While my dad was picking up a case of Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s Christmas Ale I went out and got some beer for the holidays. It seems as though I was the only one interested in Magic Hat’s Feast Of Fools seasonal pack of beers. Inside it, there were four beers (three each): Howl Black As Night Winter Lager, #9 Not Quite Pale Ale, Off Notion Series Winter ’09 and Wicky Kat. There weren’t any beers in the pack that I really hated, though I didn’t enjoy all of them and probably won’t be picking up the Feast Of Fools pack until next year when there’s something different. Here’s a rundown of the beers from least favorite to most.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a big fan of bitter beers and this is an IPA, so you can probably assume it wasn’t the best of the bunch for me. It’s not a bad beer, just not the kind I enjoy. Usually, I’ll choke these bad boys down earlier in the rotation so I get to close the pack out with one of my favorites, but thanks to some lousy track-keeping on my part, it was the last of the bunch. I would imagine that if you are a fan of IPAs, this beer would be great for you, so give it a shot if you like that sort of thing.
HOWL BLACK AS NIGHT WINTER LAGER
Again, I’m not saying that the Howl here is a bad beer, it’s just not the kind of beer I tend to drink. It’s called a lager, but it reminded me more of Guinness. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure what kind of beer Guinness actually is, but you get the idea (I’m no expert at this stuff). I liked it for the most part, but the thick bitterness isn’t my thing, but if you’re a fan, then check it out. I wouldn’t buy either Wiky Kat or Howl as a 6-pack or out at a bar, but I didn’t pour them down the drain either.
ODD NOTION SERIES WINTER ’09
Now this one I liked, though it’s very weird. It’s got a very tangy flavor to it, almost like juice that’s close to turning into booze itself. I looked it up on the Magic Hat site and it said it’s actually an American sour ale, which explains a lot as it tastes very sour and left my tongue feeling tingly. I passed this one to my dad to take a sip of and he hated it, passing it back to me and wondering if it had gone bad. So, this one will definitely be different for each taster, but I liked it, so take that as you will. I probably wouldn’t by a 6-pack of this version of the Odd Notion Series, but I would definitely give it a shot on tap just to see how it tastes in a different setting.
#9 NOT QUITE PALE ALE
Now this one I liked, a lot, which I was surprised by because it’s got those dreaded letters right there on the bottle “IPA.” Usually, that’s a bad sign for me and my beer drinking fun, but this tastes a lot more like a Hefeweizen, which is probably my favorite beer. I can’t quite nail down what the fruity aspect of the beer is. It reminds me of peaches, but I’m not sure if that’s it and the Magic Hat site plays coy with the whole thing, which is kind of annoying. I would absolutely buy a 6- or even 12-pack of #9 and probably will this summer, though I am almost always drawn to the multi-packs. What can I say? Variety really is the spice of life, even if it’s a spice you’re not too fond of. Builds character!