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Summer beer: 'Wacko,' 'Blind Faith,' 'The Odd Notion'

There's always something curious brewing at Magic Hat. This season, the high-spirited Vermont company has gone Wacko.

That's the official name of Magic Hat's summer brew, a beet-red beer. Wacko has its share of slightly sweet maltiness, but finishes dry. Hops are headed for the straitjacket compared with the brewery's other efforts. Wacko, aimed at the summertime drinker, is best consumed before Labor Day.

Wacko is one contributor to Magic Hat's "Summer Scene Variety" 12-pack.

You'll also find the latest in the India Pale Ale "I.P.A. on Tour" series, the hopped-up Blind Faith - which may evoke memories of the one-shot, big-blast '60s band of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech.

The label on the bottle suitably swirls. And the light-amber India Pale Ale is very refreshing, with enough bitterness, floral, citrus and spice notes to keep rocking.

Magic Hat plans to release a new I.P.A. for each season to ensure there's enough bite and hoppiness year-round.

Wacko and Blind Faith are available in six-packs, for $9 to $10.

They're in the summer 12-pack, which goes for about $18. In that hot-weather production, you'll also find The Odd Notion series contribution for summer 2010, an ale brewed with ginger.

The "wild ginger ale" does deliver a distinctive bit of spiciness. You'll find it only in the summer pack.