Beer Review 0003: Magic Hat Encore

Encore, by Magic Hat Brewing Company, is part of a series of beers they like to call “IPA on Tour.” This special series is a quarterly release of India Pale Ales with a musical theme as if the beer is out on tour for limited engagements. Encore isn’t a true IPA, instead it is a blend of an American wheat beer and an India Pale Ale.

It’s a first for me, as I’ve never had a blended IPA, so on December 29, I decided to pour a glass and check it out.

Encore pours beautifully; in fact, this is one killer looking brew. Sexy, even. An aggressive pour delivers a burnt orange beverage with a mighty and bright white head that lingers for a good few minutes until it dissipates to a rocky foam. The color combination of the burnt but yet bright and vibrant orange against the olympic white is outstanding; add to the production some awesome lacing and this is looking like a winner thus far. The lacing just slides right down the glass as you drink. Kudos, Magic Hat.

Naturally, all good things must come to an end. Here we are at the aromatic portion of our review and I’m afraid I don’t have good news. As expected, you get some extreme hop aromas. It’s heavy and not harsh, which is good, and there are a ton of citrus notes: orange, grapefruit, a touch of lemon and some pineapple. There’s also a crisp pine note rounding things off, however the citrus scents all have that lemon Pledge smell going. Recall the Lemonhead candy smell — yeah, it’s lemon, but it’s not real lemon. Unfortunately, that’s what my nose detected. It isn’t unpleasant or off-putting, but things could have definitely been better aromatically.

This is a medium bodied beer and is a citrus bomb on the palate, with mostly the orange and grapefruit coming through with hints of pine. The finish is bitter but only moderately so. My face didn’t squish up like it does with many India Pale Ales so this one is definitely on the mild bitterness side. (Measured at 45 IBU.)

Encore is said to be a “genre-blending” mix between an American wheat beer and IPA — so where’s the wheat beer? I’m not tasting nor smelling it, so it must be lost in the mix. Maybe the wheat beer is the cause of the lack of bitterness? I don’t know, and I don’t think I understand — oh, well.

Encore has an average finish and isn’t very complex — mainly just the orange and grapefruit. I detected no off flavors. Appearance-wise, this beer scored perfectly, with 15 points. If I had saw this sitting in a glass without knowing what it was, I would absolutely gravitate towards it. The aromatics were highly disappointing to me. I could only go 9 points here, and 26 points for flavors and palate.

This beer’s overall drinkability is given 25 points. While not offensive it is not outstanding and if given the chance to have this again, I would probably not pick it. I could see this being a decent entry level IPA, though — IPA is an acquired taste and this one is kind of like the junior ranger.

Magic Hat Encore: 75 points. Price: $8.99 US for six pack.

Under the cap…

In case you are new to Magic Hat beers, each cap comes inscribed with a message underneath. For the bottle of Encore I reviewed, the cap said, “Beer For Peace.”

I couldn’t agree more with that sentiment.


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