Thursday, October 11, 2007

Magic Hat

So, I'm a guy who likes to have a good beer or two, every now and then. Maybe more now than then, like right now, as I write this. You might say I'm a bit of a beer snob, I won't try to dignify the situation by suggesting that I'm some kind of connoisseur, I just like some flavor with my suds, whether it's a light Mexican Sol or Pacifico or a German wiess beer, or a good old pint o' Guinness Stout. I'll even take some cheap Genesee Cream Ale now and then. Just please, please, no Budweiser!

So, yesterday I stopped by a local liquor store to pick up a six--in New York State, where I grew up, beer was never sold in liquor stores, but only in supermarkets, grocery stores, and beverage centers, while in New Jersey beer is only sold in liquor stores. And I saw a beer I don't remember seeing before, that really caught my eye with it's orange and brown label and packaging. The brewer's name is Magic Hat (how about that!) located in South Burlington, Vermont, and the name of the beer is the enigmatic #9!!! A reference to The Beatles perhaps--remember Revolution #9 (number nine, number nine, number nine...)--or to Cloud Nine maybe, or the nine lives that cats are said to have?

I really can't tell. But the name is followed by the following description: "flavored not quite pale ale" which is also a bit mysterious. Definitely what McLuhan referred to as a cool medium. In fact, a nice, cold one. Anyway, on the little label on the neck of the bottle I found the following text:

The ancient ritual of brewing a distinctly rich and flavorful beer is nothing short of magic. Our mysterious mix of time-honored ingredients, chaotic chemistry, humble patience, and blind faith age into the secret brew we share in the rousing company of good spirits.

Tell me that's not intriguing, and ya gotta love the reference to chaos theory--maybe a bit of the old magic ecology? So, I open the bottle, and notice that under each cap is a little message--shades of Snapple! The one I just opened said "It's all a Movie, but it's Your Movie" which isn't exactly fortune cookie profound or Snapplishly noteworthy, but does add a little bit of fun to the proceedings.

But none of this means a lick if da beer don't taste good. But if it didn't taste good, I wouldn't be writing this, would I? And it is good, excellent really, absolutely delightful, and surprisingly so. It's definitely on the pale side, light, but it does have a lot of flavor, a fruity quality that's not too strong, just enough to give it a little extra something. The bottom line? I found it utterly delightful.

Now, you may be wondering if this is some kind of paid endorsement. It isn't. This is entirely unsolicited, 100% me just wanting to share this with you, and recommend something that is both interesting in regard to packaging, and a really great beer. I am getting nothing in return for this.

But, if the Magic Hat Brewing Company sees this and wants to send me some more, well, I won't protest.

But even if you are an absolute teetotaler, let me recommend their website to you. I took a look before writing this, and I have to say that it is also quite involved, and a bit mysterious. One frustrating thing about it is that I couldn't copy and paste their images to pretty up this post, or copy and paste their text, so I had to type the following in all on my lonesome--see what I do for you? Here's what they say about #9, which appears to be one of about a dozen or so beers that they sell:

A Beer Cloaked in Secrecy

An ale whose mysterious and unusual palate will swirl across your tongue and ask more questions than it answers.

A beer brewed clandestinely and given a name whose meaning is never revealed. Why #9? Why, indeed.

A sort of dry, crisp, fruity, refreshing, not-quite pale ale. #9 is really impossible to describe because there's never been anything else quite like it.

And they're right! I really can't compare it to anyone other beer I've ever had.

Anyway, the website,, is more than a little strange-looking, intriguing in its imagery, offering "amusements" and "happenings" in addition to information about the beers, a shop with t-shirts and the like, a search engine for finding outlets that carry the beer, and under the heading of "Mother Ode" there's "A Brief and Illuminating History of the Magic Hat Brewing Company, An alchemistic tale of great intestinal fortitude and mental fermentation" all in the form of an extended poem!

I should add that I think there are problems with this web design. It's attractive, fun, intriguing, but difficult to navigate or get a handle on. I'm not sure it's as effective as it could be. But you can go judge for yourself now, if you care to. Me, I'm going to get another #9.

1 comment:

Shy said...

Hmmmmn your preference for stout may indicate Celtic ancestry.... ;) Pobrecito!
I adore you you regardless :)