Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Magic Hat Elder Betty


It's been a while since I've reviewed a Magic Hat beer. This one was requested by two women who have been guest reviewers on this show in the past - Crystal and Barb. It was probably brewed in the winter or spring and may have been old by the time I drank it. Although that shouldn't matter anyway since it's a summer seasonal and we're smack dab in the middle of summer!

2.9
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Chad9976 (691) - Albany, New York, USA - JUL 9, 2012
I poured a 12oz bottle into a wheat beer glass.

Appearance: Hazy dark orange color but plenty of visible carbonation. Initially forms a large, white, soapy head, but it evaporates very quickly and leaves no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Odd, slightly sour scent of very generic fruit flavoring and generic wheat beer.

Taste: I don’t know what elder berries are or what they taste like, but I shouldn’t have to in order to appreciate Magic Hat Elder Betty. I’ve had many fruit wheat beers before and while most of them are average at best, this one is one of the worst examples. It begins rather sweet with a generic fruit cereal-like taste up front. While I wouldn’t say it tastes like blueberries outright, that’s the closest taste I can compare it to. There’s a standard "American pale wheat ale" taste throughout the palate of very mild wheat as well.

As it transitions to the finish there’s an odd, tart, sour or tannic flavor that pops up quickly. It’s short-lived but it’s quite disruptive. Perhaps this is an off-flavor from the bottle being "too old" but that shouldn’t be the case since this is a summer seasonal and I’m drinking smack dab in the middle of summer in early July. If it was brewed and bottled in the winter and sat on store shelves at room temperature for months - well, that’s not my problem! Whatever the case may be this is a boring beer at the core that is made off-putting by the sour and tannic flavors.

Drinkability: I drank this outside on a hot day and even at fridge temperature, Magic Hat Elder Betty wasn’t exactly refreshing. Sure the palate is clean, the mouthfeel is soft and it goes down smoothly, but "refreshed" is not how I felt afterwards. It does eventually leave a slightly pasty aftertaste which only adds to the annoyance of the palate. It’s hard to believe it’s 5.5% ABV when the body and weight feels like something much lighter. It’s just a lot of gratuitous calories.

Grade: 3/10