Archive for Summer

Shock Top Lemon Shandy, Shock Top Brewing Company

Posted in Wheat with tags , , , , , on July 20, 2013 by bizzlepop

Well, how about that heat wave huh? It seems to be cooling down a bit now so it’s actually enjoyable to sit out on the patio. Tonight’s offering, Shock Top’s version of a shandy. For those who don’t know, a shandy is traditional European wheat beer mixed or brewed with lemonade. The story of its inception starts with a local pub owner and a hot summers afternoon bicycle race. When the pub filled up with thirsty post racers, the owner realized his beer stash wasn’t going to hold up, so he cut it with some ice cold lemonade, and the rest is history.
Now I fancy myself quite the shandy drinker. I’ve enjoyed probably a dozen or so different breweries attempts, and the Shock Top one is definitely near the top of the list. Weighing in at 4.2% abv, it is very smooth and refreshing, and just enough sweetness to keep it in my regular summer rotation. It’s not so sweet that it bothers your stomach after 3 or 4, combined with a nice wheat taste up front, this is a great beer for any level of beer drinker. At the end of the day, this is a great beer that just keeps you coming back for more all summer long. Cheers! -BW

Final rating – 3 1/2 Pints

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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)