Ahoy ye bunch of scurvy dogs and buxom wenches! Welcome to the Pirate Day edition of my Thirsty Thursday Beer Review! Today, we’re firmly back on the craft beer course, leaving the MicroMacro world of Blue Moon behind us. Where’s our next destination? Well, my friends, before us lies a beer that has an air of mystery surrounding it. Labeled as an amber ale, the liquid inside the bottle is, well, black. A black amber ale? Oh yargh! It’s Magic Hat’s Deveiled Amber Ale. So come along, my rowdy bunch of motherswashbucklers, and let us partake in the second best aspect of a pirate’s life, (the first being the booty, of course.)
The first aromas from the open bottle are floral malts and some bitter hoppiness, creating a classic beer scent, that is nicely accented by some subtle sweetness that hangs out at the sidelines. It has a slightly darker, heavier aroma than other ambers, but not quite as dark as a porter, or even a Black Ale.
The first taste from the bottle is a slight bitterness from the hops at the tip of the tongue. The malts head towards the back, taking on a roasty flavor, while still maintaining the bready taste of traditional malt. The bitterness of the hops isn’t as crisp and biting as an IPA, but it does have a slightly stronger kick than a normal amber. The dark, roastiness of the malts give it a taste appearance of a Black IPA, but this offering is sweeter, and not as bitter. It’s like someone took an amber, added a dose of ominous intentions, and we ended up with this beer. And, that sounds pretty awesome.
After pouring it into a pint glass, the floral tones are present once more, with an underlying sweetness, all atop a nice foundation of slightly roasted, bready malts. These notes are coming from a beer that has poured a deep, dark amber, like a dark mahogany, all nestled under a crazy thick, roasty head. Seriously, look at that picture up there. I gave it a normal, standard pour, not overly strong or aggressive, and that’s what happened. Well, when the bottle has a skull on the front, expect anything.
The flavors are more expressive after the pour. The roasted malts show up first, bringing a slight tang and some crisp bitterness along for the ride. The bitterness heads toward the back of the throat, while the maltiness sets up shop everywhere else. The sweetness diminishes slightly, but it can still be found under everything else, making appearances every now and then. If you enjoy the beer slowly, it will seem sweeter. In both the bottle and the glass, it has a nice, bready aftertaste, that includes floral taste notes every now and then.
Overall, Magic Hat’s Deveiled Amber Ale is a robust, roasted amber that is a bit of a departure from the normal amberness many of us know. It has some characteristics of a darker ale, such as a smooth, rich flavor and feeling, but it brings some crisp, hoppy tangs throughout the drinking experience, that keep it apart from other dark IPAs and porters. Its dark notes will stay with you for a while, so you’ll get good mileage out of this beer, especially because it should be enjoyed slowly, in order to locate all of its complexities and flavor layers. You’ll experience everything from sweet, bready malts, to roasted darkness, to the sudden zest of hops, possibly all at the same time. Despite its quirks, it still seems familiar, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but in the end, I found myself wondering if this was something I’ve had before, just labeled as a different style. Sure, it’s a dark, roasted amber beer, but it doesn’t taste all that different from numerous other offerings out there, that may or may not be the same thing, just under different names. But, having said that, it is definitely a tasty, easily drinkable ale that shouldn’t disappoint.
My best suggestions for enjoying a Deveiled Amber Ale are watching a football game (possibly with some wings), in front of a bonfire (preferably on an evening when it’s a bit nippy outside. Basically, hoodie weather), or just as you forcibly board an enemy’s ship to steal their booty. What better way to enjoy a beer that has a jacked up, death’s head flower skull staring you right in the face each time you look at it. So go on, grab a wench (or, a wenchman for you ladies) and enjoy! Magic Hat Deveiled Amber Ale receives a Jolly Roger sized B+. Yargh!
Lasting Strength: 9/10
Overall: 8.7/10 B+