The First Pour: Magic Hat Howl
Cicero’s understands that when it come to beer, most people’s favorite is the latest and greatest new beer. Very few beer lovers drink the same beer over and over again. Sure, you might go back to an old standard, but you always try the latest beer first. For that reason, and others, Cicero’s changes their menu every week. When kegs kick, we change them up, unless we decide to keep it tapped for a while longer because it kicked so fast. With that in mind, we strive to keep you, our customers informed on our weekly changes. The “First Pour” series of blog posts will highlight and review the newest beers we have on draft for you. Again, we have a happy couple writing these posts for us. If you see them around, make sure and thank them for their hard work.
By Alaina Kantner and Mike Vecchio
Bitterness: 32 IBUs
Availability: Seasonal – Winter
A trip down memory lane… about a year ago we purchased a six-pack of this beer and brought it home to try. We both really enjoy Magic Hat #9 and thought that we’d probably like this one too. At that point we were fairly new to the craft beer scene and Alaina was sticking close to lighter beers (think Boulevard Wheat and Schlafly Pale Ale) and Mike was happily living the life of a “hop head” bouncing from IPA to IPA. Neither of us had tried too many dark beers and weren’t into beers that were dominated by malts. Long story short, (too late) neither of us liked Howl and we passed it off to friends who did. Our palates have changed a lot since then, so when we were asked to review Howl we were excited to give this beer a second chance.
Howl is described as a “black as night winter lager” but pours more of a dark brown, slightly red color. A thick head accompanies the pour, but fades to a strong lacing that lingers. The smell is very sweet and with malty notes (Alaina randomly gets watermelon Jolly Ranchers off the smell). The taste is malty up front, but quickly fades to a sweet caramel that lingers after each sip. For someone who is familiar with and digs Schwarzbier style beer, this beer is pretty sessionable. While this isn’t our favorite beer we’ve ever tried, we did enjoy its complexity and it’s fun to see how our palates have changed in one short year.
About the Authors – Alaina and Mike moved to St Louis from Ohio in 2008 and quickly jumped into the craft beer scene. Alaina has gone from drinking light lagers almost exclusively to enjoying maltier beers – most notably porters and stouts – and hefeweizens. In her free time Alaina enjoys reading, running, and attempting to teach their dog tricks. Mike has evolved from drinking highly hopped IPAs to enjoying a wider range of pale ales and traditional hefeweizens. Mike enjoys trying to teach his dog not to bark at anything that moves, reading about crime and gangs, and home brewing with his co-workers. Both Alaina and Mike have been attending Cicero’s Beer School for a year and credit it to helping them expand their knowledge of craft brew and assisting them to take the plunge into home brewing with their friends. Hopefully, they will bring in some of their home-brew one day.