Magic Hat Brewing Co. is getting back into the "big beer" business. The brewery in Burlington, Vt., is debuting its Humdinger series of beers that will be limited to 200 barrels each and put into 750-milliliter bottles priced at $10. (If the name sounds familiar, it's because Magic Hat previously had a Humdinger series of beers available both on draft and in bottles.)
The first new Humdinger beer is an imperial pilsner called Over the Pils. At 8.1 percent alcohol and 75 IBUs, it's got much more booze and hops that your ordinary pilsner (a pale lager that originated in the Czech Republic).
Golden with a thick, creamy head and tiny carbonation bubbles rising nonstop to the surface, Over the Pils has a bold aroma -- biscuits, grass, a little bit of lemon -- a smooth, creamy mouthfeel, and a crispy, bitter finish. Over the Pils is a bit of a Trojan horse: a soft, inviting exterior with a tough core that attacks with malt, hops, and alcohol. For my taste, it's a bit too heavy for the pilsner style (does everything have to be turned imperial?). But certainly fans of imperial pilsners will take to this.