Avocados and Hot Fudge Sundaes
A Review of Encore by Magic Hat Brewing Co.
Posted on 1/31/2013 by Chops
                   
Good
The Magic Hat Brewing Company is very well known for their whimsical approach to brewing. They are one of the very few breweries out there that can appeal to beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. This can be a double edged sword because they can usher in new craft beer fans just as easily as alienate the ones that are already there. It's not uncommon for a novice drinker's ''oooo, neat'' to be a seasoned drinker's ''WTF''. So going into any new Magic Hat brew, I have to completely clear my mind and expect the unexpected. This served me well going into their Encore Ale, a ''genre-blending mix of an American wheat beer and a traditional India Pale Ale''. I know, I know, stay with me here.

For the record, blending a wheat beer and an IPA is kind of like blending... hell, I don't know... avocados and hot fudge sundaes. It just doesn't make any damn sense. You can't help but scrunch your eyebrows together, throw your hands up in the air and vehemently ask ''why does this exist?!'' At least, that's what I did when I came across this brew. Anyway, moving on.

In the glass, this beer has an amber-orange coloration. It comes with a creamy tan head that has a really long retention. Encore definitely has an enticing look, I'll give it that. On the nose, I found a candied orange aroma. You know those bags of candy orange slices that you find in gas stations? Yeah, smells just like that. The hops also amplify the citrusy sweetness. So going into that first sip, I expected little more than a glass of liquified orange gummy bears.

Warning: the aroma-flavor disconnection takes a while to get used to. Orange gummy bears? Nope, dry bitter piney hops. Candy orange slices? Nope, more dry bitter piney hops. I really struggled to find a connection between the wheat and IPA, and the dry piney hops dominate everything. There is a little caramel sweetness acting as a thin base. I also found faint notes of herbs and mint. The beer finishes light and leaves a piney bitter aftertaste. To be perfectly honest, Encore tastes like a weak and unbalanced West Coast IPA. The whole wheat-IPA hybrid is completely lost on my palate.

Overall, Magic Hat's Encore Ale is a quirky unbalanced brew. I can award some points for creativity, but I just can't get behind it as a style. Although, I'm sure that there are many novices out there who would love a tame session-worthy IPA, which this beer certainly is. And to be fair, Encore is a tasty brew and I'm by no means discouraging people from trying it. But, standard Magic Hat advice applies: you may or may not like it, go into it with no expectations.

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Encore by Magic Hat Brewing Co.
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