Dec 6, 2012

Magic Hat Encore

Whether you like it or not, new beer “styles” or hybrids are constantly being marketing and toyed with. The white IPA (or hoppy wheat ale) is the latest mash-up to be hitting beer shelves the past year. Whether it’s fermented with Belgian yeast, German lager yeast or what have you, the basic concept across the examples I’ve run into is the same — a wheat-based beer with a more prominent hop presence.

The funny thing is, it’s not a new trend.

Brewer’s have been developing hopped up wheat beers for years now, as evident by Magic Hat’s Encore (billed as a “Wheat IPA”) that’s been around since at least 2010 — or Lagunitas’ Little Sumpin Sumpin that’s been around since 2009. Leave it up to marketers and PR firms to try and create something new out of nothing.

With regard to this sample of Encore that I received from Magic Hat the other day, the wheat profile doesn’t necessarily take a backseat to the hop profile as many beers of this style do, but instead is nicely balanced with it. The result is a rather subdued, yet smooth drinking and refreshing beer that carries just enough of each element of the style to keep everything on an even keel and the taste buds happy.


Encore pours a hazy amber with a resilient and dense, off-white cap of foam. It certainly looks like a wheat ale…


… And smells like a nicely hopped IPA with a decent amount of wheat in the mix. The wheat is subtle on the nose, allowing light citrus (grapefruit and orange) to shine through along with hints of bready malt and grain.


The beer arrives with a solid wheat base up-front that fades quickly yet smoothly to a moderately hoppy finish that brings a light level of bitterness to the table. For the most part the flavors blend nicely together making for a well grounded character — no one element dominates. The finish has a lingering touch of grassy hops as it dries the palate a touch. there’s no hint of the 6.9% ABV to be found.


Regardless of what you think of new styles or style mash-ups, they have already been here for years and will always ebb and flow with the tastes of the market. Might as well sit back and enjoy the ride. This particular hoppy wheat brew from Magic Hat, I think, would be better suited for warmer months, but I still enjoyed a glass of it the other day. It’s got decent flavors and is well balanced. I’m good with that no matter what the style may be.

Rating: 3.5/5

This is a review of a promotional sample from the brewery.

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