Okay, how can you not review a beer with this name? It is a confession of this writer that this one came down the line on a night out a few weeks ago, but this is why you take notes. There seems to be a lot of ‘hybrid’ beers on the market, as Virginia brewers are trying to create brews that would stand out from the others. And while it is hard to break a whole tap in restaurant or bar, it’s a whole lot easier to get a case or two of 22s or 750s available for the more discerned beer drinker. This one falls into that category as Lickinghole Creek has a strong following in RVA, and this is one of the beers that should lead the way.
Magic Beaver Belgian-Style Pale Ale, Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery (Goochland, VA)
Belgian/American Pale Ale, ABV: 5.5%, IBU: 30
Presentation: Bottle pour into tulep (and on chilled ice track, which did nothing in a tulep glass)
Appearance: Deep reddish-orange cloudy pour with pale white/orangish head with moderate quick dissipating head.
Taste: You get both sides of this hybrid. The Belgian half imparts that citrus/spice notes you would see in a heavier beer, but their is a dryness too it resulting from the APA side. There is not really any hop punch to it, but finishes with that Pale Ale bread/yeast feel.
ABV/IBU: It was very easy drinking, and actually a little too easy drinking. Low ABV (compared to other BPAs) and IBU (compared to APAs) and that I wouldn’t have minded sacrificing one or the other for some extra ‘umph’!
Overall: It’s tough to but a lot of these beers into categories, but you can’t go around making hundreds of categories either. As a beer taster, you’re going to try it plain and simple. As a general consumer picking up a beer from a restaurant or a store, you have to look at it on the merits of the description. This one is no exception. Is it a true Belgian? Is it a true American Pale Ale? No, but the marriage has its merits. You can get the flavor of a heavier beer with a finish suiting a 3-season ale. I saw where they were going with this one, but I think this beer was one ‘something’ away from being great. I enjoyed the beer and recommend that you try it first. It’s very, very drinkable and works very well in the summer months, but know what you are getting into with this one.