Sunday, November 14, 2010

Brewing Report: Magic Hat Winter Seasonals

Odd Notions – Winter ‘10: We were a little timid to try this one since our experience with the Odd Notions Fall 10 was terrible. This ale was the exact opposite. Where the Odd Notions Fall 10 was overwhelming with strong flavors, this beer was much lighter. It has a caramel color with a good head. Based on the color, you would expect a heavier malty taste, but instead the brew is very light with a mild malt and flowerily background with a slight taste of hops. The lightness is deceiving because it has a 6% alcohol content. The flower notes come from the hibiscus with is brewed into the beer. It definitely doesn’t taste like a traditional heavy winter beer. It has a high drinkability, but not a “must-try”. The Magic Hat brewery describes it as a red ale with subtle spice and a slight zing from rye and Hibiscus petals. We definitely didn’t pick up the spice and zing, but that may be more a comment on our palates than the brewery’s description.

Howl Winter Seasonal – It is a black ale that hits all the right notes – smooth, full of the roasted malt and slight coffee flavors and avoids the bitter notes that often plague a black ale. It is a great complement to winter and the heavy comfort foods that go with it. This is a must try.

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