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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week": Magic Hat #9 Ale

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Feb 27, 2008 7:00PM

2008_02_botw9.jpgThis week we look east to Burlington, Vermont. Vermont is home to Ben & Jerry's (yeah!), Phish (ugh!) and the Magic Hat Brewing Company. We've been fans of Magic Hat for quite a while, owing to their inventive brews and off-beat sense of humor, both reminiscent of Three Floyds.

A few weeks back we received an e-mail from Magic Hat's Dave Obenour, who pointed us in the right direction (to Morgan's on Maxwell, specifically) to sample a pint of their flagship #9 ale. Billed as a "not quite pale" ale, #9 is a pale ale for non-ale drinkers. Brewed with pale and crystal malts, Cascade and CTZ hops, and English ale yeast, #9 has a refreshing sweetness not normally associated with pale ales, yet still retains that bitterness from the hops that ale drinkers seek. It's a crisp, easily drinkable beer. A few days after sampling that, we received Obenour's press kit for #9, which included two condoms (labeled "Magic Hat for Her") the brewery gives away as part of a safe sex campaign called "Get Tested, Get a Condom, Get it ON." You have to give propers to a brewery that encourages beer-goggling and protection.

Digressing, Magic Hat #9 is available in bottles and draft. If you want to sample the draft (which we always recommend), the following places besides Morgan's carries #9: Timothy O'Toole's, Pippins, The Rail, Hackney's, Delilah's, the Local Option, Sheffield's, Mother Hubbard's, Cobra Lounge, Rocks, the Ashland, Five Star, Beer Bistro, and Reggie's. Not ironically, many of these are also pick up bars so the "magic hats for her" can come in handy after you've pulled a pint or three of Magic Hat #9 ale, Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week."