Introducing: Magic Rock - Magic Rock Brewing

(post by Mark Dredge)

Huddersfield has just gained a brewery! Magic Rock is a new adventure for the guys behind myBrewerytap with Stuart Ross, formerly of Kelham Island, Acorn and Crown Brewery, heading up the brewing duties.

Brothers Richard and Jonathan Burhouse are the investors in the brewery that will be based in the outbuildings of their family business in Huddersfield, a business which has been importing and wholesaling crystals and natural gifts for the last 40 years – hence the name Magic Rock.

“The intention is to brew modern flavour-forward beers inspired in part by US craft breweries in order to take advantage of the current real ale boom and an expected increase in discerning drinkers seeking more flavourful beers,” explains Richard. The Magic Rock beer will be available in casks, kegs and bottles, focussing predominantly on cask but increasing bottles with demand. Their core range will be as follows, plus a number of seasonals:

Curious – Pale Ale (3.9%)
Rapture – Red Hop Ale (4.5%)
High Wire – West Coast Pale Ale (5.5%)
Dark Arts – Stout (6.0%)
Cannonball – India Pale Ale (7.4%)

Brewing will begin in March 2011 and Stuart officially starts working for the brewery today, helping in the set up. “I’ve always enjoyed Stuart’s beers, which always seemed very true to style and well crafted – he’s not intimidated by big abvs and he’s open minded to new methods of production and dispense,” says Richard. “He’s also young, enthusiastic and likes modern big hopped aroma and flavour in beers.” Richard and Jonathan will also help out on the brewing side, having taken a brewlab course last year.

“When Rich asked me if I’d be interested in being the brewer we talked about beer styles and different breweries and found we both wanted the same from a new brewery,” says Stuart, who has most recently worked at the Crown Brewery in the Hillsborough Hotel, Sheffield, where the beers have been very highly regarded. “I’ve always worked with other peoples’ recipes and brewing equipment and I’m really looking forward to putting my own stamp on a new brewery and new beers.”

Magic Rock will have a 12bbl brew length initially with a large hopback included in the kit to help build hop character into the beers. They are starting with two fermenters, so brewing will be limited initially due to fermenting/conditioning space, but they’ve committed to another two fermenters and hope to install those within a few months, depending on demand for the beers.

The focus will be towards US-style, hoppy ales done with a modern twist for the UK pub market. I love the pump clip/label which is different, sharp, modern and will definitely stand out on the bar against its contemporaries and rivals. Stuart is also a great brewer who loves drinking the styles of beer he’ll be making. I’ve enjoyed many of his beers from Crown so it’ll be good to see him flex his brewing muscles in a place where he can start from the beginning.

You can follow them online as the brewery develops. The website is now live. There’s a facebook page and you can follow the action on twitter: @MagicRockBrewCo, @MagicRockStu and @mybrewerytap (myBrewerytap is run by Richard but the two businesses are separate, although the Magic Rock beers will be sold through mBt).

With a dedicated team of people who love those beers, I think it’s a great new addition. Look out for Magic Rock beers in the next few months!