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Thanks,The Beer Hawk Team.
Magic Rock is, few doubt, one of the best breweries in the country. This Huddersfield-based brewery turn out an astonishing range of core beers, as well as an exciting series of specials and one-offs. We're just also seeing the fruits of the barrel-aging programme come to the fore. Here, we speak to co-founder Richard Burhouse.
You started Magic Rock Brewery only in 2011, but it’s already known as one of the best breweries in the country. What did you do right? Did you have a clear path when you started?
There wasn’t really a clear path but things have gone and continue to go better than we could have ever dreamed. With regard to what we did right I think focussing on quality and recognising when to try and do things myself and when to get in people who are great at what they do was important. For example my background is graphic design but probably the best decision I ever made was to employ Rich Norgate our designer rather than attempt to do the artwork myself.What was the ethos you started out with?Make beers we want to drink rather than what the market wants. Our motto is ‘Same But Different’ which could be interpreted a number of different ways but to me always meant that we look to exceed people’s expectations in what we do. Be that quality of product, customer service, events and how we support the product with the brand.
In Salty Kiss you have a gooseberry gose in your core range. That makes us very happy indeed, but it also shows how much the beer scene has changed recently. Did you imagine the beer world turning out like this?
I never really gave the future much thought if I’m honest, we’ve been so busy focussing on what we do. I think it’s great that people are embracing different beer styles though and Salty Kiss has been so popular for us, it sounds like an extreme beer but it’s very approachable flavour wise and has huge crossover potential.
As well as a solid core range, Magic Rock makes a huge range of specials – how do you go about choosing what to make next?
We are inspired by what we try elsewhere and then we think about how we can improve on that. We’re interested in the new but not for the sake of novelty. The most important things with any new beer we make is flavour and drinkability.
How do you see Magic Rock developing in the next year? What are your plans?
The plan as always is to focus on quality and consistency and to continue to improve our processes through investment in equipment and people. We have a number of process improvements imminent such as a centrifuge which is ultimately going to help us to make more consistent and more flavourful beer.
Some of the beers in the Magic Rock range have almost become modern classics. If there is one Magic Rock beer everyone should try what is it, and why?
That’s a tricky one, I’m proud of all of our beers in different ways. I’d guess High Wire is probably one our most well know beers but I’m also very happy with the latest additions to our can range. ‘Inhaler’ which is a super fruity 4.5% session IPA using lots of the newer more intense US varieties and Common Grounds which is a 5.4% Coffee Porter, with loads of sweet depth and nuance rather than the usual acridness that you often get with coffee beers.
Which other breweries are you enjoying at the moment?
We have an event at the tap room with Cigar City from Tampa tonight so I’ll be enjoying some Jai Alai later. I’ve also just come back from the Lakes where I always drink as much Hawkshead beer as I can.
We love Dark Arts - what can you tell us about that beer? How did it come about?
Dark Arts was our take on a traditional London style stout, it’s a fairly simple recipe but delivers loads of roasted chocolatey depth while remaining really drinkable. It’s a really satisfying drink at this time of year. Rapture is a modern take on an amber ale so in addition to the rounded malt sweetness you get loads of piney, fruity hops from the Simcoe we add in dry hop.
Every year, Beer Hawk releases a lineup of limited edition craft beer mixed cases for the holiday season. This year's lineup of festive Christmas beer gifts is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face.
Remember the childhood excitement of opening a new door on your advent calendar every day in the run up to Christmas? It gave each day a little sparkle of festive magic, even though those tiny chocolates behind the doors were always a bit rubbish. How would you like to recapture that childhood magic, but with bottles of delicious beer instead of powdery chocolate? Sounds amazing, right? In that case, you need to get your hands on our Craft Beer Advent Calendar.
Pairing beer and food together isn’t all rules and science. That would make for a terribly boring dinner party! Instead, it’s the art of taking a good beer, some good food and partnering them together to make something even better. It’s the adventure of discovering what works, what doesn’t and what you like. It’s you taking a bite, taking a sip and then declaring your undying love for that imperial stout and chocolate cake.
Barrel-ageing beers is not a new thing, but it is getting more and more popular, and has probably never been as inventive. Adrian Tierney-Jones explores the new wave of ageing beer in wood
While some so-called off-flavours can be appropriate in certain styles others are not and may kill a little bit of your soul. Here's a quick guide to the most common off-flavours.
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