I’m always a fan of a balanced beer and this one fits the bill. The hops are clean and bright and pack a good helping of flavor. The malt balance is spot on as well. While I’ve had better IPAs before, this is solid and could be a staple of some other breweries. (more…)

06-10-03

Beer Review #295 HiCü

The nice folks over at Magic Hat Brewing Company recently sent me a few samples of their summer beers for this year. There are two new beers to this year’s summer sampler and one returning beer, Elder Betty. Elder Betty now comes in cans, pictured below. You can read my full review of the beer below but I still like this one as a good, light, summer beer. My wife really digs it. Today’s beer, HiCü is a new one to me. The bottle immediately caught my eye because it says the words “cucumber” and “hibiscus.” I knew I was in for an adventure before opening this bottle.

06-10-0706-10-03HiCü pours a nice orange color with a thin off-white head. There may have been some slight haze in this one, but my glass fogged up pretty quickly (thanks stupid warm weather) and I couldn’t get a clean look. The nose is cucumber. It’s crazy to say but this beer reeks of cucumber. I’ve never smelled a beer like it. My wife has face wash that smells pretty close to the nose of this beer. There really isn’t much else in the way of hops or malt, just a concentrated cucumber smell.

On the first taste I got a bit of sweetness upfront followed by an odd bitterness. Perhaps it was the hibiscus, but the bitterness was not only hop based. It has a strange twang to it that I’m not totally sure if I enjoyed or not. The cucumber flavor comes in at the end and cleans up the beer nicely. I really liked the aftertaste on this beer. The cucumber flavor is so different for a beer that it makes you want to keep drinking it to see if you are really tasting it.

This is a really interesting beer. There are only a few beers that I can truly say surprised me with interesting flavors, and this is one of them. I really wish the bitterness was toned down a bit. Doing so would make this beer super drinkable. I felt like I had to fight though the weird bitter flavor to get to the good part of this beer. This one comes in at 4.2% so it’s sessionable. Try this one out if you get a chance and see if you can pinpoint the bitterness for me.

Beer Reviews #276 Ticket to Rye

03-02-03 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. (more…)

Beer Review #273 Saint Saltan

02-26-03Disclaimer: 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. (more…)