Spring puts on its Magic Hat 

Tim Rutherford

That underworked prognosticator of Spring, Punxsutawney Phil, is an overrated varmint. You want a sure sign of Spring? Here it is.

The Spring Fever 12–pack from Magic Hat Brewing Co. is back as sure as the daffodils and the azaleas. Packed inside the wonderfully creative cardboard case are a pair of old friends – and a pair of tasty young upstarts.

First, the veterans. Circus Boy, the hefeweizen, is my favorite brew from Magic Hat. Too bad is virtually unavailable outside the 12–pack. Knock, knock – anyone listening? More Circus Boy, less No. 9, please.

Circus Boy ushers in Spring as gentle as a lamb – with ABV of 4.2 percent and a pleasing, nicely balanced malt bill. It’s delish to sip – or goes nicely with grilled shrimp.

You might think from the previous paragraph that I don’t like No. 9. Tsk, tsk.

Beer, like strangers’ children, can be loved or tolerated. I tolerate the not–quite–Pale–Ale No. 9 because it’s so well made. It’s very English ale–like and at a wimpy 20 International Bitterness Units (IBU), certainly won’t make your big box beer drinking pals squirm under too much hoppiness.

Now for the newcomers. Meet Vinyl. This Amber Lager is nothing but a harbinger of Spring. It boasts a more complex malt bill (four malts in total) and barely nudges the IBU scale at at 16. The ABV slides up to 5.1 percent but the experience is a refreshing and balanced as a perfect spring day. It pours golden and inviting.

At magichat.net, there is plenty of background on these beers and some fantastical video interpretations well worth viewing.

Lastly, this season’s IPA on Tour is Demo. This is Magic Hat’s entry into the black IPA market – and they’ve fired their opening salvo with skill.

Three of four malts are dark – giving Demo its midnight hue. The hops come back to the forefront and hit a respectable 45 IBUs; alcohol by volume bumps up to 6 percent. Roastiness and hoppiness walk hand–in–hand in a beer that’s as refreshing to imbibe as it is alluring to see in the glass.

The watchword for this beer – and the entire Spring Fever collection, is “balance.”  These are beautifully made American craft beers – and stand as examples about this diminutive but rapidly growing segment of brewing.

Give a pint, get a pint

During February, Moon River Brewing Co. will donate a pint of beer to everyone who donates blood at the American Red Cross Savannah Blood Donor Center. Just show your server your post–donation paperwork.


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