Archive for the Summer Ale Category

Hex, Hocus Pocus. Magic Hat Brewing Company

Posted in Ale, Summer Ale, Wheat with tags , , , , , on August 26, 2012 by bizzlepop

I’m going to try something different this time. Seeing as variety packs are becoming more and more popular these days, I’m going to do a double review based on the Magic Hat “Participation” variety pack. I’d like to start out by making it clear that the South Burlington, VT brewery is my favorite. Since 1994, they have been making their mark on the small batch craft beer map. They offer an amazingly tasty year round brew, #9, which is included in “Participation” pack. Along with two other year round choices, they also offer seasonal selections, a variety of different, rotating I.P.A.s, and random flavors based on seasonal ingredients such as apple pie, honey, and dandelion. Overall, their creativity is second to none, and the constant threat of any flavor being removed permanently at their discretion is enough to persuade one into trying every possible selection, maybe more than once. #9 and the current I.P.A. “HI.P.A.” are included in this pack. However, this review will focus on their Octoberfest “Hex”, and their back-by-popular-demand summer ale “Hocus Pocus.”

First up, “Hex.” Dubbed “Ourtoberfest” by the brewery, this seasonal selection rings in at 5.4% abv. Right away, its amber color is almost mesmerizing. It has a very full and changing flavor. It starts out crisp and smooth, then gives way to a slightly bitter finish. Not much of a hoppy after taste which is really a nice change of pace from some of the recent beers I’ve been trying. Personally, it brings me back to my first ever Sam Adams Octoberfest. I can imagine the cold, crisp fall weather and the leaves changing. Seasonal beers always seem to give me a great mental picture, and this one is no different. I’ve had it on two separate occasions, and this second time is proving to be much more enjoyable than the first. Overall, this beer has a great earthy flavor prominent in beers this time of year. You’ll have to keep reading to see what my overall rating was for this superb seasonal.


It’s time for something a bit lighter. The color, taste, and logo are all lighter now. “Hocus Pocus” is a summer ale that was at one point discontinued, then brought back at the consumers’ demand. I had this beer during it’s original tour (I’m estimating the summer of ’08 if my memory serves correctly), and was very upset when I couldn’t find it the following summer. This was how I discovered Magic Hat “retires” beers and rarely, if ever, puts them back into production. Fortunately for everyone, this one was given a second life. “Hocus Pocus” weighs it at 4.5% abv, right around the average for a summer ale. Like all Magic Hat concoctions, this has a very complex flavor that works together to create a delicious experience. It starts out light and wheaty (no, wheaty isn’t really a word, but it just seems to fit!) and finishes fruity. There’s a touch of bitterness in the middle, but doesn’t linger as a rush of citrusy fruits wipe the palate clean. Magic Hat offers a year round wheat called “Circus Boy.” As good as it is, it lacks the complexity and fruitiness “Hocus Pocus” has to offer. Personally, I would consider this one of my top 3 wheat beers I’ve had. If you’ve never had, I suggest making a move. This particular variety pack will be pulled from stores around October 15th, and once it’s gone, there is no telling when, if ever, these two choices will be available again. -BW

Hex Final Rating- (4 Pints)

Hocus Pocus Final Rating- 4.5 Pints  (4.5 Pints)



Four+ Sum’r Oragnic Summer Ale

Posted in Ale, Summer Ale with tags , , , on August 15, 2011 by Steve

Sum’r Organic Summer Ale – Brewed by Four+Beers (subgroup of Uinta Beers) from Salt Lake City, Utah – 4% alcohol.

I’m sure you all are having the same reaction I had to this beer. “What the fu….organic beer? Ew”. Seeing how it has “USDA Organic Approved” stamped on the bottle, it’s obviously the real deal. Like I said, the whole organic thing kinda weirded me out. It’s only organic ingredient is “organic barley malt” whatever the hell that means, but……it’s actually pretty good.

Little more bitter and hoppy than I’d expect from a summer ale, but its a light bitterness, subtle, and almost welcome. It’s very different from most summer ales, including the one’s I’ve reviewed here, but it’s a good different. I don’t know how often I’ll run across this beverage, but if I do, I’d definitely pick a nice little 6 pack to enjoy.

When drinking this, I was telling myself it would probably go well with fish or even sushi. Well, according to the website, it contains an uncommon hop from Japan, and they urge you to “Try it with Sushi!” – Well I’ll be…

Anyway, good brew, tasty, don’t let the organicness scare you away because frankly, who cares. It still has alcohol in it and still does the job.

Final Rating –  (3.5 pints)

River Horse Summer Blonde Ale

Posted in Summer Ale with tags , on July 11, 2011 by Steve

River Horse Summer Blonde Ale – Brewed by River Horse Brewing Company in Lambertville, NJ – 4% alcohol.

First instinct when tasting this beer is that it’s simply a real damn good beer. I know it seems like a bunch of summery beers are being reviews but, helloooo, it’s summer. A lot of these are only seasonal, so might as well do it now.

River Horse’s website doesn’t contain a whole lot of information, but Beer Advocate describes this as a blonde ale (probably because of the name…). To make it simple, I’m going to categorize it as a summer ale because I don’t think there is much of a difference. Again, I’m not a beer snob, so if there is, too bad. I don’t care if there is a different fermentation method or whatever, its a damn summer ale.

Anyway, this beer fits the bill. Beer Advocate surprisingly only gave this a grade of a C+ but they’re a bunch of snobs over there who complain about not being enough foam, and not having the enough hints of caramel and it doesn’t sparkle enough and it only has 2.75 inches of foam when poured rather than 3. WHO CARES!!! MEN DRINK BEER! THEY DON”T CARE ABOUT THIS CRAP!! This beer is yummy. It’s tasty. It’s delicious. Got it? It’s light, with great drinkability (6 pack gone in no time). Definitely deserves a spot next to the Corona, Sam Adams Summer Ale,  Blue Point Summer Ale, etc. inside that cooler. Me personally, I say support your microbrewers and leave the Corona at the store. This one is just as good if not better.

As always, if your in the area, you can visit River Horse Brewing Company at 80 Lambert Lane, Lambertville, NJ 08530. The Brewery is opened for samples Friday through Sunday from 12-5pm. Tours on Friday are self guided and Saturday/Sunday are guided at 1,2,3 and 4. Definitely check this place out. I’m putting it on my list. Looks like they have about 6 other beers that sound mmmmmmmmmm tasty.

Final rating – 4.5 Pints  4.5 pints

Blue Point Summer Ale

Posted in Summer Ale with tags , , on June 1, 2011 by Steve

Blue Point Summer Ale – Brewed by Blue Point Brewing Company in Patchogue, NY – 4.39% Alcohol

Blue Point Summer Ale

First, let me start off by saying this review was fate. I’ve always heard of Blue Point, but never tried it. How fitting that the very first review I do on my blog just happens to be brewed in my birthplace of Patchogue, NY. Funny thing is, I didn’t even realize it until after downing my first one and then inspecting the bottle trying to find the % of alcohol. Maybe this is a good sign…

Let me set the scene for you: Memorial Day, BBQ, Alice in Chains on the iPod, friends, sun, 90 degree heat, and an iced cold Blue Point Summer Ale. It really couldn’t get any better than that.

Simply put, this beverage is awesome. It’s your typical, light summer ale, comparable to a Sam Adams Summer Ale or a Harpoon Summer Ale (the originality in the names is astounding).  Blue Point may not have the same billing as Sam Adams, but it is just as good, if not better. Again, this is my first beer from Blue Point and I can’t wait to try and review the others. This Summer Ale is seasonal, and is only available from April – July, according to the Blue Point website.

So yes, I love this beer, and will try it again. I don’t venture out to bars that often as I’d rather buy a 6 pack for $7-10 rather than 2 beers at the bar for the same price, but if I do find myself in a bar within the next couple of months, and this is on tap, you can bet your ass I’m ordering one. If you enjoy those light, summery beers like the ones I mentioned above as well as Corona, Landshark etc etc, you can definitely not go wrong with this.

If you are in area or live on Long Island, be sure to check out this brewery. They offer tours and tastings at their “Tasting Room” located at 161 River Ave. Patchogue, NY. Hours are Thurs & Fri from 3-7PM or Saturdays from 12-7PM. I will definitely be taking a Saturday trip to go back to the place of my origin and check Blue Point Brewing Company out.

Final Rating – 4.5 Pints  4.5 Pints