"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?