Magic Hat Encore is the winter session of the IPA On Tour series, rotating with Demo, Blind Faith, and HI.P.A. Giving credit to the brewery for some creativity, this unique version of IPA combines a mix of American wheat beer and traditional India Pale Ale (not an official style but nonetheless intriguing).
Alcohol Content: 6.4%
Malts: 2-Row Pale, Wheat, Cara Vienna
Hops: Apollo, Simcoe, Amarillo
Medium: 12oz bottle poured into a tall mug
Price: $14.00 for a 12-pack winter sampler
Aroma: Bold, floral, grapefruit (citrusy), grassy, and perhaps fruity esters from yeast activity. Its very reminiscent of the use of Simcoe hops. The sweet malt nose is rather bland, but perhaps its masked by the characteristically bold hop presence. I expected more of a caramel sweetness from the malts.
Appearance: Poured for a large white foam with decent head retention. Strong carbonation as shown by its very bubbly appearance. Hazy, perhaps from the wheat malts and/or dry hopping rates. Color is of golden orange.
Flavor: Initially sweet malts but then quickly overrun by a resiny, grassy, spicy, and fruity bitterness - yes all of that. Citrus qualities are of grapefruit, along with some other undefined fruity character (perhaps within a yeasty/ bready profile). Some drying as expected along with a molasses-like sweetness that lingers into the aftertaste. The sweetness reminds me of an English Special Bitter (E.S.B.) but the hop profile still dominates this one.
Mouthfeel: The resiny bittering qualities are fast to coat the mouth. A strong carbonation slightly deters the experience. Consists of a moderate body with some thickness leaning towards a chewy character (also reminiscent of an E.S.B). Some alcohol warmth to it and a suspended dry aftertaste.
Overall Impression: Because its really a hybrid of styles, its hard to give an accurate measure to its appropriateness/ fit with a true American IPA. Its got a big hop profile but the malt balance does not quite match with an IPA. Although I still enjoyed it :)