Henry and his brother Ernie join me to taste test the latest Magic Hat seasonal - Vinyl, a fairly generic amber lager. This is the first of two back-to-back episodes featuring both Henry & Ernie and the latest Magic Hat seasonals.
3.7AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 14/20
Amber lagers are the style of lager everyone forgets about. They’re cleaner than macro adjunct lagers, but not as robust or complex as a Vienna-style or any kind of doppelbock. Magic Hat Vinyl, while not an amazing beer, shows how drinker-friendly and satisfying the style can be. It’s sweeter and maltier than your average lager and is quite refreshing and crisp, but without the fizziness of a macro brew.
I poured a 12oz bottle into a lager glass.
Appearance: Dark gold to red color; slight haze but no sediment visible. Forms a small, ivory, foamy head which mostly dissipates and leaves no lacing.
Smell: Familiar lager aroma only much more malty and somewhat sweet and floral.
Taste: The beer begins with a sweet light grain taste. It’s obvious right away that Magic Hat Vinyl is a lager, but it has a cleaner presentation than most brews of the general style. There’s a slight touch of caramel and honey through the middle and there’s a gentle flowery hop bitterness on the finish (and I do mean gentle considering this is only 20 IBUs). There’s a brief resurgence of sweetness in the aftertaste, akin to a golden lollipop or butterscotch sucker, but it’s mild and short-lived. Otherwise the beer finishes crisp and clean. No off-putting qualities per se, but nothing about it that will knock your socks off, either.
Drinkability: Magic Hat Vinyl has many of the same statistics as some of the better-selling lagers out there, but definitely surpasses them in drinkability. While the mouthfeel is thin, wet, and crisp, there’s no challenge at all in drinking this. The 5.1% ABV seem right on the money as it’s got too much character to be a light beer, but lacks the chutzpah of a stronger lager style. An ideal summer beer for the craft beer drinker as it’s quite refreshing and would pair well with any kind of picnic food.