14 June 2012

Not a lot

"BEHOLD the arcane mysteries of Magic Hat No. 9!" said everyone to me, "What convoluted esoteria lie at the heart of its profoundly enigmatic taste? Also: WooOOOooo!" [waggly fingers]. Like the sullen eight-year-old watching a weekend conjuror, I was prepared to be unimpressed. But I opened the bottle anyway.

It's an innocent, pleasant clear amber colour, 5.1% ABV with lots of busy fizz and described on the label as a "not quite pale ale" [waggly fingers]. It comes from a big factory in upstate New York. The aroma is carbonic at first: the fizz leaps out and pinches my nose, and underneath it smells of sweet, rather artificial, apricots.

My perceptions, I regret to say, were not fundamentally altered upon the first sip. What struck me at the beginning is how thin it is, all that fizz has free rein to trample everything else. The main flavour is a sherbety candy sort of thing: Skittles would be my nearest approximation, the wife opted for Kola Kubes, but either way we're firmly in the pick 'n' mix aisle. There's no real finish or aftertaste to speak of.

Part of me would like to think there's some potential in the recipe, that it could be interesting if given a bigger malt base to work from with less interference from the carbonation. But in all honesty I think this is another of those not-quite-really-beer beers, to be filed next to the Desperados and Crabbie's.

Can I have cake now?

14 comments:

  1. Bart: Hey, Houdini! Why don't you saw Martin in half?

    Magician: Oh, I'm not the kind of magician who does tricks. I'm a mathemagician!

    [Kids groan]

    Magician: Now, prepare to marvel at the mysteries of the universe, as I make this remainder disappear. [writes 7 goes into 28 three times]

    Lisa: But 7 goes into 28 four times.

    Magician: Uh, this is a magic 7.

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    1. Is it just me or was the look and voice of the mathemagician based on John Major?

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  2. You'll be delighted to know that the gift shop at the brewery is known as The Artifactorium [waggles fingers]

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    1. If I'm not welcomed at the door by a dwarf in a top hat I want my money back.

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  3. And they play lots of Grateful Dead in the background, when did they move to New York, when I went in 2010 they were in Burlington VT. I didn’t get 9 that well either.

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    1. Burlington is still their spiritual home [waggly fingers] but they were bought in 2010 by North American Breweries and production seems to have moved to their big plant in Rochester, the one which cranks out the Gennesee stuff.

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  4. I would be interested to know how this was sold to you. It's pretty much a better sort of gas station six pack in the NE USA. At a $5.99 price point probably.

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    1. We don't do the six-pack thing so much here. In most places it's €2 to €2.50 a bottle, so on the cheap end of American beer.

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    2. Yikes. That is over three times local price. It's probably the most entry level of the entry levels. Or it is a bridge for someone trying to shake a cold syrup addiction

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    3. It's the most entry level of entry levels here. It's just that we're all a lot richer than you.

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  5. Supposedly girly beer. It's the apricots, apparently.

    I was in The Rake a few years ago, and a group of hip kids wandered in and asked for this. I recognised one of the group as a girl I worked with, so asked why they wanted this beer. They'd been on a long weekend to NYC and had tried it.

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  6. Professor Pie-Tin5:41 p.m.

    I was in The Porch Bar in Key West a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed their draught beer.
    It's the first time I've had it after asking the bartender for a beer that wasn't so hoppy it would give me a dull headache.
    I have to say it was delicious.

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  7. KeeganAles12:29 a.m.

    If it's any consolation, TBN, I suspect it's just the export version that's coming out of Rochester.
    I know NAB do a lot of contract brewing, but they seemingly promised Magic Hat not to move out of Vermont.
    There is a bottling line in Burlington and, as far as I've heard, the only production based in NY is #9 in cans.

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    1. And this version for foreign markets, yes?

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