Magic Hat Poppy Agave Ale

Today’s selection is a beer that I’ve been seeing more and more in coolers at parties. Even at my family reunion, something out of the Magic Hat mixed pack is the first beer that everyone grabs for (although my parents usually only pick that and Coors Light). Let’s see how this beer, which started as an Odd Notion was.


ABV: 5%

Style: American Pale Ale

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “AN ODD NOTION BACK IN MOTION. Brewed only once before, Poppy Agave Ale was part of a series of exceptional (and mostly odd) specialty releases known as Odd Notions. This crisp, clean ale is brewed with agave nectar and poppy seeds for a slightly sweet, nutty flavor.”

Random: Poppy seeds always get stuck in my teeth.

The beer poured with a two finger, white head. It went away quickly, but still left some lacing on the glass. The body was a dark, straw yellow color with moderate carbonation. The nose smelled like a Mexican lager with sweetness from the agave. It also had some pilsner malt. The taste also had agave sweetness. It had a small amount of spice from the poppy seeds. I kept trying to find more in the beer, but there wasn’t much there. It had a thin body with high carbonation. A bottle of this was $1.83, which came to $.15 per ounce. This beer was really boring and needed a punch of flavor. I wasn’t a big fan of this beer, but I had no problems finishing it. If the choices at a party are this or a macro, I’d go with this.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Magic Hat S.M.A.S.H. Hits Volume 2

Single hop and single malt beers are becoming the new trend in beer. I’ve had some good ones and some not great ones, but I think it’s interesting how the trends keep changing. It will give more familiarity with certain hops and malts though, which I think is a good thing. Let’s see how this one was.


ABV: 5.5%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “ONE HOP, ONE MALT, ONE SMASHING IPA. A delectable duet of Cascade hops and Goldpils Vienna malt sing notes of citrus and grapefruit and rich, toasty malt tones.”

Random: I’m almost done watching “Blindspot.” I really enjoy the series so far. It reminds of the first few seasons of “Prison Break.”

The beer poured with a one finger, white head. It went away quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with high carbonation. The nose had a lot of pilsner malt with mineral water and grass. I didn’t pick up much in the way of hops, but what was there was grassy and had some lemon rind. The taste had more of a hop presence with grapefruit segments. But, it also had an off-putting metallic note. It also had some sweetness from the malt. It had an overly thin body with high carbonation. The finish was quick with grain. A bottle was $1.83, which came $.15 per ounce. This IPA was overly thin and simplistic. It would be good for a beginner who was just getting into IPAs, but would be boring to the experienced drinker.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Troegs Hop Knife Harvest Ale

It’s finally starting to get a bit warmer out. Soon, I’ll be complaining about how hot it is. But, for now, I’ll take this weather. I love when the Spring flowers start coming out and the cherry trees bloom. We have a large cherry tree on the property and I want to try to plant a few more this year. Val wants me to plant some honeysuckle too, so I guess I’ll need to get on that too. Now that we’ve talked about the plants, let’s get to the beer.


ABV: 6.2%

Style: American IPA

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Hop Knife Harvest Ale recognizes the time-honored tradition of hand-harvesting at the peak of maturity. At the end of fermentation, the beer flows through our HopCyclone releasing a bounty of preserved citrus rind, crushed jungle and tropical aromas.”

Random: I still love my fuzzy blanket on the couch even if it’s just a little cold in the house.

The beer poured with a half a finger of pure white head. It dissipated quickly and left some lacing on the glass. The body was slightly hazy with moderate carbonation visible. The nose was filled with grass clippings, pine needles and freshly cut wood. The taste started with fresh pine sap, cedar wood and light grain. I didn’t pick up any alcohol. The body was medium thickness with high carbonation. It had a lengthy and sticky finish with pine sap. The bottle was $1.83, which broke down to $.15 per ounce. This beer was really good and was another solid offering from Troegs.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Brix City 68 Ryot

Since the laws changed in New Jersey, we’re seeing a lot more new breweries putting out beers and they’re turning up on beer store shelves. This is the first beer that I’ve had from Brix City.


ABV: 7%

Style: Rye Beer

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Nestled in the borough of Little Ferry, Brix City Brewing is one of the newest craft breweries to hit the beer scene in New Jersey. Brix City Brewing is dedicated to bold styled beers that showcase intense flavor profiles and the highest quality ingredients. We make the beer we enjoy drinking, so hopefully you do too. In 2010, co-founder Pete left the Army after serving in the infantry for four years, two of which were spent in Germany where he began to appreciate the many different styles of beer. Upon his honorable discharge, he was unsure of what he was going to do with his life. At the same time, fellow co-founder Joe was attending college as an accounting major while working part time, also unsure about what he would be doing in the future. The two men had been friends since high school and both shared a passion for beer. They would soon buy a home brew kit, and before you knew it they were knee deep in the craft brewing world, most of their free time from that point on was spent brewing (and drinking for that matter). Before long, the two had the crazy idea that they could make this wonderful hobby a career and they began developing the brewery that would unfold to be Brix City Brewing. Brix City Brewing is a brewery built on a passion for full flavored beers, the intentions of the brewery are to produce a wide variety of beers: Imperial IPA’s – Sours – Pilsners – Stouts – and everything in between. Be sure to come down!”

Random: Rye toast and sourdough toast are my favorite types of toast.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated instantly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was a murky, dark yellow with no visible carbonation. On the nose, I picked up grapefruit and grass. There was no rye on the nose, which was surprising given that it was a rye beer. The taste, on the other hand, had a lot of spicy rye. It transitioned into grass and grapefruit flesh and pith. It had a slight tropical note as well that had some mango. It had a thin body with light carbonation and a lengthy, rye finish. A can of this set me back $3.62, which came to $.23 per ounce. I thought this beer needed a bit more depth, but it wasn’t a bad first beer to try from the brewery.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Weyerbacher Sunday Mole Stout

A few years ago, I tried Weyerbacher’s Sunday Morning Stout and was impressed by it. When I heard they put out a version with hot peppers, I had to have it.


ABV: 11.3%

Style: American Double/Imperial Stout

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “As the name suggests, this 11.3% ABV American Imperial Stout is the foundation of everyone’s favorite, Sunday Morning Stout, with a twist (and without the barrel aging)… This brew captures everything you’d expect from a traditional molé – coffee, chocolate, heat and smokiness. Foremost is coffee, which is followed by layers of chocolate courtesy of the chocolate malt, cocoa powder and cacao nibs. Finally, a subtle lingering heat and smokiness from our blend of ancho, pasilla, mulato and chipotle peppers, as well as cinnamon, which is gone by the time you’re ready for your next sip.”

Random: Now I’m craving mole.

The beer poured with a half a finger of tan head. It dissipated quickly and left no lacing on the glass. The body was an inky black color with no visible carbonation. The nose was strong and filled with dark chocolate, cocoa powder and hot pepper. It had a slight alcohol note as well. The taste had dark chocolate, espresso, hot peppers, and cocoa powder. The booze wasn’t noticeable at all. It also had some cinnamon as well. The body was thick and oily with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with cocoa powder. The bottle was $4, which came to $.33 per ounce. This was an expensive beer, but worth every penny, especially if you like hot peppers.

Untappd Rating: 4.5/5.0

B. Nektar Tuco Style Freakout

Meads are becoming increasingly popular and there are more and more unique takes on them on the shelves. It seems like B. Nektar specifically is putting out new meads every few weeks and they’re all solid. This one seemed like it would be especially interesting.


ABV: 6.5%

Style: Mead

Trivia: According to the meadery website, “Tart lime engulfs the tongue followed by a creamy sweetness of honey and agave. Medium bodied with a lime pith bitterness on the semi-dry finish. A zip of acidity adds to the wonderful balance of the sweet, tart, and bitter flavors.”

Random: This is available April to September in bottles and on tap. They recommend pairing this one with Mexican food and rooftop pizza.

The mead poured with no head on top of a light, yellow-green body. The mead was still. On the nose, I picked up fresh-squeezed lime juice, wildflower honey and white grapes. It also had some agave. The taste was light and crisp with agave and lime. It also had a Sprite note. It also had a wildflower honey note that gave it some flowers that made this a bit more complex. The body was medium thickness without going to the point of syrupy. It had a lengthy finish with lime juice and honey. A bottle of this was $7.99, which broke down to $.47 per ounce. I really enjoyed this mead. It would make for a great paring with a shrimp taco. If you see this one on the shelves, it’s worth picking up.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Firestone Walker Oaktoberfest

Val is knocked out on the couch while I get through some of this backlog on the blog. Tonight’s beer is one that I was excited to try since I love Firestone Walker beers.


ABV: 5%

Style: Marzen/Oktoberfest

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Inspired by our home town of Paso Robles (Pass of the Oaks). A proper German Märzen bier. Traditional imported malts offer subtle honey-like aromas with hints of Noble hop spice. The stars of this brew are the imported Pilsner and Vienna malts that offer malty sweetness that carry through to the end. German Hallertau hops add rich Noble hop character to balance this exceptional Marzen. True to Oktoberfest custom, this beer only makes its debut in September and October to celebrate the age-old German tradition.”

Random: My knee is really sore. Anytime it rains, it gets creaky.

The beer poured with a two finger, off white head. It went away quickly, but still left some lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, bright orange with medium carbonation visible. The nose has warm notes of caramel and toasted mixed nuts. It had a bread crust note as well. The taste had a metal note up front, but it quickly went away. It also had burnt caramel. Bread crust came through next along with a touch of toasted oak. The nuttiness was there as well. It had a light body with high carbonation. It had a quick finish with nuts and oak. A pounder of this was $2.50, which came to $.16 per ounce. This beer was really drinkable and had nice flavor. I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0