Magic. Rock. Two words that will make any beer fan feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
Brothers Richard and Jonny Burhouse, have captured the imagination of craft beer fans far and wide since starting the brewery in Huddersfield back in 2012.
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 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 since launch, 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.
Locality had a big part to play in the creation of tonight’s beer Common Grounds. We asked them to introduce it for us.
“Common Grounds is a full-bodied, decadently smooth coffee beer, brewed in collaboration with local roaster Dark Woods. 7 different malts combine with 7 different coffees added at 3 different points during the brew to create a sweet toffee, rich fruit and chocolate depth, accented with notes of vanilla, and hazelnut. A coffee beer designed with texture, aroma and deliciousness in mind, brewed to celebrate locality and a shared philosophy in creative quality.”
When 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 was short but 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 the most recognisable and unique brands in modern craft beer. With a new design focus on the cans a couple of years back, Magic Rock has now firmly established that status.
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. Things got even more serious in March of 2019 when Magic Rock partnered with Australian brewing giant Lion. With Richard still at the helm, the merge has provided Magic Rock with the opportunity to continue to expand at a rate of knots both locally and internationally.
Richard explains the rationale behind the move;
"It will allow us to become a genuine competitor in the UK beer landscape and further afield. We’ll have the benefit of being able to purchase better equipment, install better infrastructure and ultimately produce better beer – in bigger quantity for our customers."