Magic Rock Brewing, Salty Kiss
Magic. Rock. Two words that will make any beer fan feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Brothers Richard and Jonny Burhouse, aided by head brewer Stuart Ross, have captured the imagination of craft beer fans far and wide since starting the brewery in Huddersfield five years ago.
It began life in the rather humble setting of a family business outbuilding. For 40 years Richard and Jonny’s folks have been importing and wholesaling crystals, or as the brothers know them... “magic rocks”.
Their intention from the outset was clear... “to brew modern flavour-forward beers inspired in part by US craft breweries” said Rich shortly after their launch.
Beers such as Cannonball, Ringmaster (originally named ‘Curious’) and High Wire set out the brewery’s stall; incredible pale ales, as promised, inspired by beers the boys had been enjoying from over the pond. The core range has remained relatively unchanged in 5 years, but they’ve dabbled around the edges with beers that have a broader, more global influence, as well as brews that are more deeply rooted in their native Yorkshire.
Bearded Lady (a boozy imperial stout) , Unhuman Cannonball (a triple IPA) and Clown Juice (an India Wit Ale) are some of the best, and bravest, beers to ever be brewed on our shores. A big shout? We mean it.
This week’s beer, Salty Kiss, is inspired by a German style called Gose; a sour beer traditionally brewed with salt, coriander and at least 50% wheat. Magic Rock have put their stamp on it and the gooseberries are obvious in the aroma, hinting at the sharp, fruity tang about to follow. The flavour is sour, but it’s nice and subtle. The salt comes through at the end along with a fruity, dry finish. Yum.
Magic Rock commissioned local hophead Richard Norgate to come up with some label artwork (he’d previously worked with the Arctic Monkeys and Bradley Wiggins). The brief included the words “magic” and “iconic”. That’s how a new brewery on a fairly dull industrial estate in West Yorkshire ended up with one of most recognisable and unique brands in modern craft beer.
Ace beer. Awesome branding. It was no surprise really that 6 months after launching Magic Rock were named the ’second best new brewery in the world′ on RateBeer.com. The people had spoken.
To meet demand capacity was increased twice in the first year. In 2015 the brewery moved to a new site in Birkby, Huddersfield and opened The Magic Rock Tap, an onsite bar and events venue well worth checking out if you’re in town. Last year also saw them launch their beers exclusively in cans. Capacity will double again this year.
When they’re not brewing or plotting worldwide domination, Richard and the Magic Rock crew love nothing more than getting outdoors (usually on their bikes - they are big supporters of mountain biking events and are even holding their own Magic Rock Bike Day on 10th July), to enjoy the local scenery. Which is just as well really. It gives them time to breath.