When you first gaze into the beautiful scenery on this can, you can’t help but feel relaxed. The sun is setting over distant mountains, and the sky is a muddled blend of yellow, orange, and red. It’s one of the more attractive cans I’ve ever seen.
Pulling up into the Magnify parking lot is really quite the opposite experience. Nestled behind a maze-like business complex in busy Fairfield, New Jersey, Magnify Brewing Company looks unassuming. It can be hard to find for the first time – unless it’s a can release day. Then, you can simply follow the winding line of beer enthusiasts around the various corners, waiting patiently for their chance to snag a four pack of tallboy cans.
On a typical day, though, you can walk right in and immediately notice the attention to detail placed into the design aesthetic of the tasting room. It takes a second to believe that you actually just walked through the warehouse-style small glass door into this beer paradise.
It’s nicely put together, but not ostentatious. Everything has a purpose. Mason jars filled to the brim with hazy delights, solid, dark wood counters and tables, and minimalist hanging lights. Behind the taps, exposed brick holds up wooden shelves, proudly displaying their logo and growlers. A huge chalkboard filled with colorful beer names, ABVs, and descriptions sits perfectly in the line of sight for anyone entering.
On top of the chalkboard list is a familiar name – Vine Shine. This is their flagship beer and is a wonderful introduction to their exquisite beer selection. Get it first, and you’ll be so impressed that you can’t help but order down the list to try everything. Immediately the attention to detail put into their aesthetics is reflected in the glass as well. Whenever I have a can of Magnify, I have my wife, a newly converted craft beer drinker, take a sip. She immediately smiles and says “that’s a Magnify."
Enter now Peak of Ripeness.
Much like the brewery itself, everything in Peak of Ripeness has a purpose. I”
A juicy take on an IPA, the name alone creates an expectation of a mouthwatering bouquet of freshly picked fruits. When the can is first cracked open and the beer begins to flow, the first thing I notice is the color. The beer is as beautifully colored as the sky on the can art – as though I’m pouring a piece of that fictional sunset into my glass. The head isn’t too high, but the thick presence of foam coats the outside of the glass and lays perfectly atop the deep yellowed-orange color.
At this point, I actually stop to take a picture. I send it to my friend (who essentially lives at Magnify) with the caption of “I hope this is as good as it looks." I pick up the beer and immediately am taken aback by the explosion of tangerine, mango, and earthy tones on the nose. I’ve had many great IPAs... but this one feels different. The mouthfeel is thick but not unpleasantly so, it actually goes down so smoothly that I needed to stop myself from taking too big of swigs to ensure I could enjoy each perfectly balanced sip.
Another look at the can reveals that Peak of Ripeness is dry hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops – a New Zealand hop variety known for a no holds barred flavor profile. The Nelson Sauvin hops are on full display in Peak of Ripeness, inviting the taste buds into a whirlwind of tropical notes, followed by a subtle, approachable bitterness and light melon sweetness, rounding out into an almost spicy, peppery finish. The Nelson Sauvin hop contains similarities to white wine – and in fact the people of New Zealand’s shorthand for the Sauvignon Blanc grape is, in fact, Sauvin.
Make no mistake, though – this is a beer through and through. As a standalone hop, Nelson Sauvin is hardly bitter, allowing its the fruity characteristics to take center stage. There’s no missing the powerful aromas and succulent medley of flavors going on.
Much like the brewery itself, everything in Peak of Ripeness has a purpose. I smile as my friend’s text response encapsulates exactly what I’m thinking: “It’s somehow better than it looks."