Time for a Beer Break

| July 5, 2011 | 1 Comment

Fine Not Quite Pale Beer from Magic Hat Brewery Vermont
Solo sample Magic Hat #9 at the Fly Bar. Next tasting to be announced soon.

We are running along at a hundred degrees daily now, and that would be fantastic for the 350 Chevy in my Land Cruiser, but no, that’s the temperature in the shade of the Fly Bar at about six every night. The dogs pant, the chickens pant, and sometimes we all pant together.

What’s one to do, but resume in earnest, the search for the best beer of the Summer of Scorcher 2011.

It’s patently obvious that the beer breweries made a conscious decision to imitate their rich cousin, wineries, a some time ago, and invest time, energy and money on labels. Being employed in the visual realm, it works like a trance on me. A summertime label gets my attention for a summer beer, just as dark beers in the dead of winter with their dark, chocolate infused contents, and darker labels reach out and grab my mitten on cold nights.

There are some obvious beers from blatantly beer states that appear every summer, and get at least a little lip service from yours truly. After a few summers, that thrill is gone, and the search begins again. There is the imbalanced offering from Shiner “Ruby Red” that’s awfully close to a wine cooler flavor, and a slew of other micro brews, both real and fake, that pop up on the radar like a Florida Keys squaw line and disappear long after our tastebuds have had enough.

None of the usual suspects will do anymore, so on a search for a summery pale ale, I stopped in at the Midway Mart to see what label reached out and said “SUMMER!”

Magic Hat #9 Label on Six Sleeve
Bottom of a Magic Hat Brewery six sleeve. Don’t forget to always check the bottoms!

Screaming from the cooler was the bright orange six pack sleeve of Magic Hat Brewing Company out of … South Burlington, Vermont? OK, I have GOT to get out more often. Magic Hat #9, described as a “not quite pale ale” with the swirly modernized psychedelia graphics found its way into my grip and out the door.

Have your ever tasted sunshine? Have you ever seen a bottle of sunshine? It’s too soon to tell whether this will be “THE BEER” of the summer – especially with a trip to Louisiana looming in August (no telling what we’ll find there), but we finally have a contender. The aroma is complex, and about the time you think you can nail it, you nose something else in the frosted glass. It is no less sophisticated going down as it is in the nostrils. It quenches, is fresh and has just enough spice to make the thermometer seem to drop a few degrees. Drink two, and you won’t be able to read the thermometer (careful now).

At ten bucks a six, you know you are moving in a different circle, and balking at this beer because of cost would simply walk a run in for the other team. Get yourself a six pack of Magic Hat Brewing Company’s #9, and tell us what you think.

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Eating and Drinking

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I write. I photograph. I fish, and I live.

Comments (1)

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  1. joel hays says:

    Hmmmm. VERY interesting. I’m heading to Metzler’s right now to see if I can find some. Been trying to find a good “summer brew” for a month now and the closest I’ve come is New Belgium’s Sommersault and Sierra Nevada’s Summerfest. Close, but not quite there.

    You’re dead on about the Shiner Ruby Red . . . YUCK. I have not seen a “special release” from Shiner in the past three years that was worth a shit.

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