Magic Hat is located near Burlington, Vermont. It is a beautiful place, and if you have never been there, get up there as soon as you can. Burlington is a college town, so the place is crawling with coeds, and it also has those ‘creative’ types that linger around every college town in America. Befitting this locale, Magic Hat beers have some of the coolest packaging and funkiest names in the craft brew world. Unfortunately, their beers often do not live up to expectations set by the packaging and the naming, at least to my palate.
Credit must be given to the Magic Hat sales team that covers Hoboken, because at least one Magic Hat beer was on tap in every Hoboken bar I stopped in on Friday night. Magic Hat #9 was the beer of choice for the V-Man and me as we hit the taverns of Hoboken, at least in part because of the unique profile of the tap handle. It was easy to spot, and the combination of my failing eyesight and the dim lights favored by drinking establishments the world over make it too hard for me to read the names on tap handles unless I am right on top of them. I could just mouth the words “MAGIC. HAT.” and hold up two fingers to get us beers. Unfortunately, the Magic Hat #9 is another of the Magic Hat beers that falls short of expectations. It is a slightly hoppy pale ale that tastes like it may have been flavored with apricots. It pours a nice amber color with a decent head. The #9 has all the component parts to be a really good beer, but does not quite get there. I wanted this to be so much better than it was, but it was just average, 5/10.
I have not been out and about in Hoboken in ages, except for the occasional trip to Maxwells to see Marah or some other band. It has easily been twenty years since I went for a pub crawl in Hoboken. I did not really like the town back then. It always struck me as the post-college town, where the keggers were replaced by cheap bars, and Buffy and Chip continued their klutzy waltz of romance and/or tawdriness that began in sophomore year while walking back to the dorm from the abnormal psych class and would continue until they threw caution to the wind, got married, had kids, had affairs, and finally got divorced, but back then I could suck it up for a night. Now that I am in my mid-forties, with the tread on my tires just a little too worn from the roads I have traveled, I cannot fucking stand Hoboken. I also have far less tolerance for nonsense now than I did then, and Hoboken is full of nonsense. Add in that every bar we went to played Lady GaGa at head splitting volume and every patron looked like they were about sixteen years old***, and it was an early night for your humble author.
***HEY YOU KIDS, GET OFF MY LAWN!!!! Yeah, I sound old and curmudgeonly, mainly because I am old and curmudgeonly.