Thursday, July 08, 2010

Reviews: A bunch of Magic Hat and one Deschutes

The folks at Magic Hat and Deschutes have sent me several beers to review over the past few months, and I’ve been terribly tardy about reviewing them. Hopefully early July isn’t too late to review the summer seasonals, and at least I’m ahead of the curve on the Autumn seasonal.

Magic Hat Odd Notion Summer '10

Nice seasonal. Unfiltered golden ale. Light, easy drinking taste, very refreshing. Easy on the hops, but noticeable. The real highlight is as you swallow – you get this sharp kick of ginger that’s really delightful. I guess that makes it a ginger ale?

The few Magic Hats I’ve tried haven’t left me real impressed (and frankly, I have some friends who agree, so it’s not just me), but here in the Texas heat, this one does the trick.

Magic Hat Wacko Summer Seasonal

Clean drinking, not a whole lot of flavor, but if you’re looking to put away a few on a hot day, this goes down easy.

Magic Hat Roxy Roller Autumn Seasonal

My initial impression is that the flavor is a bit thin for what seems to be trying for a rich heaviness. It just seems like there ought to be more going on here. I decided to let it warm a bit, which helped. Some caramel notes come out. Toast. Strong hops. A bit of sweet fruit hiding deep within. Still, it just feels like something is missing.

Magic Hat IPA on Tour: Blind Faith

Part of a series of IPAs that Magic Hat has been rolling out. Nice fruit notes, something citrusy going on underneath the hops. Yet, like many Magic Hat beers, it’s just not outstanding. See my comment above about “something is missing,” only even more so.

Deschutes Hop in the Dark

I shared this with friends at a party several weeks ago, and I wish I’d taken better notes. But let me just cut to the chase: outstanding. I can only remember so much, but I just remember everyone going “wow, this is great.” It’s a black IPA, a style that seems to be on the rise (Stone has one as well). I remember it being very mellow, with a very balanced hop bite that is subtle, not overwhelming like some IPAs. A touch of coffee. This is part of Deschutes Bond Street Series, available May-September, and I encourage you to grab some now if you can find it – here in Texas, I think all we get from Deschutes is Black Butte Porter and Mirror Pond Pale (seriously, guys, could you at least start sending some Obsidian Stout down here?).

UPDATE: Somebody with Deschutes e-mailed me to say:

You will be getting Hop in the Dark 22oz bottles in Austin. It should be on shelves in Austin by now and a few of the places where you will be able to find it include: Whip In (S. I35), Spec’s Airport, Spec’s Brodie, and Central Markets. Hope this helps and if you don’t see it on the shelves, please ask for it since it should be out until about August.


Fowl Birdwatcher said...

They had obsidian for a while at Draught.

Lee said...

Oh yeah … forgot about that. I had it there one night.