Yorkshire-based Magic Rock Brewing mixes local brewing traditions with influences from the US craft beer scene. With award-winning beers and playful branding, this brewery has been named one of the best in the world and continues to produce innovative beers.

Author: Malin Norman

Founded in 2011 by Richard Burhouse with the help of head brewer Stuart Ross, Magic Rock Brewing managed to get a big presence on the craft beer scene already from the start. Their love for great beer and modern California-style beers in particular resulted in the hop bomb Cannonball, one of the flagship beers.

The brewery is also known for its can art, created by designer Richard Norgate in 2015, which stands out on the shelf with a bright colour palette and cartoon characters. “These characters have played a big role in the branding from the start,” says Vik Kastenbauer Stronge, marketing manager at Magic Rock. “As the brand has grown and we have re-designed the cans, the characters have taken a little step back in order to appeal to a mature audience. They’re a bit more abstract now, but you can still recognise them on the cans.”

© Magic Rock Brewing

Collaborations, Freeride and You’re On Mute!

The flavourful beers have a wide appeal and have won plenty of awards over the years. Salty Kiss was originally a collaboration with Danish brewery Kissmeyer Beer, and this refreshing German-style gose flavoured with gooseberry, sea buckthorn and sea salt won the World Beer Cup in 2014. The double dry-hopped IPA Biotransformer is another proof of great teamwork, with Yakima Chief Hops showcasing a new experimental hop blend. We all love a good collab, right? Vik agrees; “This is what’s so exciting about the beer industry, brewers love working together and learning from each other.”

The current best-seller is Saucery, a vegan and gluten-free session IPA. Another popular beer is High Wire, a West Coast Pale Ale that works well as a springboard into craft beer. In February, Magic Rock launched the unofficial beer of video calls, a hazy and fruity DIPA called You’re On Mute! This juicy beer celebrates those little mishaps on Zoom that we’re all too familiar with nowadays.

© Magic Rock Brewing

Freeride is the most recent addition, whereby Magic Rock enters the no and low alcohol beer market for the first time. “Consumers are getting more health conscious and it was a logical step for us to brew a low alcohol beer,” explains Vik. “We’re really proud of Freeride. It’s a super fruity vegan pale ale with mango and passionfruit and brewed to strength, which appeals to a wide group of consumers.”

© Magic Rock Brewing

Some Magic Rock beers to try:

Freeride (0.5% ABV): a mango and passionfruit pale ale with a combination of Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe hops. The full-flavoured, low alcohol beer with a fruity tropical twist is brewed to offer the bite of a huge IPA, but with a fraction of the alcohol.

High Wire Grapefruit (5.5% ABV): a grapefruit-infused version of High Wire, Magic Rock’s tribute to West Coast pale ales. A deliciously juicy beer with mango, lychee and “lip-smacking citrus character.”

Cannonball (7.4% ABV): a well-balanced IPA with massive hop flavours, currently scores 96 out of 100 on RateBeer. Human Cannonball (9.2% ABV) is the big brother, a double IPA with more of everything, and there’s a New England version too called Neo-Human Cannonball. The Un-Human Cannonball (11% ABV), a triple IPA, takes it to a new dimension – try it if you get the chance!

Pictures: Magic Rock Brewing