Thursday, April 30, 2009

Magic Hat "Odd Notion" - Summer 2009: Belgian Blonde


3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Chad9976 (744) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 27, 2010
UPDATED: OCT 26, 2012 Summer beers are known for being light and crisp and often with a citrusy taste. That’s an accurate description of Magic Hat’s “Odd Notion” for Summer 2009 – Belgian Blonde. However, this beer has some real gusto to it with a strong palate and a body to match.

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

This beer pours smoothly to form a clear golden body reminiscent of an American lager. The head is average-sized and white and soapy but it dissipates rather quickly and doesn’t lace the glass. The aroma more than makes up for these things, though, as it is a very sweet combination of light fruity scents and mild spice.

TASTE

I had no idea what to expect out of Belgian Blonde. I figured it would be a slightly fruity but otherwise generic ale. However, I was pleasantly surprised upon my initial taste to encounter such a vivid, complex palate. Banana and clove are the most noticeable ingredients and are very strong. Then the taste is balanced by a sweet lemony zest – which is what most other summer ales tend to start with.

Magic Hat has certainly put their unique spin on what is otherwise a pedestrian beer. It’s best described as a hybrid of a summer ale and an American hefeweizen. No other brewers would put this much spice in their beer, but I’m glad they did since it has real flavor. And although there is a lemon taste present, there is no tart citrus. Overall, the palate adds up to a very sweet, malty taste that’s very refreshing.

FINISH

Belgian Blonde is what a good summer beer should be – extremely soft and gentle to the mouth and just as smooth going down. Since it has an IBU rating of only 17 there is no bitterness here, although I would describe it as slightly crisp. The average drinker should have no problem throwing back a few of these.

BODY

As tasty and smooth as this beer is, it doesn’t lend itself to drinking in large quantities since it’s 5.9% ABV. This is surprisingly high for a summer seasonal and it also has the sheer density to match. After drinking two bottles in a row I could definitely tell, and although I could handle it, I was feeling more than satisfied just a few swigs into my second helping.

FINAL THOUGHTS

A part of me wants to rate Magic Hat Belgian Blonde even higher because it’s so tasty, but another part of me wants to rate it lower because it’s probably more gimmicky than genuine. Regardless, the fact is this is definitely a good beer at the core and is quite refreshing as well – and that’s what we all look for in a summer beer. 
Grade: 7/10