When the magic goes wrong
A Review of Demo by Magic Hat Brewing Co.
Posted on 8/19/2012 by Brew's Your Daddy
When it comes to Magic Hat Brewing Company, my experience has shown me that there are basically two schools from which fans emerge. Ether you really, really love their offerings, or you can't even stand the sight of an empty bottle that has one of their labels on it. To this point, I have only been able to try one of their offerings, so my personal opinion of their line is still very up in the air. However it seems as though today they might just get the chance to further sway me in one direction or the other, as I continue to work my way through the rest of my recent ''build your own six pack'' selection. Today I find myself seated face to face with their Magic Hat Demo Black I.P.A, so I say lets get it on.

In the glass, Demo has a very dark, chocolate brown coloration that carries a very fluffy-thick tan head with good retention and nice lacing qualities. Getting your nose in close to the glass makes for an interesting, eyebrow raising experience. The first thing that I was able to pick out was watered down coffee and cocoa powder. I looked at the bottle, then back at the glass, then repeated this process once more. The bottle still said black I.P.A. on it, so I was slightly puzzled why the initial intro came across as a weak porter. After a few swirls of the glass, I went back in again, with the same results. At this point I decided it was time to put on my nose digging pants and try to go deeper. Hints of charred malts and smoke were found in random intervals, but even upon finding them, one thing remained missing: Hops. Of any kind. To say I was puzzled at this point would be a very safe bet indeed.

When I decided to give it a taste, the exact same thing that happened when I went in for the first smell happened again. I double checked the bottle and shook my head in disbelief. If I were blindfolded and this were placed in front of me, I would have bet my last dollar that I was drinking a porter. Lots of roasted malts and coffee were evident, and even light notes of chocolate and burnt bread crust, but at no time was there any kind of hops bite. Not even a nibble if you want the full truth. Only with the most intense drinking focus, and I mean ''eyes closed, everyone shut up, take your time swallowing'' focus, was I able to pick up just the most miniscule herbal hops flavor. Again, it fell right in the range of acceptable for a porter, but for any kind of I.P.A., it was not only weak, but it was unacceptable.

So what happens when you put a porter in a bottle and call it a black I.P.A.? I'm not sure of all of the outcomes, but in this case, the company names it Demo Black I.P.A. From a personal standpoint, there is nothing about this beer that gravitates towards the I.P.A. style. I go back to my statement earlier about if I were blindfolded I would bet anything it was a porter, and add to it that it would make a fair to decent porter if that were the case. Unfortunately for Magic Hat Brewing Company, sometimes we have to be held accountable for the mistakes we have made, even in cases of what seems to be a mistake in style designation. In that spirit, I would not recommend the Demo Black I.P.A. for anyone looking to experience its proclaimed style. It could be the most non-Black I.P.A. Black I.P.A. I have ever had. However, if in a pinch, and you like porters or sweet stouts, it would keep you away from any of the big beer swill waters you might be faced with. So it seems as though the pendulum has swung in direction of ''not impressed at this point'' as far as Magic Hat Brewing Company and I are concerned, but in the upcoming days we will see what kind of sorcery they can come up with to bring me back in the opposite direction.

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Demo by Magic Hat Brewing Co.
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