March 1, 2013

Dandelion, Rye, Salt, and Coriander: Magic Hat's Spring Fever Mix

Magic Hat Variety Pack
It's March 1st and spring is so close, you can nearly taste it. It's time for the imperial stouts and other high-gravity beers to make way for something lighter, something that can be enjoyed out on the porch as we welcome the warmer weather.

Arriving on my doorstep last week were three such beers from Magic Hat's Spring Fever Mix variety pack: Pistil Dandelion Ale, Ticket to Rye IPA, and Saint Saltan Gose.

Using my Rate That Beer tasting sheet as a guide, I lined up all three for a tasting:

Magic Hat Dandelion
The Rate That Beer sheet would classify
this as "Goes Well With My Sofa."
1. Pistil Dandelion Ale - Dandelion, considered by many gardeners a weed, is actually an edible plant. The young leaves can be eaten in salads, and the roots can be eaten or added to a tea or tincture. Dandelion beers were made in the UK at least as early as the 1600s, but probably well before that. Dandelions have also been used as a medicinal plant, with stimulant and diuretic properties that aid in digestive health. Read more about dandelion and its uses.

Pistil is a light and crisp ale with a hint of lemon in the aroma. It's not terribly bitter, with just 20 IBUs. Having not eaten dandelion before, it's difficult to detect anything that says, "Oh! That's dandelion," but I suspect that some of the bitterness in the finish comes from the plant. Flaked oats contribute just a little body and grainy flavor, but all in all this is a very interesting beer, easy to drink, and perfect for warmer springtime weather. I recommend it. (4.5% ABV)

2. Ticket to Rye IPA - Rye, popular in pumpernickel, rye whiskey, and the occasional rye ale, apparently has health benefits of its own. It's high in fiber, promoting weight loss and good digestion, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous. I'm not trying to say this beer will make you healthy, but it's pretty tasty.

Ticket to Rye has a sweet scent, reminiscent of bourbon, a full mouthfeel, and a rich rye flavor. It starts sweet and finishes with a solid hops bitterness. The spice of the rye comes through nicely when paired with food such as roasted veggies. Out of the three in the variety pack, this is definitely the beer for the hopheads. It's also got the strongest alcohol content, clocking in at 7.1% ABV.

3. Saint Saltan Gose - We've encountered Gose before on the Local Beer Blog, both at Nashville's Jackalope Brewing Company and South Carolina's Charleston Beer Exchange. Magic Hat's is by far the least sour of the three, making it a great introduction to the sour beer category.

Gose is a traditional German style of wheat beer brewed with salt and coriander. Saint Saltan is a very  interesting beer with a wheaty mouthfeel and moderate coriander flavor. It's almost winelike in its sweetness up front with a slight acidity. The use of sea salt is basically imperceptible, and the beer finishes with a light, grainy finish. The overall lightness of the beer and very minor sourness makes it another great beer for springtime. (4.6% ABV)

On the whole, I found this lineup pretty impressive.

Care to send me beer to review? Give me a shout.

Magic Hat Dandelion, Ticket to Rye, Saint Saltan Gose

Magic Hat beer with food