ATTN KANSANS: MAGIC HAT #9 IS NOW IN YOUR LIQUOR STORES. GO BUY SOME.
IT LOOKS LIKE THIS:
The other beers you can kind of see are Dieu du Ciel!’s* Rosée d’Hibiscus and Schlafly’s Helles Summer Lager. It was the Fourth of July – we were beering while waiting on our dinner to finish cooking itself.
Origin: Magic Hat Brewing Company, VT
Style: Pale Ale/Fruit Beer**
I drank this: on tap all over the East Coast, from a bottle all over the East Coast *and* during a work meeting *and* at home, etc. For those who are interested, I’ll update where I’ve found it in Kansas as I trip over it.
Consider this something of a welcome post to Magic Hat: they just expanded their distribution into my home state. I’m quite thrilled about it. When I moved back to Kansas and realized we didn’t have it here, I was honestly surprised: #9 was one of those beers I saw so frequently while living in Pennsylvania that it became part of the background – it was always there, reliable, easy to drink. It’s flipping lovely to have it within easy drinking distance again.***
So, for those of you who’ve never had it before, #9 is an Apricot Pale Ale. It is not, however, an overly fruity, sticky sweet beer, nor is it a massively hoppy West Coast-style Pale Ale – it essentially splits the difference between an apricot beer and an English Pale Ale. If that description makes sense, that’s really all you need to know. Happy drinking.
For everyone else, #9 has a sweetly fruity, almost honeyed pale malt nose with a touch of citrusy top note. It’s a relatively light-bodied beer with great carbonation and a low enough alcohol level that it’s safe to drink a few of them without worries of headaches and hangovers the next day.
Flavor-wise, it has a light, apricot-y sweetness that blends with the malts (mostly caramelly, biscuity malt flavors) and a light dose of hops. The hops are citrus/grapefruit rather than pine or grass in flavor, cause a light bite on the tongue, and then blend into the overall flavor quite well. The aftertaste is short and subtle – for this reason, it’s a good food beer.
To sum up: if you’re looking for big malt flavor, huge hops and bitterness, tons of alcohol or any other Extreme Beer Experience, this is *not* the beer you want. If, however, you want a beer to enjoy for hours while flopped on a porch in the sunshine, this is exactly what you should be looking for. It’s pretty much compulsively drinkable.
*That right there is some tortured punctuation, even if I think it’s technically correct. Sorry about that.
**The brewery refers to this as a “Not Quite Pale Ale.” Beer Advocate calls it a fruit/veggie beer. I’m more or less splitting the difference because, much as I love the brewery, I can’t quite get myself to quote someone else’s ad copy when it comes to beer styles.
***As a note to Founders, Bells, Russian River, Great Lakes, Southern Tier and Stone (among others): FOLLOW SUIT PLEASE. (I’d love Dogfish Head as well, but I have realistic expectations on that.)