In the beer world, label art is something of a big deal. Not the biggest of deals, but big enough to where breweries often tend to take such rather seriously. Sometimes labels can get one in trouble, as in the case of Flying Dog Brewery vs. the State Of Michigan. However other times they can serve as vehicles for artistic exchange.
Here we have the Art Hop Ale. A collaboration between the illustrators and the brewers, the beer professes to be a melding of the minds in respect to the given arts. So in this review, I will attempt once again to be an art critic, as such a situation demands.
To begin with, I have no earthly idea what a zesty, well hopped blonde ale has to do with man trolling the bottom of an ocean in a diving suit. I suppose this will be the length and breadth of my art criticism. Seriously, I don’t get the connection.
However, we still have the beer to consider. Presented before us is blustering little cocktail of flavors suspended in a lovely golden body. Contained within this are elements of blood orange, orange peel and sage. Bursting with zing and tangy flavor, the entirety of it feels almost as though it wears a capo by way of its somewhat banana like texture.
By this, I mean bready. And by bready, I naturally mean thick and somewhat chewy. I have to remind myself from time to time that beer world terminology isn’t universally known. In a stunning admission of truth, I will say that most of the terms used are themselves made up and derived from basic statements that anyone can identify with and understand.
Hmm…perhaps that is a bit like art. I don’t know.
However in terms of this brew, it is something I would call summery. It’s zesty and alive, tasting of a healthy yeast profile, which could simply be the sage and the orange peel working in tandem to berate the palate with juicy punch. Spiced as it is, nothing about this brew is overly aggressive, which is something I appreciate.
At a solid 8% ABV, it has hints of booziness that are themselves not overly impressive. In truth, they’re hidden well beneath the citrusy kicks which float well along the surface of this blonde. A style which lends itself nicely to such flavor elements, it is as equally an easy sip as it is a heavy, complicated crafty. Though a product of Magic Hat, a somewhat larger brewery known better for their standard “#9” I am still comfortable calling this limited release a craft beer. It is, in reality, well done.
This is a beer which, like the works of Sam Adams or Smuttynose, proves that the long in the tooth old dogs are still very capable of creating interesting drinking fare. This is a crafted beer and as such, I enjoy it as one.
So it is to Magic Hat, the art effort known as Seaba, to Zelda Grimm whose art is featured here yet I still don’t understand the connection, as well as to you that I say as always…
While the brand may have provided the product mentioned above for free, I was not required to write a positive review, I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the honest opinions I have expressed are my own.
Nicholas Goroff is an actor, writer and craft beer reviewer at EveryJoe.com. Certified as a Cicerone beer server, he is working towards obtaining certification as a beer judge while employed at Bert’s Better Beers in Hooksett, NH. When not reviewing beer, wine and spirits, he is typically writing political essays, screenplays and short fiction. Follow him on Twitter @wizardofcause.
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