Magic, racist beer

On my recent drive home from Montreal, I made a slight detour so that I could check out the Magic Hat brewery in Vermont. Magic Hat is fairly popular in NYC but I’ve also noticed it on my travels around the country. It’s famous for being decidedly bright and crazy looking, with bold colours, swirly artwork and fun taglines under the bottle cap. Strangely enough, their most popular beer seems to be the most boring looking one which is simply named “#9”. My favourite is a dark stout named Seance that only comes out around Halloween.

The brewery doubles as a museum/shop (known as the Artifactory) which is full of all kinds of interesting, artistic paraphernalia. The barman allowed me to sample his fine elixirs and showed me all the fancy tap handles, including the one that had caused a stir due to its “racist” content. Circus Boy is “racist” because the original artwork shows a circus cage with a dark creature inside and large white eyes shining out. Clearly this reminded somebody of black slavery and clearly anything that is slightly reminiscent of slavery is the same thing as slavery, and therefore racist. They changed the label, so the cage is empty now and the Circus Boy apparently doesn’t have a home. Nobody seems outraged about the connection that this might draw to homelessness, though. On the upside, the little Circus Boy is emancipated now, which would make Abe Lincoln proud.

Racist beer moment – http://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/brew-ha-ha/Content?oid=2132145
Feast your eyes – http://www.tumblr.com/search/magic%20hat%20brewing%20company

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