Butterbeer is just a little too sweet for everyday consumption. So what are we to drink when we want to toast to another birthday of the boy wizard who has forever enchanted the world?
Harry Potter's birthday is on Wednesday, like author J.K. Rowling's. He and his friends might not go for a hazy IPA at the Three Broomsticks, but we Muggles will sure appreciate a Texas beer named Haze Wizard. From 3 Nations Brewing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Haze Wizard is a hazy IPA featuring rotating hops in each batch.
The cans of Haze Wizard, which are available for purchase in Austin, are adorned with the illustration of an old man in a long white beard, pointed red hat and sweeping red robes. A wand is in one hand, a staff in the other — the latter serving as a visual cue the beer might not be a nod to the Harry Potter series. In fact, 3 Nations co-owner John Royer said it's an homage to multiple wizards in pop culture.
"My love of wizards started with Gandalf in Lord of the Rings and continued with Harry Potter," he said. "So while our Wizard isn’t specifically a HP wizard, there is a strong connection due to our love of wizards. We also felt like wizards make potions and this hazy beer is a concoction of great hops and (other ingredients), so it could be a wizards brew, hence the name."
Founder and master brewer Gavin Secchi created the recipe for Haze Wizard, which originally launched in February 2018 as a way to showcase the various flavors that hops can have. Over the course of 10 batches, 3 Nations has used a range of hops, both well-known options — Citra and Azacca, for example — to more obscure ones like Sultana and Southern Passion.
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Royer recommends sipping your cans of Haze Wizard as soon as you get them because hazy IPAs, thanks to those hops, are best enjoyed fresh. And if you buy cans of each batch, you'll likely find they don't taste the same as the ones that came before.
"What makes hazy IPAs so good, and a challenge, are the rotating hops," he said. "Much like an Italian marinara where the lead tomato can be sweet, mild or spicy, the rotating hops keep the great flavor but add just a hint of variation to the beer... so people can enjoy the original recipe with a new twist."
Version 11 of Haze Wizard will be in stores by Aug. 10, but you may still be able to find six-packs of the previous batch on retail shelves now. For this Harry Potter fan — who found the butterbeer served at Universal Studios' Wizarding World of Harry Potter too sweet to drink more than one of — having an appropriately named ale to sip while I'm rereading the series for the 457th time is too perfect to pass up.
The most recent version of the tangerine-colored IPA is beautifully bright and plenty juicy, exactly the sort of brew you'll want to drink on a summer day indoors, a good book in your other hand.
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