Move over Sam -- this year I brought Magic Hat's Feast of Fools variety pack to the party. The 12-pk comes with #9, Lucky Kat, Winter Odd Notion 09 and the Howl. Don't worry I did the dirty work for you and tried them ALL! Tough job I know ... here's what I thought:
#9 / 4.60% ABV / Grade: A
I am not really sure #9 belongs in this mix, it's one of my favs -- but I drink it in the summer all the time! The "not quite pale ale" has a yummy apricot finish, it's really refreshing and because most of us have enjoyed a #9 I won't bother to say anymore...
Winter Howl / 4.60% ABV / Grade: B
First of all the label is amazingly cool, kudos to the art team who designed it -- on to the beer. Talk about a dark ale that packs a punch! It's a pitch black and has a burnt-caramel-coffee taste to it. Really bitter finish. I would say eat a meal or dessert with this guy, not a stand alone brew. Just my opinion. It's not a real heavy ale, so if you like bitter and want something to warm you up before you hit the town this one might be for you.
Winter Odd Notion 09 / 4.50% ABV / Grade: B
This beer was a party in my mouth. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into or what to expect. You think the winter variety pack is going to have darker richer beers right? This one was sweet. Very crisp with a tart thing going on. Like craisons on crack. Remember that cute little girl from the Welch's commercial "It makes you pucker your cheeks" -- that is this beer. I hate to say this, but it's the "girly" drink from the pack. If you are looking for a refreshing, different 'one and done' kinda night, give it a shot.
Lucky Kat / 5.80% / Grade: D
Disclaimer, I am not a huge IPA fan...
I really like winter/fall beers because of all the hidden spice and creaminess that is brought to the table during these drinking seasons, so I am a little out of my element with this brew. With that said -- Lucky Kat was not so lucky for me. I did not like this beer at all. I actually let my drain finish half it. OUCH, I know. It was very malty, watery and tasted like pine in my mouth. I couldn't even pawn them off to my friends. Maybe an IPA lover can counter me on this one? ... try it and tell me what you think.
What this foodie also loved, is that they have a cool recipe link for foods on the Magic Hat website that you can create with the Feast of Fools ales like, "Howlling Good Gingerbread" and the "Winter Odd Notion Crab Dip." Now I know what to do with my left over Lucky Kat's .. Eeesh ;) Check it out: http://www.magichat.net/fof/recipes
Cheers to 2010! Let's make it a good one.