The Magic (Hat) of Spring: Magic Hat Brewery's Spring Fever seasonal offerings

With Spring nearly upon us comes the next wave of seasonal craft beer offerings that are typically lighter, crisper and more refreshing than their winter counterparts.

The Magic Hat Brewing Company in South Burlington, Vermont, releases variety packs every season, showcasing their limited release beers. The spring selection is called the Spring Fever Mix variety pack and features four different brews: Their flagship #9, Vinyl Amber Lager, Demo I.P.A. (part of the I.P.A. On Tour line) and the Circus Boy Hefeweizen. All bear record label-themed artwork, a departure from the more familiar “freak show” style.

The first of the seasonals from Magic Hat is the Vinyl Amber Lager. This is listed as a “deep amber-hued beer with a sweet malty flavor that creates a satisfyingly smooth experience.” It pours a dark orange-amber color with a nice lingering head and a surprisingly assertive malt aroma. There is some sweetness to it and more than I would expect from a lager. It is moderately malty, and I was impressed with the balance of this beer. I was prepared to dismiss Vinyl as another mediocre lager, but I have to say I really enjoyed it. Coming in at 5.1% ABV, its a bit heavier than other lagers and not exactly refreshing, but the flavor and mouthfeel are very nice. The new label design was created by concert poster artist Jim Pollock, best known for his work with the band Phish.