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Magic Hat Sampling

Magic Hat Brewing Company’s promotional/marking guy recently sent me an email asking if I wanted a few samples of their new spring beers. While I’m trying to not purposefully get seasonal beers, I’m not going to deny myself some free beer. Within three days of the initial email, I came home to a box sitting on my front step.

I wasn’t sure what the box was but upon closer inspection, the Magic Hat name was clearly written on the shipping label. I went inside and carefully (way too quickly) opened up the box and was greeted with three tubes, one of which had a Magic Hat sticker, and some bubble wrap. I wrestled wit the tubes and I was pleasantly greeted with a sample of each of their spring beers.

Under the bottle tubes was a promotional information packet about the beers. I also received a bottle opener which I must say is a high quality bottle opener. It’s not made of cheap, light metal; this one has substance.

My next three beer reviews will be of these samples. If the people at Magic Hat are nice enough to send me samples, the least that I can do is get reviews of the beers up as quickly as possible. I will make sure to review these beers fairly and put a disclaimer that they were sent to me but I do want to thank the people at Magic Hat for including me.

Beer Review #85 Howl Winter Seasonal

Today’s winter seasonal comes from another Vermont brewery, Magic Hat. Magic Hat Brewing Company is based in South Burlington, Vermont and is one of the larger craft breweries around. This winter beer is classified as a Schwarzbier which is German for black beer. Those Germans sure love their compound words. From my experience they have been light in body and are wonderfully roasty in flavor. Let’s see if Howl meets my prior expectations.

Howl Winter Seasonal pours a very deep brown to black with a nice tan head. If you tilt your glass so that the beer is thin on the edges you can see that it is clear. The aroma coming from this beer is really nice. It is a mix of dark chocolates and roasted coffee. It is not overpowering, but subtle and nice. There is also some slight smoky smells in there.

The taste is nice and smoky. It is super roasty, but not in a biting way. There is a bit of a hop flavor on the end, but it is very slight. Balance is the real shinning point for this beer, everything is just perfect. It’s dark, but not really fully of spices of alcohol. Heck, this beer comes in at only 4.6% ABV. It’s not your typical winter beer, but it does such of nice job of delivering flavors that I don’t mind. Howl really helped me remember how much I like this style of beer. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest you do. It is something a bit different, but very wonderful.

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09-05-28-03

Magic Hat Brewing Company Hi.P.A Beer Review

09-05-28-03Magic Hat Brewing Company has continued to produce some new beers. I recently saw their spring seasonal at the the six pack store, and I was in the mood for something hoppy, so I grabbed it. The bottle looks pretty funky, like something out of the 60’s. Then again, most of Magic Hat’s stuff looks a little on the funky side.

The beer comes in at 5.8% ABV and 45 IBUs. I opened the beer and eagerly awaited the inside the cap message. My first beer said, “break the cage of the digital age.” I always enjoy a beer that has a message inside the cap. Particularly when it is something interesting and not just a list of their awards (Sam Adams).  Hi.P.A pours a cloudy orange color and has a great aroma. It smells almost like raw hops are in it. I don’t know if I got a fresh bottle or not, but it really suprised me. It had a nice head that lasted through the whole beer and had great lacing.

09-05-28-04On the first taste I caught some nice sweet malt with some hops. The hop aroma is much stronger then the actual hop flavor, which could be a good or bad thing depending on what you are looking for. There is  a nice orangy zesty flavor in there. Overal nice and citerousy with good malt to back it up.

I think this is a pretty typical IPA. The hops are there but not overpowering and the smells are great. I might of actually enjoyed the smell more then the actual beer. Not that it is a bad beer, but it isn’t that different from any good IPA. If I saw this again at the six pack store I would probably look around a bit to see if there was anything else I didn’t try yet. I was good, but not great, but if you like IPA this would be right up your alley. (more…)

Magic Hat up huge

This is a few days late, but it is noteworthy, Magic Hat Brewing Company had a 26% increase in sales for 2008. 26% that is insane! The craft beer industry as a whole saw increases around 8% last year. It is also interesting because Magic Hat is expanding to new areas, and they are still seeing increasing sales in markets they already sell to. Magic Hat #9 sales were up 33%.

Magic Hat is the nations 12th largest brewer and is adding a massive addition to their capacity for 2009. They plan on taking production from 127,586 barrels in 2008 to 165,000 barrels in 2009. That is an increase of 37,414 barrels, or 1,159,834 gallons of beer, or 12,371,563 more bottles of beer. Way to go Magic Hat.