The primaries almost ruined it before it ever started. Then came the debates, where any excitement I had for this election was sucked out by both candidate's ability to dodge questions and avoid talking to the American people like adults. Then came the 24-hour, non-stop news with story after story about a new poll or a new ad. I kept thinking that this election couldn't come soon enough. Then I discovered a new campaign. A campaign that truly excited me. A campaign I could get behind. I'm talking of course about Magic Hat's Participation 12-packs.Here's what it is - Magic Hat, a Vermont-based Brewery, together with HeadCount, a voter registration organization, has released limited edition 12-packs in an attempt to get "We the People" interested in the election and the issues of our day, and ultimately to get us out to the voting booths. I'm not sure if this 12-pack achieves that goal, but it did succeed in putting together a tasty mix of beers.
The 12-pack includes Magic Hat's flagship ale, #9, which is described as a lighter pale ale. It pours solid gold and has a nice foamy head. Lighter pale ale really is the best way to describe it. It's very crisp, a little fruity, and a lot delicious.
Also on the ticket is Circus Boy Hefeweizen. It has some good spice for a hefeweizen, along with some lemon zest flavors. It was very refreshing. If I were putting this campaign together, however, I would have added something a little bolder or darker. I like lighter refreshing beers, but there's already plenty of that with the other beers in this pack. Bottom line, it's October, I want something heavier.
The newcomer to this campaign is Participation Lager. With this beer, Magic Hat decided to take a stab at a true American Lager. They succeeded, but don't tip this expecting a PBR or a Schlitz. This has a much fuller flavor and has a decent hop character.
Finally, the beer that definitely gets my vote is Jinx, Magic Hat's Autumnal Strong Ale. This is one of my favorite ales right now. Magic Hat describes it as an ale for dancing bonfires and falling leaves. That's enough for me. It rings in at a solid 6.9% abv and pours a deep reddish brown. You get a lot of roasted, peat-smoked maltiness, but there's also a decent hop background. I got flavors ranging from raisins to cinnamon to nuts.
So the Participation 12-pack may not be perfect. If there had been a robust porter or, even better, a barley wine in the mix, it would have won in a landslide. However, in a season where we often have to choose the lesser of two evils, it's good to know that you can go to the liquor store and get a solid selection of tasty beers, all in one ballot box of ale!