I happened upon Magic Rock while on a day long drinking extravaganza in Leeds last year. Curious stood out for its big hop flavour and low ABV. Piney, floral and moreish, I had more than one. From that day Magic Rock has been a staple for me with their US inspired beers winning me, and many others over.
Hailing from Huddersfield, Magic Rock formed like Voltron from Stuart Ross, formerly of Crown Brewery, and brothers Richard and Jonathan Burhouse. They say on their site, “…we are committed to making a full range of modern, flavourful, hop forward & ‘big’ beers using the best available ingredients and techniques for drinkers unwilling to compromise on flavour.”
Design is a big deal for Magic Rock. You certainly won’t find them featured on Pumpclip Parade anytime time soon. Circus themed detailed graphics sit cheek by jowl with clean sans serif fonts. Playful and modern, they wipe the floor with 99% of breweries in the image stakes. Others should should take fucking note.
I’ve sampled almost the full Magic Rock catalogue but Human Cannonball has always eluded me. Well, in fairness, any bottles I’ve bought have been drunk by @minkewales before I could get my paws on them. Time to correct that and after the abortion of Newcastle Brown Ale and the fact it’s the final day of the Christmas holidays I wanted something big and boozy.
In fact to bring some uniformity to these three hundred and sixty odd beers reviews, I intend to kick off every week either a hop bomb or malt incendiary device under the mantle of Monday Brews. I’m usually suicidal after a Monday back at work so perhaps a massive beer will talk me down.
So, the beer. It pours a deep amber topped with a foamy off white head. And Christ, the aroma! It should be soaked into a rag and used to chloroform drunks. Fruit, hops and alcohol. Heady but delicious. The flavour doesn’t so much sucker punch the palette, as call in an airstrike. Lashings of grapefruit come in on the bombing run and are immediately followed with a syrupy sweet land assault.
Keeping a beer this big so balanced is incredible. Double IPAs can be a lot like weightlifters who hits the ‘roids: they tend to lose their shit and smash the place up at the drop of a hat. But Human Cannonball, thanks to its burnt sugar sweetness, keeps its emotions in check, even when in full hop flex. Awesome.
In my round up of 2011 post I likened Magic Rock to actor Michael Fassbender, “They haven’t done a lot, but what they have done is fucking superb.” This analogy definitely holds up, and Human Cannonball should be seen as Magic Rocks’ Shame. Bold, unpromising, and should win a cavalcade of awards. Miss this beer at your peril.