Mar 5, 2014

Magic Hat Dream Machine IPL

I believe I’ve only encountered the India Pale Lager two or three times in recent years — Hopside Down, Downward Sprial and perhaps Shmaltz Brewing Coney Island Sword Swallower. The hoppy lager has been around for a few years, but the overly hopped version or IPL as many breweries are calling it has been a relatively new trend.

Vermont’s Magic Hat has decided to throw their own take on the style into the ring with Dream Machine (5.7% ABV and 50 IBU). The brew has a decent malt backbone with a combination of Pale, Munich 20, C-40a and C-120 that is then countered with a potent blend of Nugget and Cascade hop varieties before a further dry-hopping with Amarillo and Sterling hops takes the beer over the edge. The result is a beer that is quite crisp and packs a solid hop bite, but could do with a smoother transition between the two.


Dream Machine pours crystal clear and golden in color with a smallish, short-lived cap of white foam. On a side note the glass that arrived with these samples has artwork that glows in the dark which makes for an interesting visual experience.

Magic Hat Dream Machine IPL photo


Grain, toasted bread, light grapefruit and grassy hops combine for an inviting nose.


A crisp carbonation actively pushes grassy, citrusy hops over the palate with grain and bread along for the ride. There’s a brief surge of hop bitterness that arrives abruptly before fading to a dry, lingering finish. The hop bite is initially fairly sharp and astringent before it decides to drop off. The beer is refreshing and fairly light bodied.


I like a good lager and I like a solid hop profile in a clean drinking IPA. The combination within Dream Machine is decent but a bit too angular for my palate, if that makes any sense. I’d personally prefer a smoother transition between the malt and hop elements. I think that would make for a more enjoyable overall drinking experience and make for a more accessible brew for newcomers to the style.

Rating: 3.25/5

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

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