Joining the Circus: Magic Rock Brewing's newest recruits

Magic Rock Brewing are one of the most exciting new breweries in the UK, members of an elite club of unashamedly American inspired brewers, which has historically been dominated by the Scottish punks over at BrewDog. It’s a title BrewDog deserve, but it’s good to see some new dogs on the block, nipping at the heels and challenging for leader of the pack.

Magic Rock haven't quite gained a global Beer Geek fan base like BrewDog, but after tasting two of their most recent beers I can definitely vouch for them being headed in the right direction.

Human Cannonball Imperial IPA 9.2% (Bottle)

The bigger brother of the 7.4% Cannonball IPA, Human Cannonball pours a nice medium-dark amber/orange/red as I was hoping, but the aroma isn't actually as big as I expected. Just a little faint booze and orange hoppyness. This beer doesn't show it's hand that easily, it's sneakier than that…

Then you taste it and it's an onslaught. Massive bitterness, loads of juicy grapefruit and mango hops, very assertive pine bitterness and an American IPA malty sweetness lingering in the background alongside a smack of alcohol just after you swallow, which is then bowled over by the hops once more.

It's full on, punishing, and not to be taken lightly. But it's bloody good.

Consider yourself warned.

Bearded Lady Imperial Brown Stout 10.5% (Keg)

As I’ve found with a few keg stouts the aroma is subdued, slightly colder than I'd like it too, even though I left it to warm while drinking a half of Red Willow Oyster Stout. A warm up if you will.

The flavour is dark, boozy, bitter chocolate fondant - big and rich and slightly hot with alcohol, it reminds me a little of Black Mozart, but in a good way. (It's a liqueur which any skier who's been to Austria will have seen in the airport). There's also a touch of prune, fruity espresso bitterness, even a hint of dark chocolate orange. The finish has a hit of alcohol but the aftertaste is dry and herbal, and only slightly Cocoa dusted.

Its a great beer, and from any other brewery it would probably be their best. But Magic Rock have set the bar so tight rope high that anything below excellent appears lesser in comparison.

This is a very, very good beer, but do I like it more than Human Cannonball or Rapture? (my two favourites) possibly not.

Would I buy another, or recommend it to a friend?

In a heartbeat.


  1. While there may be somethng to be said for presenting some (but by no means all) hop forward IPAs and the like on keg, to my mind stouts across the spectrum of style and strength will invariably present better on cask. Seems a bit perverse to knock this one out on keg.

    John Clarke

  2. Nice round up; Haven't tried the BL yet, looking forward to it. JC - you should check out Ilkley's Fortis Stout, also on Keg. At 4.1% it's nowhere near the abv of this, but works. It's got decent body and roasted malt presence despite, obviously, being a little cooler.

  3. Cheers for the review Neil, the Bearded Lady is definitely better as it warms.

    John, the reason we put Bearded Lady on keg rather than cask is as much to do with the abv/style as is is what suits it best. The problem with putting big beers 7%+ on cask is that there are very few (probably none) outlets that could sell a cask quick enough for the beer be to be at its best. As you know Cask beer wants selling in 2-3 days ideally which just isn't going to happen with a 10.5% beer. The kegs are good for a month + so everyone gets to enjoy it at its best (or almost at its best).

  4. Really nice story i like it thanks for share it.

    Ray Grimm

  5. Nice to read your blog which is truly interesting and also Thanks for sharing this blog with us!!