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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.