Merry Christmas to me!

Posted: December 29, 2010 in Flavor Series, IPA, Winter Brews

This Christmas I got something I look forward to every year, a variety pack.   I was given this year a Magic Hat’s winter variety pack by my brother and Sister in law (thanks guys)!  This 12 Pack includes 4 very top notch beers.  They are; #9, the staple of Magi Hat; Encore, a winter IPA; Howl, their seasonal brew; and current Odd Notion, winter 10.  I am going to review each one in the following post.


#9  A crazy concoction, that is sweet, hoppy, malty and dry all at the same time.  This beer has become so popular because it’s so complex, and flavorful.  Magic Hat themselves are not quite sure how to classify it, so they call it not quite a Pale Ale, which I feel is rather accurate.  This beer has some serious fruity flavors, it used to be my favorite but I am quickly noticing that a few gives me a stomach ache, it’s a great beer to have one or two of but I can’t drink them all night on the town.  It has right around 20 IBU’s so it’s not bitter enough to be classified as a pale ale but you wil get a slight but distinct hop bite at the end.  At 5.1%ABV I wish it wasn’t so sweet as it would be a great all around beer to drink anytime.


Encore, This beer, brings Maltsters and Hop heads together for the holidays.   With aroma’s of Great fruits which remind me of Christmas (I don’t know why), and soft undertones of warm malts, I knew this would be a great beer.  After the first sip I was hooked.  Great malty flavors up front, sweet like honey at first blending in to an intricate dry hoppy finale that will leave you wanting more.  This beer only gets tastier the further down it you get.  Maybe it was the few beers before I had before, but I am not a big IPA fan, and this beer had me hooked, I wanted to keep drinking them but a get rowdy after a few IPA’


Howl, definitely a decent winter time beer, classified as a black lager, and that’s what it is, if they were trying to steer down the path of traditional black lagers they nailed it.  I only pose that somewhat negatively because I know that isn’t Magic Hat’s style and I know they could have done more with it.  Anyhow, this brew has some great malty, buttery biscuit flavor, sure to keep you warm on even the coldest winter nights.   It finishes almost exactly as it started, don’t get me wrong its got flavor its just not the complex beer I have come to know and love from Magic Hat.  If you have never had a Magic Hat before and you picked this one up you would call me a liar, but try some others as well and you will see where I am coming from.  This beer has 4.6% ABV and right around 20 IBUS.


Odd Notion, Winter ’10.  I feel these are the beers that really set Magic Hat apart from other Breweries.  Like Dog Fish Head the President, and the Brew Master do crazy flavors in beers, and release a new one each season.   This winter is Fantastic, classified as a Red Ale it has the flavor and the know how to be a red ale, but here is the twist.  They brewed it with Hibiscus Leaves.  Wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this one but it’s pretty damn good.  The Hibiscus adds such a different flavor to the beer especially to a Red Ale that is really not like anything I have ever tasted before, and I have tasted lots.  The earthy smell of this beer sacred me a little at first, but there was so little hoppy bitterness that I forgot all about the aroma after the first taste.  Needless to say this was my favorite beer in the variety pack and I can’t wait to get my hands on some more.  Maybe someone locally with get it on tap and really make my holiday season.




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