Magic Hat #9

In the last of my series for National Beer Drinking Day, I am highlighting one of my all-time favorite beers.  My friend Kelly introduced me to Magic Hat #9 on a July afternoon about 9 years ago.  I had just started a new job and the happy hour crew was out to celebrate.  My love of IPA’s was immediately transformed when I took my first sip of this “not quite pale ale” – and what an awakening it was!


Rather than a shin-kick of hops and bitterness, #9 is a beautiful ale made with 2 kinds of malt, Cascade and Apollo hops and a hint of apricot.  That’s right, I said apricot – if you don’t have a well-developed palate, you’ll be searching your mind and tongue for that ingredient with every sip.  This beer is light and refreshing, but heavy on flavor.  You almost get the mouth feel of a heady pale ale, but it goes down smooth like a light beer or wheat.  It’s crisp and slightly fruity, but not at all sweet.  If someone doesn’t like hoppy beer, chances are they’ll fall in love with #9 – sounds like the love story from a James Bond movie, right?!

While it used to be hard to find, you can now get Magic Hat at many grocery stores and bars and restaurants.  Imagine my delight when I found #9 in 16-ounce cans at a local golf course and at our concert venue – jackpot!!  Pair this beer with just about anything, but it goes amazingly well with a charcuterie platter and cheese assortment.  You’ll think you’re drinking wine the way the flavor is enhanced by different foods.  Try a little crusty bread with camembert and dried apricot and listen to #9 sing with that one.  Check them out in your area or find out more online at


Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy

Traveler Beer Company was first introduced to us 4 years ago while we were living in Minneapolis.  Being in the backyard of Leinenkugel’s, I was plenty familiar with a shandy. While I enjoy a great number of the lemon varieties on the market today, most breweries make these a little sweet for my taste.  Ever take frozen lemonade concentrate and mix it in a pitcher with 6 light or wheat beers?  There, I just taught you how to make your own shandy year-round!  Seriously though, I need a little more depth of flavor and less sweetness.


Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy is a great brew with a melody of flavors in a lighter beer.  Pour this one in a glass to get a look at it’s beautiful light amber hue, cloudy enough to know you have some hefty malted barley and wheat.  The aroma gives you a good sense of the wheat, but also a hint of the citrus.  Lightly hopped, the citrus flavor of lemon and lime stand on their own and lend a a crispy taste without being sweet – thank you!!  With 4.4% ABV, you can enjoy a few with dinner or plow through a Saturday of golf without getting actually plowed!

Lemon Shandy goes with almost any food, but I love it paired with peel-and-eat shrimp or a great BBQ chicken thigh.  You won’t go wrong with cheese doodles as far as I’m concerned.  Enjoy this at home or tailgating and camping as you can usually find it in both bottles and cans for easy cooler packing.  You can find out more about their great beers and Vermont-cool beer gear at