Circus Boy - Magic Hat Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Circus BoyCircus Boy

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BA SCORE
78
okay

652 Reviews
THE BROS
87
very good

(Read More)
Reviews: 652
Hads: 1,609
rAvg: 3.43
pDev: 9.91%
Wants: 26
Gots: 214 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Magic Hat Brewing Company visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
American Pale Wheat Ale |  4.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Jason on 02-03-2006

Unfiltered and unfettered, Circus Boy is a unique and refreshing American-style Hefeweizen. Is he a who? Or a what? Or perhaps some of both? Be amazed by the flavorful haze of this wonderful wheat beer.

15 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 652 | Hads: 1,609
Photo of DannyHartman
3.2/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

As I pour a 12 oz. bottle into a pint glass, a 1-2" thick head appears atop a hazy yellowish/gold brew.... The head dissolves quickly.... There's decent retention and minimal lacing.... There's also a few noticeable bubbles rising throughout the drink.

I take a whiff, and I get mostly lemon and bready malt.... That's about it.

The taste is pretty similar.... Lots of lemon and bread.... There's also a bit of spice like pepper.

This is a light to medium-bodied brew that is well carbonated.... Pretty crisp for a "hefeweizen".... Leaves a zesty lemon aftertaste.

Overall, I'm not too impressed with this brew for what it's supposed to be.... It has a decent taste, but it's almost too easy of a drink (if you know what I mean). (733 characters)

Photo of axeman9182
2.87/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, served into my Bruery tulip.

Circus Boy pours a mostly hazy tangerine, with a decent amount of goldenrod highlights. Only half a finger or so of white foam tops the beer, and both head retention and lacing are basically nonexistent. The nose is entirely too weak. There's a bit of grainy wheat, and a trace of lemon, but that's it. The flavor profile is better, but just barely. The same wheatiness greets me first with each sip, but here it's followed by a light sprinkling of black pepper. A muted lemon zest note provides the finish. The body is a little full, and the carbonation a little lackluster, but still the mouthfeel is probably this beer's best quality. Circus Boy tastes like it's a bit past it's prime (not that there's any bottle dating present), but I don't think even in peak condition it's much more than an alright wheat beer (and for the love of God, don't call it a hefeweizen). (915 characters)

Photo of TMoney2591
2.48/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Served in an Ohio State shaker pint glass.

I feel dirty drinking out of this glass, but it's what they have here, so c'est la vie indeed. Anyway, this stuff pours a clear straw topped by a finger of lightly off-white foam. The nose comprises wheat, corn syrup, and very light lettuce. There's a palpable sweetness pervading. The taste holds notes of light funky wheat, old lemon peel, and a pinch of black pepper. The body is a hefty light, with a light moderate carbonation and a surprisingly very dry finish. Overall, a pretty sad hefe. The yeast character is nil, the wheat is funky, and things just seemed generally off. (625 characters)

Photo of allforbetterbeer
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Pilsner glass.

Pours clear and golden light with a white fluffy head. After mixing in the dregs, it is cloudy and soft looking with plentiful bubbles. rising.

Smells of light citrus zest, light active yeast, white toast, light cracked malt. Smells dry and fresh.

The flavor is slightly yeasty with a tiny citrus note (from yeast and hops) and malt taking center stage. The malty flavors are relegated to the light side of the spectrum, and with crackery dry saltine and white toast notes. No banana or coriander type flavors to be found in this American version. Too bad the label says "hefeweizen"

The mouthfeel is lighter and well carbonated.

Conclusion: Not a bad beer, but really not special either. There isn't much to set this apart from other APWAs, but the malt flavors are clean and textured. I suppose this is meant to be enjoyed with a lemon wedge. I would never turn this down, and if there were not so many fantastic local alternatives, I can't find any reason why I wouldn't want some stocked in my fridge, especially during the summer months. (1,078 characters)

Photo of CequalsBsharp
3.37/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A- Cloudy golden-yellow color with decent head. Left a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S- Pretty nice aroma. Definitely had a fresh lemon and wheat smell to it.

T- More of the lemon and wheat maybe a bit a spice. Kinda soapy at times.

M- Pretty crisp and refreshing.

O- Would make a much better summer beer. Not my favorite beer in the genre, but still a nice pour. (374 characters)

Photo of MsJessie
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Circus Boy is my Gateway beer. Despite the fact that it has fallen into the bottom rungs of my most wanted beer list.

When poured properly, it forms a decent head (1.5 to 2 fingers in size), and it golden in color with an ivory/white head.

It has a lemon and floral aroma, and you can absolutely catch the lemongrass on the finishing edge that is almost overwhelming. I feel that for me, it is reminiscent of lemon cleaning products. Other than that it is wonderful.

The body is light and drinks very easily. Perfect for hot days. Very refreshing.

Beer is available (PA) in:

12oz Bottles (cases and six packs)
Draft (16 to 24oz pours, Growlers) (651 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Leaving the beer unfiltered may make it appear less polished, but no less attractive. This clouded, yellow offering retains a good amount of shine even despite its lack of clarity and looks pretty darn enticing, if you ask me. Few bubbles are noted and, correspondingly, little head is amassed but there's enough to give it a proper wheat beer image.

Instantly noticed in the aroma is the zest, which, on first thought, I had penciled in as either lemon or orange but upon giving a closer look to the label is actually lemongrass. A good hefeweizen yeast is zesty and aromatic enough and shouldn't need any help, but I suppose it doesn't hurt (and this beer definitely could have used it).

Circus Boy definitely doesn't drink like the hefeweizen it's advertised as. There's little fullness in the mouthfeel and, the bouquet aside, little zest or spice neither. Nothing remotely resembling clove or banana (the flavours most often associated with the style) is noticed and, though well bubbled and a tad creamy, there's little quenching about it.

All that being said, I hesitate to paint too bad a picture of Circus Boy. It is an agreeable ale and sure to appeal greatly to those still unfamiliar with anything other than commercial lagers; the zest and yeast here is too faint for my palate, but might be like hitting jackpot for less experienced drinkers. There are, however, much better offerings at similar price.

Magic Hat is pretty successful by the standards of an economically oriented world. And while they provide a decent variety of styles and a couple of outstanding offerings, I don't know they deserve all the attention that's come their way, not when there are so many better microbreweries still wrestling for a share of the pie. Consider looking elsewhere. (1,777 characters)

Photo of HopAlongG
2.33/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

The fact that it says hefeweizen on the label probably skewed my review from the first sip. Even compared to other APWA it's lousy. Maybe because I've been swilling Ayinger, Kellerweis, Weihenstephaner, etc. all summer added to the fact that I dumped it halfway through the first bottle.

I may give it another try but I highly doubt it. It tasted like some bug spray was added for flavor. Perhaps it's just me, but I haven't found a Magic Hat offering that I can tolerate more than a few sips of yet.

If you like this style try A Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale by Lags....the standard IMNSHO and truly outstanding. (613 characters)

Photo of enoerew
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Readily foams, leaving about 1/2" of foam fading to a thin ring in 1-2 minutes, hazy golden yellow, no lacing.

S - Lemon, bready, copper.

T - Bright, citrus, slightly acidic.

M - Light, slight carbonation, aftertaste on sides of tongue.

O - Decent hefeweizen, could be more complex tastewise. (300 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.52/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured out a hazy, golden yellow color with a one-finger, white head of bubbly foam. It left little to no lacing.

S - It smelled of lemon and cracked wheat. Nice aroma.

T - It tasted of wheat, spices (corriander), lemon and some yeastiness.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A light bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a nice wheat beer. Glad I finally got to try it. (390 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
2.78/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

On tap at the brewery. Very pale, hazy yellow, with a sizeable white head and patchy lacing. Lemony aroma with lots of grainy wheat and moderate honey sweetness in the nose.

Flavor is blander than anticipated; wheat is the predominant taste, with a grainy and slightly off, catty character. More malty/honey sweetness than I’d like in this style; with lesser citrus/lemon and floral notes. Not particularly appealing. Not a ton of lemongrass coming through.

Light body with fairly crisp carbonation, decent crispness. Still fails to clean up as much as it could. Watery. Not outstanding or particularly tasty in any way and not something I’d return to in the future. (674 characters)

Photo of rundocrun
2.77/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Body is a cloudy straw yellow. A half finger of white head with decent retention forms. No lacing.

S - Aromas of brown bread and just a touch of spicy funk. Mild herbal hops. Overall, not too aromatic though.

T - Dry and bready up front. A touch of fruity tang comes in toward the middle with hints of spices - black pepper and saffron. Also a touch of lemongrass and orange. Finish is a bit metallic and watery.

M - Thin body. Good carbonation. Finish is fairly clean. (476 characters)

Photo of KajII
3.32/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

[Best served in a Weizen glass]

The pour was a hazy pale yellow with a large white frothy head that dissipated quickly down to a thick film with a medium collar and had some fair spotty lacing.

The aroma was pretty basic for a Hefeweizen, with a mild grain malt and a soapy yeast and having notes of citrus (lemon), banana and a bit of coriander.

The taste was light and mildly sweet with a slight banana wheat presence early on, then became rather yeasty with a hint of lemon, a moderate dose of spice and a slight bitter citrus peel finish. The flavor was very short lived with the slight spicy yeast taste fading quickly after the swallow.

Mouthfeel was light in body and watery in texture with a unusually mild carbonation.

Overall a pretty basic Hefeweizen with a nice taste, a refreshing feel and a great drinkability. This is a brew that is light in alcohol and refreshing in taste, making it a great addition to any summer outing... (945 characters)

Photo of thecheapies
3.57/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy tangerine/gold brew. Some minor stick on the glass. The head is a foamy whisp. Looks like beer.

Crackery wheat malts, dusty yeast cake, and faint lemon/orange. Nothing to write home about.

Soapy flavors with a lemon juice punch. Very chalky yeast, dry malts, subtle spicing, and herbal notes are probably not hops.

Super-easy drinking. Sudsy, which is a plus for this one, and it masks the thinner-than-medium body.

Very mild pale wheat that isn't too bad... now, when Magic Hat calls it a hefeweizen, that's when we have a problem. (541 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
2.75/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured from about an inch or so above the glass give this pale golden colored beer a smallish white head.

A very faint sweet malt and grain aroma on this medium to light bodied beer.

A light sweetness to light grain malt tasting beer.

A light dry aftertaste with just a touch of sweetness to it.

Not much to this beer, it would be good for beginners and beer pong, and that's about it I would guess. (403 characters)

Photo of RoamingGnome
3.55/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a pilsner style glass. Served chilled...

A) Golden with pretty good clarity for a wheat brew. A finger of head settled to a collar. No lacing...

S) Really quite grassy. Just a little wheat on the nose. Very light spice.

T) Nice wheat flavor... Good balance... Grassy hops and citrus zest. Very clean finish.

M) Solid medium body. Nicely carbonated, which keeps this lively, crisp and refreshing. Nice summer brew.

O) Enjoyed this beer... Really one of Magic Hats better offerings. Give this one a shot. (526 characters)

Photo of mikeg67
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle from Trader’s Joe. Pours hazy golden with a short lived white head. Nose is citrus fruit and some grassy hops. Body is medium and slightly crisp. Sweet wheat malt, citrus fruits, hints of spices and banana fill the mouth. Finish is long and pleasantly dry. It is not German Hefe but still pleasant, easy drinking brew. (333 characters)

Photo of BottleOfPills
3.96/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance is like a good vitamin laced moment of relief. Dark orangish yellow.

The Smell is a bit fruity, mine I thought had that flat tasting smell, but that sounds like a bad thing - I guess smell wise it is.

The taste I like, so even though my smell rating was average I liked the taste of this. Crisp, almost Bud Light (the masses scream in hate and amass outside my door with pitchforks and torches). After reading the other reviews of this beer, I can definitly taste the "black pepper" and it does bring out the other flavors. It must be Lemon Pepper - I don't know, but the taste is a crisp fruit peppery taste.

Mouthfeel I mentioned is crisp.

Overall this is a pretty damned good offering from the boys and girls from Magic Hat. I would definitly drink more of it. (782 characters)

Photo of BeerKangaroo
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Into a pint glass:

A: clear yellow/orange body with no head whatsoever, lacing is minimal and somewhat spotty and drips down the side of the glass. It leaves no rings and there isn't any visible carbonation rising.

S: fresh sort of floral yet lemon aroma. However, I do note the black pepper that comes out pretty strong. There are some hops in the background.

T: brings back the lemon and some malts come out. A slight wheatiness comes out in the taste. The black pepper comes in the taste closer to the end of the beer.

M: light with a heavier carbonation which leaves a crisp sort of feel. It leaves a slightly dry finish.

O: not a bad beer. I guess I found it interesting with the "black pepper" thing going on in an American Pale Wheat Ale. It may be something I just need to get used to, that's all. I'm not sure if I would get this again, maybe on tap. (864 characters)

Photo of bnes09
3.89/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Orange and hazy ale. Thin head with minimal lacing.

Fresh, floral and lemon hoppy aromas.

Sweet, somewhat tart flavors of lemonheads and fresh cut grass. Malts are mild and smooth with wheat flavor. Slightest hint of yeast with banana notes.

Light bodied. Snappy, harsh carbonation. Crisp, clean finish.

Really good stuff. Would make a great summer session beer. (368 characters)

Photo of hardy008
2.09/5  rDev -39.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2

Pours a cloudy yellow color with a one finger off white head with fair retention, and no lacing. Smells like weak lemon, yeast, and wheat.

Tastes like light lemon, wheat, and yeast. Somewhat sweet, although there is not much taste, kind of disappointing.

Light bodied, plenty of carbonation, thin, and watery. I'm not sure if this has been sitting for a while, or just placed on the shelf, but I am glad I only tried a single. I will pass on this in the future. (464 characters)

Photo of FightingEntropy
3.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Another Magic Hat that I liked the sample last summer on site more than the bottle that I've been able to acquire in Minnesota. While I understand that I shouldn't be surprised, the beer that's being drunk in Vermont doesn't seem to make it here in the same shape sadly.

White head pops up and evaporates quickly to leave just the straw gold with copper highlighted beer in the glass. My notes from last summer say hefe w/ lemongrass, and I can smell in lightly when I look hard. Taste is thin bodied and lacks any pizzazz. Light yeast and fruity characteristics follow with a slight bite, but little more.

Disappointed in this bottle and won't be trying it again--at least until I get a chance for a draft in Vermont to figure out the difference. After finishing my review, I saw the Alstrom review has being much higher. That review is from 2006, so maybe something has changed in the beer since then in spite of the name being the same, but iin reading Jason A's review I am not drinking the same quality of beer. Whether it's transportation, lack of Magic Hat sales in Minnesota, timing of when I bought it, etc, I'm not sure. Just doesn't live up. (1,156 characters)

Photo of JackieTH
3.24/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pour is yellow and slightly hazy with a slight foam head that dissipates quickly leaving no lacing. Smells of crackers, biscuit malt, wheat. Taste is wheat and corn, malt, yeast, a tad sour, with a bit of brightness from the carbonation.  Mouthfeel is medium to light but holds together adequately.  I wouldn't turn it down, nor would I seek it out.  (353 characters)

Photo of CEversole
3.87/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a hazy yellow colr with an off-white head (1/4 finger).

S: Smells of malt and bread. A pick up a slight hint of a floral hop aroma. not bad in this area.

T: Definately a malty flavor followed by bread/wheat/straw notes. I'm picking up a citrus or floral hop background and after taste however I cant quite place it. Wheat is definately there as well. Just read the bottle and it is brewed with "lemongrass". I can really taste it at the end. Its a nice touch nonetheless.

M: This beer has a thick feel in the mouth that I am attributing to being unfiltered. Not sure if that is what it is but seems to be. Still, it is very clean, crisp, but could use just a bit more carbonation.

O: Overall I enjoyed this beer, I had my doubts because M.H. can be so-so at times. I was surprised at the outcome. (811 characters)

Photo of Kendo
3.25/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a weizen glass. Body is ever-so-slightly hazy - golden- yellow in color with a 2-finger off-white head.

S: Some spiciness, modest bready malt - no real wheat twang like one would expect for this style. Still, the nose is inoffensive and mild.

T: Not impressed. Fruity sweetness overwhelms the wheat and spice, which is there, but in the background. Finishes a bit sweet too, though there are some florally hops with a touch of lemon at the end.

M: Light in heft, slightly slick feel to it, which is surprising for this style. I expect more vibrancy, crispness and pop from an American Pale Wheat Ale.

O: This is OK. Would probably benefit from the addition of a lemon. (704 characters)

Circus Boy from Magic Hat Brewing Company
78 out of 100 based on 652 ratings.