Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Magic Hat Wacko


2.8
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (744) - Albany, New York, USA - MAR 27, 2010
I’d like to coin a phrase in the beer-reviewing world: Just because a beer is gimmicky doesn’t make it bad. While I would support that statement whole-heartedly, I don’t think Magic Hat Wacko is the example I’d chose to defend it with. This is one of the gimmickiest beers I’ve ever encountered, which wouldn’t be a problem if only it were good. This is a summer beer marketed on the notion that it’s made with beet extract – does that sound appealing to you?

POUR, COLOR AND AROMA

This beer flowed out of the bottle like water and produced a dark pink, but crystal clear complexion reminiscent of raspberry ginger ale. There was plenty of carbonation upon the initial pour, but it quickly calmed down to complete tepidness. The head matched the body with a small, but brink pink color and a soapy composition. It evaporated very quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The aroma was typical for a Magic Hat beer with a sweet, fruity scent with a noticeable malt presence.

TASTE

I had no idea what to expect from Wacko. I’ve never had beet sugar or extract (or even the vegetable itself), although I suppose that’s good because it gives me a more neutral starting point. Upon my first swig I tasted something I haven’t had in years – a wine cooler (or at least a very watered-down version of those alcopops).

Magic Hat is known for being experimental and having eccentric beer styles, which is fine since the beer always tastes great… until now. Drinking Wacko is not a pleasant experience. I get no specific ingredients here other than an overly-sweetened palate which finishes with a dry, malty thud. No fruit flavors are noticeable, although there is a taste similar to the tartness of cranberry or grapefruit juice.

While I found the first bottle easily drinkable, after my second and third I realized just how unappealing the beer was. It’s just all beet sugar and little else. At only 15 IBUs this beer probably could’ve been vastly improved by increased bitterness for balance.

FINISH
Some beers are easy to drink in small sips, while others are not. Wacko is definitely an example of the former as it has a fairly soft mouthfeel and a finish to match. However, if drank in larger gulps its dry, tart side becomes very prominent and it begins to take on a much more coarse texture. This is surprising considering this is a summer seasonal, after all.

BODY

I was able to drink two bottles of this beer back-to-back without feeling the slightest bit buzzed. While some might argue this is good, I think there is such thing as being a little too light. Wacko is only 4.5% ABV and won’t fill up the drinker – believe me, I tried!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Obviously, not all experimental beers can be a success and while the Magic Hat brewery has a strong track record, Wacko is one of the few blemishes to their record. I could see it being enjoyed by everyday drinkers looking for an easy-drinking summer beer. However, after just one bottle I think most people will be content and prefer to move on. 
Grade: 4/10