17 February 2009

Beer Diary #12 - Mike - The World's (Potential) Greatest Cyclist Takes a Break to Review Beer

Hello friends. I am back from self-imposed exile, but (perhaps) only for a short bit. You may be saying "I didn't know you left!" but I assure you that although my posting has probably remained more constant than that of my Knights of the Beer Roundtable contemporaries (short of Jason), I feel like I have neglected HBG. It was bound to happen. I was a beer-posting Icarus.

Not so long ago my weekly schedule read like this:
Monday - try beer
Tuesday - drink beer I've had already
Wednesday - try new beer
Thursday - take Gina to liquor store, watch as she buys beer (she can't help herself)
Friday - drink Gina's beer, fall asleep at 9PM
Saturday - watch Fulham Football Club, eat at Brugge or Deano's, drink beer
Sunday - recover
Nowadays I'm spending my time at NIFS or on my bike, in pursuit of my dreams of becoming Lance Armstrong's newest piece of arm candy fiercest competitor1. Which means "time to lay off the beer".

But before I became the worlds' most dedicated cyclist, I had an email conversation with some folks at Magic Hat, Vermont's favorite brewery. They asked "Hey, can we send you some beer?" I may be committed to winning the Tour de France, but I am also committed to accepting beer. So I said yes.

What follows is the result of that free beer offer. I can assure you that my notes are accurate and fair - if the beer wasn't to my liking I wouldn't have bothered writing about it.

Magic Hat Odd Notion Spring 09 - First off, I really dig the label art on this beer. Clearer than any beer I've drank in a long time - like a yellow tinted water. Really light nose, almost macro-pilser-like, but there's a hint of fruit and just a light apple note. Despite the fact that the nose should be ample warning, the first sip is a surprise. Malty and yet still bitter. Return sips from the glass reveal a peppery punch of flavor. This beer is brewed with poppy seed and agave, which give it a surprise sort of twist that I don't recall tasting in any other beer. Despite being a light bodied beer and only 5% ABV, this isn't one you'd drink fast - it's better for slow consideration and flavor discovery. And I just noticed a bicycle on the label. Check this beer out if you want to try something a little different.

Magic Hat HI.P.A.- People from Vermont are hippies, and Magic Hat doesn't want you to forget. The label, which depicts an Angelina Jolie sort of character being attacked by a bubble monster, is the sort of thing that can only be inspired by the hippie mind. Not to mention that Magic Hat didn't dub this beer just an "IPA" - this one is a "Hi(gh) P.A." - like with the drugs.

A golden brown and murky body supports an off-white head. The nose is floral and yet balanced IPA with a hint of feet. A full and sweet malt flavor on awaits on front, and a bitter hop finish leaves me literally smacking my lips in anticipation of the next sip.

Oddly enough, Gina had a sip of this beer and thought it was remarkably drinkable, yet didn't get much for flavor. On the other hand, I got a ton of flavor and wanted to keep it all for myself. So if you're an IPA gal or guy, I think this one is worth looking into.

Thanks to the folks at Magic Hat for the beer. And now I'm off to do sub-lactate threshold intervals in my living room..

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1 Seriously, though, I'm training to race Cat 5/4 this year. Did I ever tell you about the time I hit a deer?

PS. I'm looking for Saturday and Sunday group rides - even in crap weather. Help appreciated.


  1. I just tried both of these last night and was impressed with both. I had a strange after taste at the back of HiPA though. Still trying to figure out what it was...

  2. If you ever wish to have an impressive beer gut like mine, one that women from across the globe flock to in order to just be close, you have to drop the whole biking thing.

    Plus only stupid things can come from riding a bike. Like getting deered.

  3. You went in the wrong direction with this. Sunday was your problem.

  4. I'm looking forward to trying these two beers. Odd Notion is coming, btw. I met with the local Magic Hat right before I left town. Got some nifty swag too.

    Really looking forward to Breakfast!