Magic Hat Brewery and Performing Arts Center
5 Bartlett Bay Road
South Burlington, VT 05403

Preface: The good folks at Magic Hat sent me this bottle of Magic Hat H.I.P.A. (Spring 09) along with their Odd Notion Spring 09 (with poppy seeds and agave). The promotional material that came with these brews gave the following specs for the Magic Hat H.I.P.A. (Spring 09):

Style: An American India Pale Ale
Appearance: Golden in color.
Flavor: The Barest hint of a malty middle in the center of the mouth, with a long, dry finish.
Malt: English Pale
Hops: Columbus
Dry Hopping: Columbus
OG (Plato) 16.5
SMR: 7
IBU: 45
Alcohol by volume: 5.8%

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: This is a slightly cloudy burnished copper/gold brew topped with a full head of large and medium sized bubbles that quickly relax into a very rocky almost white head that leaves a strong Belgian Lace.

Aroma: The first impression is of a new-mowed lawn. Second impression brought a slightly sweet malted barley aroma to the front, more or less. Finally the lip-to-sip confirmed the hops as the dominant flavor. The new-mowed lawn is joined by a very slight lemon aroma.

Mouth feel: This is a medium bodied beer with a full carbonation that adds both a creamy sensation and a slight acidic spike.

Flavor: After the initial refreshing sensation of the cool liquid, an immediate hop presence is experienced, with a firm hand shake and slap on the back for the taste buds in the mouth. Then a sharper hop flavor, not quite citric, not quite metallic, washes through the aromatic sensors and remain comfortably ensconced on the rear of the pallet.

Finish: This is a long finishing brew with more of a savory rather than cleansing effect…
Comments: Pale India Ales are difficult for me to decipher. First, because there are so many sub-styles. Once you add anything other than English two-row malted barley or English hops it becomes something other than Pale India Ale. However, if the essence of the style is to have a medium alcohol and medium bodied brew with enough hop flavor to grab your attention without becoming hop-tea, that this is an I.P.A.

I would venture to say that this is a brew that would be best served as a “dinner” beer. It would enhance a hearty soup, then great a well flavored savory entrée with open arms and not be intimidated by either a sweet or fruit for the last dance.

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