3.7AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
There seems to be an understanding in the beer-tasting community that beers that taste like fruit juice or soda, no matter how delicious and easy they are to drink, aren’t “real” beers because they have no bite. I suppose if that’s true Magic Hat’s Circus Boy and Hocus Pocus must not be as good as #9. This is a unique take on the traditional American pale ale style that has a fruity, almost citrusy flavor without overwhelming the true beer taste.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Straight from the bottle, #9 pours very smoothly and forms a surprisingly large, bright white head. What’s odd is how quickly this foam disappears. Blink and you’ll miss it (literally). There isn’t a lot of carbonation, either, so its tepid body and lack of head lacing is understandable.
Its color is one of the prettiest shades of copper I have ever seen. Perhaps if you were to melt down a bunch of pennies this is what it would look like. You could easily hide a brand new penny in a glass of #9 – it’s that brilliantly colored. Strangely enough, it’s a tad bit cloudy, but not to the extent of a wheat beer.
The aroma is also very pleasant, a battle between the fruits and the malts. Usually pale ales have a very distinct malty nose, but they are about even with the fruit ingredients in #9. Either way, its scent is extremely original.
TASTE AND FINISH
Well, if the beer snobs want a beer with real beer taste to it but with a unique flavor, then Magic Hat’s #9 MUST be what they desire. I like how the brewers use the slogan “not quite pale ale” on the bottle as something of a disclaimer. Perhaps that’s to silence critics who would complain about it not being a “real” pale ale – which it’s not.
#9 has a very distinct apricot and peach flavor to its palate, but without sacrificing its roots of malts and hops. Those who like a sweet beer like a hefeweizen or any kind of summer ale would definitely enjoy the sweet, subtle taste found here. This beer has one of the best-balanced flavors I can think of. It’s sweet enough to make it easy to drink, but still has a real malty flavor to give it some bite.
And as is true of every beer in the Magic Hat line that I’ve tried, #9 is extremely smooth and finishes very clean. Thanks to its delicious taste and smooth finish, any beer drinker; whether novice, intermediate or expert; could easily down several glasses or bottles of this brew quickly and easily.
American pale ales have a tendency to be much heavier in body than you’d expect. From their appearance alone, they look as light as lagers, but their weight is deceiving. However, in the case of #9, you can believe you eyes. This beer looks like a typical ale and drinks like a lager. I was able to down three bottles in a row after eating a fairly heavy dinner. Imagine how fast you could drink a pint in a bar or just on an empty stomach.
This is a great beer for introducing lightweights and casual beer drinkers to more high-quality craft beers. It’s tasty without being gimmicky. It’s sweet but still has some bite to it. It’s very smooth and not nearly as heavy in body as most pale ales. What’s not to like?