Wayne and Leah bring you the skinny on another beer!
Greetings readers, this month, being a holiday month, we reviewed a seasonal. Magic Hat Winter Seasonal (MHWS) a.k.a. Howl – Black as Night Winter Lager. Being from Texas, I had never seen Magic Hat, I’m sure it’s there, but didn’t first enjoy it until 3 years ago, while in New Jersey for a work training class. After a long day at a boring training, I went to the hotel bar and had my first Magic Hat beer on draft. It was great! wasn’t the Winter Lager, but rather it was Magic Hat No. 9. We will probably review #9 in the future, but for now, for the Holiday and Winter season, we will review their Winter Lager.
Friday night after work, probably the best time to enjoy a beer, we chilled and drank MHWS. Poured it in the chilly glass beer stein that I had put in the ice box at lunch and was surprised by the rich chocolaty color that emanated from the bottle. I was a little leery about what was about to meet my palate as some dark beers are a little too filling, and we had a dinner or delicious toasted sandwiches and soup prepping. I was pleasantly surprised, full bodied, the first swallow came with a ping of coffee taste. Now, I have experienced this before, a beer with an immediate taste of something likable and familiar, however, in those other cases, the good first injection of taste was followed by a bitter aftertaste. In the case of MHWS, after that first coffeeish taste, there came no bitter or bad after taste. The second and third drinks didn’t have that shot o’ coffee taste, but they were just as enjoyable as the first. MHWS, had that dark beer look, but definitely wasn’t as heavy, was an easy and enjoyable drink. I will remember it with much cherishness.
I agree with Wayne that MHWS looked like one of those heavy dark beers that some people will drink just to prove their metal. MHWS however tasted rich without any bitterness and was particularly enjoyable for a cold winter evening. I myself would still not likely drink more than one in a sitting, because its fairly filling and is more of a “sipping” beer. On a more superficial note, I wish they had released the MHWS before the end of October because the spooky label would have fit in well with our Halloween party decor.
The night we tried MHWS we had soup and sandwiches, and you can never go wrong with beer and a hearty sandwich, but I am not going to let myself off easy for my pairing. I could imagine that Magic Hat Winter Seasonal would go with a nice, pair of pork chops, with a starch dish on the side, maybe a lovely light risotto. Not sure that pork chops and risotto are paired much, but if they aren’t, then they should be, with a good MHWS.
I think MHWS would be great with a blue cheese topped hamburger because its faintly sweet richness would contrast nicely with the sharp fatty richness of the dish. Really this beer would stand up nicely to any non-exotic meaty meal, but I would really suggest you try to also pair your consumption of MHWS with cold weather because somehow I can’t imagine drinking it at any temperature above 50 degrees.
Next time we’re in Vermont, or for that matter, next time any of you readers are, I think you should make a special stop in South Burlington to visit the Magic Hat brewery. Magic Hat #9 is definitely on Wayne’s top ten list, and the MHWS didn’t disappoint either.