No one could
ever accuse the Magic Hat Brewing Company of having boring labels for their
beer. Quite the contrary, the labels are usually exotic and colorful and
bring to mind something you might have experienced during a bad trip back in
the sixties. And I’m not talking about a trip to Buffalo, either.
Case in point: Magic Hat HI.P.A.. This special and somewhat rare brew
is a summer seasonal for Burlington, Vermont’s Magic Hat. This rather hip
ale was originally released in 22-ounce bomber bottles. Due to it’s success,
it was later bottled in the more familiar 12-ounce packages as part of a
sampler 12-pack. Today, it is sold March through May in six-packs and cases.
HI.P.A. is hopped with the Warrior variety. It’s dry-hopped with them as
well, which means that the finished beer is aged on whole hop flowers to add
aroma. The beer has 45 IBUs (international bitterness units) and is a bit
stronger than most brews at 6.8% alcohol by volume.
Magic Hat has developed something of a cult following over the years. The
groovy labels and liberal culture of the company may be partly responsible
for that (they sell condoms as well as beer). In any event, Magic Hat brews
always seemed to be popular amongst the college crowd when I sold the stuff
(along with a zillion other beers) for a living years ago.
Magic Hat HI.P.A. pours to a slightly dark golden color with a huge
creamy head formation and a wonderfully resiny, flowery hop nose. The nose
of the beer really exudes hop character, and you know you’re in for a treat
right away with this one. A very thick layer of Brussels lace clings to my
glass as the liquid descends, and my glass becomes almost white as a result.
The palate is lighter bodied than many an IPA, and I get a little chewy
caramel but not as much as the style calls for. Instead, however, there’s
plenty of toasty, biscuity malt and a cleaner, more drinkable body.
A very generous amount of resiny, grapefruity hops build into the finish
after sipping. They explode in the finish and linger with an aggressive hop
bitterness that lingers nicely on the tongue after sipping. All this makes
HI.P.A. a very refreshing beer, indeed.
Try it with spicy foods like wings or jalapeno-laden nachos for a real
And remember, try a new beer today, and drink outside the box.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For
reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.