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

Preface: This is the second bottle that came in the recent package from the good folks at Magic Hat. The promotional material that came with this gave the following specs for the Magic Hat Odd Notion (Spring 09):

Style: Poppy Agave Pilsner
Appearance: Light golden in color.
Flavor: Sour accents of organic agave with poppy seeds planting a sweet, nutty balance.
Malt: Pilsner and Munich
Hops: Hallertaur
Additions: Organic agave syrup, natural blue poppy seeds
OG (Plato) 12.5
SMR: 6
IBU: 15
Alcohol by volume: 5%

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: Here we have a hard-cider-yellow brew, topped with a rather dense creamy white head of small bubbles. The Belgian lace is admirable.

Aroma: On opening the bottle there was an obvious fresh hop sensation perceived. The first impression on “nosing” (inhaling the first aromatic sensations) is of non-malt sweetness and a bit of a citric undertone. The second impression reinforces the first. The lip-to-sip was remarkably uneventful.

Mouth feel: This is a medium bodied beer with a medium carbonation. The tang that is non-hop adds to the slight acidic spike of carbolic acid from the carbonation…

Flavor: An initial refreshing sensation is followed by a series of very slowly developing flavor sensations. The agave seems to find an attraction to the usually delicate Hallertaur that is close enough to be incest. Sorting the two out is possible only after more time has passed and the pallet looses the touch of hops and is left with what must be agave. (Tequila is not one of my favorite spirits.) I am still waiting for the poppy seed sweet to call.

Finish: This is a long finishing brew that allows you to enjoy sorting out the agave and hops flavors. (Don’t think too much though… this is a fun beer…)

Comments: My impression is that the brewers at Magic Hat enjoy trying things that not only would other brewers not try… they have left the “box” and unfolded the “envelope” to play with flavors and aromatic sensations. Sometimes the results are ethereal, sometimes the results are pleasant and sometimes they are just there.

The psychic vibes, after all this is from Magic Hat, I get from this brew is a longing for spring that can be tasted. (I went to Norwich University in Vermont so I can relate to that longing for the end of winter and the glorious “mud season” that heralds the arrival of Spring.)

I would pair this beer with at least six friends (that way you will need two six packs) and hour or two of discussion about what “spring” means.

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