Magic Hat comeback?

Discussion in 'New England' started by zachattack12, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. zachattack12

    zachattack12 Initiate (36) Apr 14, 2019 Kentucky

    I recently read an interview with Mark Hegedus (formerly of Deschutes and Goose Island), the new president of Magic Hat. He said that the parent company now has no creative control and that Magic Hat is headed in a positive direction.

    Their more recent beers (ie: Laughing Stock, Sour #9, Devil's Woo!, etc.) have been getting pretty good reviews. Does anyone in the area know if they are actually on the road to redemption?
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  2. LukieBL

    LukieBL Initiate (111) Jun 10, 2015 Massachusetts

    Would love to see this

    I, like a lot of others I’m sure, have really fond memories of #9, Fat Angel, single chair, blind faith, etc
    jaxon53, Jmr85 and Jwale73 like this.
  3. Jmr85

    Jmr85 Aspirant (262) Nov 25, 2013 Connecticut

    This brewery got me into craft beer! One of the first breweries I ever visited......Elder Betty was my jam!!! Wish nothing but the best for them!
  4. sulldaddy

    sulldaddy Poo-Bah (3,521) Apr 6, 2003 Connecticut
    Society Trader

    Magic Hat was definitely an OG in the craft scene. Had many many of their beers early on.
    Some of the cooler label art of those days too.
    would be nice to have a successful reboot.
    pbrian likes this.
  5. trsC

    trsC Initiate (66) May 5, 2013 Spain

    The Hi-PA! Or whatever the hell they called that beer. The Heart of Darkness was great as was that weird barley-wine thing they would make, but I can't remember the name.

    They also gave me one of my first post-college job interviews. Wisely they didn't offer anything otherwise we would have been talking about the demise and possible resurgence of Magic Hat some years ago.
    JrGtr, eaglephile, kinopio and 4 others like this.
  6. IGaveYouPower

    IGaveYouPower Initiate (163) Dec 2, 2010 New York

    A blueprint for this (albeit on a smaller scale) exists. Brown's Brewing in Troy for like, 20 years, was just your standard brewpub. Porter. Pale Ale. Hefe. Pilsner. Etc. They had distro of the same 2-3 beers for years and never deviated.

    Then they opened a second brewery location and started using their OG spot as R&D, brought a new brewer in, and they've been cranking out some of the best beer north of NYC since. They have a fantastic sour program and their draft lineup is always different and super varied. They've reinvigorated interest in the name and made a lot of new fans too.

    It's tougher for MH because of how far they distro but if they scale that back, and do good, creative work on small-batch stuff at the brewery they can absolutely build that brand back up.

    And I hope they do.
    meefmoff and AlcahueteJ like this.
  7. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (350) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    I think Jack's Abby is what they should be shooting for, which actually is not that far from what they used to be. Jack's has managed to cultivate a great balance of having beer geek cred while still being an unpretentious, easily accessible, daily driver sort of brand. I think Magic Hat has a ton of potential to be that kind of brewery.
    TheOneTC and cmoney13 like this.
  8. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,121) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    Much of their success is likely attributed to their IPLs, and to a lesser degree their Baltic Porters. Moreover, their ability to brew more traditional lagers as well, something they’re known for throughout their distribution system. Oh, and they’re good at it too.

    That’s sort of unique, and quite different than the “New England IPA factory” model.

    Can Magic Hat do something similar with similar styles or another niche?
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  9. redbill

    redbill Initiate (20) Nov 29, 2018 Massachusetts

  10. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (130) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    When the microbrewery craze began, it was born out of response to the homogeneity on the shelves. Everything was the same old crap. Look in the cooler and all the beers were the same with slight differences. Old Milwaukee, Bud, Michelob, Miller, Pabst, High Life, etc. New, smaller breweries fought against this by adding some variety.

    Fast forward to 2019, almost 2020, and we're back to where we were decades ago: Stale, boring homogeneity. Oh look. A hazy pale ale.

    I had a Coors Banquet the other day and it was superb.
    DucRacer900 likes this.
  11. zachattack12

    zachattack12 Initiate (36) Apr 14, 2019 Kentucky

    Chaotic Chemistry
    kennyo and trsC like this.
  12. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (428) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Cool story bro.
    rozzom and mrmattosgood like this.
  13. mrmattosgood

    mrmattosgood Initiate (130) Nov 6, 2010 Monaco

    Ok boomer.

    so while the point of my post was to express a dissatisfaction in the craft beer industry in relation to Magic Hat brewing a hazy pale ale, what was the point of yours?
  14. meefmoff

    meefmoff Devotee (428) Jul 6, 2014 Massachusetts

    Your post was deeply banal. It was the beer equivalent of saying "Music is all the same days. But I listened to London Calling last night and it kicked ass."

    And my parents are boomers, twerp.
    rozzom likes this.
  15. Rysk22

    Rysk22 Aspirant (220) Nov 12, 2014 Massachusetts

    Banal.... heheh.
    braineater and Capt_Quint like this.
  16. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (855) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    How dare you compare The Clash to Coors. You animal.

    I’m also the offspring of boomers.

    And finally - I thought we’d agreed not to use “ok boomer” on here. This is its second showing in the New England forum. Let’s collectively police this.
  17. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (190) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I'm happy to leave Magic Hat in past. This isn't to begrudge them but more because my memory of Magic Hat #9 is a romanticized memory that reality can never live up to. Its similar to Harpoon UFO and that old awesome tap handle with the world on top. Back when there was only one UFO. Back when Redbones and Joshua Tree were in their prime and you'd head to the Burren afterwards. Back when we'd go to the Snug which was a small bar below Finegan's Wake. Good Times Emporium still existed. There was a Sam Adams pub at the Lenox Hotel in Boston. Sam Adams Double Bock was a seasonal release and was what you waited for after suffering through the horrible cherry lambic and Winter beer but after (what was then) the awesome Octoberfest. 7%+ ABV beers were strong beers and there weren't many around. Boston Beer Works was an awesome place to go and always packed. The Mako Shark bites were still on the menu. Lowell Beer Works was an independent brewery (just Lowell Brewery) that had a nice restaurant and made really good root beer. The second level was a bar and the third level was indoor mini golf.

    Happier to think of Magic Hat in that context rather than be disappointed by whatever direction they go in, whether its good or bad.
  18. jaygates

    jaygates Initiate (97) Apr 23, 2007 Massachusetts

    I have great memories of MH 10+ years ago, Roxy Rolles, Jinx, HiPA. There's too many options these days, though.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  19. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (350) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Counterpoint: this is totally insane.
    Rysk22, Ryanwithacomb, AirBob and 6 others like this.
  20. sosbombs

    sosbombs Initiate (116) Jan 12, 2016 Vermont

    there are plenty of different beers out there.
    Rysk22 likes this.
  21. LukieBL

    LukieBL Initiate (111) Jun 10, 2015 Massachusetts

    This really is a little insane to use the word homogeneity. It’s sounds like he should maybe step away from craft beer for a whole if this is the feeling that beer in 2019 is evoking.

    That said, I do get it to an extent. I get being burned out by the myriad options but to call this era of beer homogenous is not accurate
  22. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (190) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    Its a bit like Martin Scorsese's arguments against super hero movies. Any industry is going to lean towards whatever sells well. These things go in waves, everybody jumps on the bandwagon until the bandwagon is so full it falls over. Its hard for breweries (or movie studios or what have you) to succeed in an environment where they aren't on that bandwagon.

    I find myself frustrated at times by the amount of IPA's and NEIPA's out there. If you walk into a brewery and 8 out of 10 taps are variations of an IPA its a bit boring. Now the thing is that there are so many breweries out there that certainly as an aggregate we have way more options than ever. It takes a bit more work to find something that is different, same as it does with music and movies. With the number of breweries out there and the slower growth in craft beer I think we'll start to see the IPA/NEIPA trend to level off a bit and decrease. Breweries are going to have to find a way to differentiate themselves when we have so many options out there. I don't think we'll all of a sudden not see mostly IPA/NEIPA's but I'd guess we'll start to see a bit more variety from the breweries that are focusing on IPA's.
  23. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (350) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    I think the brand is still surprisingly strong (just look at the response to this thread), and I think their niche is I think already kinda there, beers that have some weird twist on them but that are ultimately approachable and easy-drinking. Kinda Night Shift if Night Shift had held onto more of their early weirdness?
    sulldaddy and AlcahueteJ like this.
  24. matthewp

    matthewp Initiate (190) Feb 27, 2015 Massachusetts

    I think its more of a nostalgia than an actual love. Like Bartles and James or Zima. There's a certain nostalgia for it but beyond that there isn't much.
  25. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (364) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

    Golly, Magic Hat's reputation has been rehabilitated, it seems. Five years ago they'd regularly get bashed here and be characterized as pedestrian and stuck in the '90s. Their no. 9 may have been the first fruited ale I ever have and I still recall it with some fondness.
    SABERG, zachattack12 and Mkozaka like this.
  26. oldbean

    oldbean Disciple (350) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    I mean, nostalgia ain't nothing.

    Literally the first beer I ever had.
    sulldaddy and matthewp like this.
  27. brother_rebus

    brother_rebus Champion (884) Jul 28, 2014 Maine

    It seemed for a time that every beer of theirs I enjoyed in the 2007-2013 range, they would cease production on. But they are getting hawked by some music podcast I've been listening to recently, so may be remarketing themselves with this new president. Idk. Probably still wont buy their stuff, but definitely have to give a nod for their herald past.
  28. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,121) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts


    Although Nightshift pivoted away from that theme and gained success after that.
  29. tzieser

    tzieser Meyvn (1,095) Nov 21, 2006 New Jersey

    I’d love to see Roxy Rolles again. Junior year of college in Boston, 2007– that beer is responsible for starting my interest in hoppy beers.
    SunDevilBeer likes this.
  30. SunDevilBeer

    SunDevilBeer Defender (634) May 9, 2003 Massachusetts

    Bring back Humble Patience (Irish Red) on nitro. My fave beer from 2000-2002.
    tzieser likes this.
  31. Jcorn

    Jcorn Disciple (354) Jun 17, 2015 Massachusetts

    i still buy & drink #9 for summer time bbqs. is that wrong? its still pretty damn good.
    oldbean, SABERG, Rysk22 and 1 other person like this.
  32. mhull

    mhull Initiate (105) Apr 11, 2008 Massachusetts

    Whoa this brings me back, I was a huge fan of HiPA.
    EDNOSE likes this.
  33. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Devotee (449) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Haven't had a magik hat in a long time but they did go way down hill when they sold out. I, like others did like the #9, hell, bought a keg of it for my daughters wedding along with 60 minite from Dogfish.

    It was the shit back then, now lots of choices and that's a good thing. Breweries will make what sells, just good buiz.

    And what's wrong with sayin boomer. I'm one of that generation, and it ain't bad, lol.
    matthewp likes this.
  34. EDNOSE

    EDNOSE Aspirant (224) Oct 27, 2007 Connecticut

    Was a huge fan of Hipa and Blind Faith back in the day. Drank 9 if it was the only option but a place with 9 usually had Harpoon IPA which was the better choice in my mind.