Brew Review: Howl – Black as Night

21 Sep

Brew: Howl – Black as Night Winter Lager

Brewed by: Magic Hat Brewing (Burlington, VT)

Style: Black Lager (4.6% ABV)


The winter seasonal from Magic Hat.  Magic Hat has never impressed me.  Not once, not never.  They have great label art and their beer hasn’t been terrible but nothing makes me say, ‘I want to have this one again.’   So I didn’t have high hopes for this beer to blow me away I was just hoping for one that didn’t suck. 

Howl poured out pretty dark.  It does say ‘black as night’ on the label and that’s not exactly true.  Unless your night is has a full moon in the middle of Times Square.  It is dark but there is plenty of brown and red that show up as well.  More like a deep brown than a black. I might just be making a mountain out of a mole hill here.  It does have a nice big billowing head that rests gently on top of the brew.  It eventually reduces down to an off-white cap for the remainder of the glass.

The aroma is roasty but with a distinct lager smell.  There were some chocolate notes but mostly roasted grains along with some crisp hop bits reminding me that this is a lager bier.  A faint bready or grainy aroma as well.

The taste surprised me.  It was creamy and had some good roasty notes.  Not really what I was expecting from something labeled as a lager.  The light body was lager-esque which was interesting and it definitely kept the lager style right in the front of my mind for the whole brew.

I would say that this beer isn’t especially complex or intriguing but I was pleasantly surprised by how well I liked it.  it was totally drinkable but at the same time had those darker beer qualities like roasted grains and a creamy feel in the mouth that drew me back to it.  The dark lager is nothing new in the world but usually, from me experience anyway, they are like any other lager with a dark color and a touch heavier, nothing more.  This brew had a few more aspects that made it a bit more enjoyable. 


Final Grade: B


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