Recently, I saw this beer on tap at RFD and decided to give it a try. I’d had a few Harpoons and found them generally enjoyable but knew nothing about this beer. The idea of maple in a beer seemed like an interesting twist on all of the summer wheat beers that are now available. The name conjured images of frozen trees being tapped for syrup and snow being melted for beer which, in the middle of summer in DC, was a very tempting thought. I was hoping for a mild beer with a sweet finish. Sadly, the beer delivered none of these things.
The beer pours a caramel color with a medium head. There is very little aroma at all. The beer tastes like…actually, it’s hard to say. It doesn’t have the mild flavor that I expect in a wheat beer. It doesn’t have much maple flavor or any other sweet taste. There is a mildly bitter aftertaste that could be burnt sugar, probably from the syrup, but not something that improved the flavor.
Aside from the slight aftertaste it’s a drinkable beer but not at all what comes to mind when one thinks maple wheat. I guess I’ll just stick to summer wheats.
I began seeing the commercials for T.G.I. Friday’s touting the use of Magic Hat #9 in some of their meals and I was ready to rip on Magic Hat for selling out to a chain. Then I did some research and it is not Magic Hat selling out. It was something much different: T.G.I. Friday’s is making themselves a craft beer hotspot! Well, sort of. They still have many crappy macro beers, but they are increasing the number of craft beers they carry. Certain dishes will also be made with craft beer, including: a beer battered shrimp appetizer; entrees with steak, flounder, ribs and chicken either marinated or cooked with it; and a couple of beer-based desserts (adults only). While the selection varies by state, Friday’s will be serving some of the following beers: Harpoon IPA, Magic Hat #9, New Belgium Fat Tire, Goose Island Honkers Ale, Abita Amber, Alaskan IPA (Alaska only), Boulevard Wheat, and Uinta Cutthroat Ale (Utah only). It would be great if each restaurant carried all of the aforementioned brews, but having any exposure to mass markets is great for craft beer. Cheers to you T.G.I. Friday’s!