Those wacky folks up in South Burlington, Vermont, have
done it again. Their latest brew, a summer seasonal called, appropriately
enough, Wacko, just can't be beet. Errr, or maybe it can. You see,
Wacko is a bit different than your average beer, because it's made with beet
juice (hence my pun above). But wait. It gets better.
As you can see on the label, I'm not the only one who enjoys a good pun, as
the heart-shaped vegetable attests. It's a heart beet, get it? I thought you
would. Why the Magic Hatters decided to use beets in their beer, I have no
clue, but then again, why not? There are lots of fruit beers out there, even
some made with vegetables. And I for one am game to try a new beery idea.
Again, why not?
Wacko is a pale ale in style. It's brewed with pale ale malt. Columbus hops,
and Magic Hat's signature Ringwood yeast strain. Oh, yeah, and beets. Lets
not forget the beets. The label says beet juice color, and of course that
should add a bit of flavor as well. Alcohol content is about average at 4.5%
volume, another reason this is refreshing on a hot day.
And that's exactly how I'm drinking mine, on a steamy Atlanta afternoon
after a it of jogging along the Chattahoochee river. My samples seem fairly
fresh, with a best before date of August 2009 on the label. The beer arrived
fairl recently in Georgia; I saw it for the first time when I stopped into
Total Wine the other day.
Magic Hat Wacko pours to a bright pinkish-red color with a thick
rocky head formation and a slightly malty, faintly buttery nose. The palate
is crisp with a decided delicate malt base, a little toastiness even, and a
permeating layer of buttery diacetyl (that's from the Ringwood yeast,
folks). A bit of grassy, slightly herbal hops round out the finish nicely,
and just before they punctuate, I think I get a bit of vegetal flavor and
maybe a hint of tartness. The body seems to peter out in the finish, and
gets a bit thinner than I like.
Really, this isn't a bad pale ale, and I must confess that I'm enjoying the
Ringwood notes. But the beet sugars don't really add anything here, and in
fact they detract a bit in my opinion. Because the beer is on the light
side, I could see this as a decent hot weather refresher (it is a summer
seasonal after all). It's reasonably priced at $7.50 a six-pack, and I might buy it again, though I wouldn't beet feet to get it.
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.