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Peter LaFrance

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A taste of... Howl 2009

Magic Hat Brewery and Performing Arts Center
5 Bartlett Bay Road
South Burlington, VT 05403

Preface: This is another sample sent by the folks at Magic Hat Brewery and Performing Arts Center in South Burlington, Vermont. The following notes are made after a mouth wash with room temperature sparkling water. These notes have not been influenced by reading promotional material or any other review of this brew. It arrived via delivery service and has been stored in a cool, dry, dark place (a Brooklyn apartment). I am including this preface to inform the reader of any and all circumstances that might be conceived of a creating a biased review or a conflict of interest regarding the choice of words used in the following review. I could go on and on with semi-legal jargon but I guess you will just have to trust me eh?

The following are my tasting notes:

Appearance: They called this their winter seasonal a black as night winter lager. And it is a deep, a very deep, deep brown amber brew that is topped with a fine sturdy sparkling head of very small sandy brown bubbles. It might be the fact that I just cleaned this glass but the head seems to have a great dislike for the sides of the glass leaving a nice Belgian lace and an almost soufle like appearance to the rest of the head.

Aroma: the first aroma is slightly phenolic, a second visit reveals that it is not phenol. You are experiencing what appears to be a rather unique combination of malt and hops used. It is almost a wine like experience. The third and final aromatic visit reveals a prune like aroma that I often associate with porters.

Mouth feel: The mouth feel is of a medium sensation that is immediately enhanced by those prune-like aromas and flavors.

Flavor: The first sensation is a sweet dried prune or raisin type of flavor that is joined by the slight spike of highly roasted malt. A second sip reveals more of the highly roasted grain flavors. The third sip settles the taste buds down and gets them closer acquainted with the unique flavors of this beer.

Finish: The finish to this brew allows the unique flavor to slowly subside leaving a nice dry finish.
Comments: This is a unique brew. I will admit that it took some getting used to. However, by the fourth sip I was having a rather good time enjoying the flavors that, at first, seemed less than friendly.

I regret that I did not have a nice sharp piece of Gorgonzola cheese to try with this beer. The flavors in this beer would go quite well with any strong flavored cheese and perhaps a handful of walnuts.

The Brewery: http://www.magichat.net/

What others say:

BeerAdvocate: http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/96/52704

RateBeer: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/magic-hat-howl/110116/

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