The meteoric rise of Magic Rock continues. First they open up in Huddersfield in 2011 and immediately make a big splash, winning awards left right and centre. 2015 they move to bigger premises right where I grew up in BIrkby and they open a brewery tap on the site, just a short walk from my work. The Brewery Tap there immediately became as essential as the beers. Many out of towners make the pilgrimage despite it being a little but out of the town centre, lured by the promise of many Magic Rock beers all on tap at one place.
Yet this is not about how wonderful the Magic Rock Tap is (and it is). This is about the mind-blowing beer festival they hosted. Last year’s Rainbow Project happened in London and saw various UK brewers making beers especially for the festival. This years, the stakes were higher. 7 UK breweries collaborating with 7 US breweries to make 7 special brews for this years beer festival. 2015 also saw it happening simultaneously at London’s Beavertown Brewery and at Huddersfield’s Magic Rock.
On top of that, every UK brewery had at least one of their beers on tap and all the American breweries had multiple beers on tap. Oh, and lots of street food stalls selling everything from wood fired pizza to exotic eastern dishes.
We got there before doors opened at twelve and there was already a massive queue, buzzing with anticipation. The icing on the cake was the sun stayed out all day so there was plenty of room for everyone to sit down and enjoy the booze. So, here’s the Rainbow Project specials in all their glory:
A collaboration between Lake District brewers Hawkshead and Denver Colorado brewery, Crooked Stave, the Key Lime Tau really was something extra special. A sweet taste that haunted my dreams for months afterwards. I hunted down bottles of it and sought it out at beer festivals. A legend of a beer. Beer of the year.
Beavertown/ Dogfish Head – Anja
tingling, sour berrie tasting beastie….like unripe blackberries gone really naughty
Wild Beer Co + Firestone Walker – Violet Underground
Another sour but oddly pale with a kind of grapefruit taste to it
Partizan + Prairie – Real Time Saison
Not that sour, oddly, but tasted like marijuana! Must have been the lemongrass?
Magic Rock + Cigar City – Cigarro Roja Magico
Very dry and hoppy with an aromatic aftertaste
Buxton + Arizona Wilderness – Deep Valley Rainbow
Just the sourest beer I ever tasted! An extraordinary hit on the tastebuds
Siren + Surly – Blue Sky Sea
Wow, this was one salty beer. Definitely one for beer explorers not for casuals but I enjoyed it a hell of a lot. In fact, if it hadn’t been for the Key Lime Tau, this would have been beer of the year for me.
After those 7 belters, I was definitely feeling the effects a little but with so much American beer over here in Yorkshire, we had to keep going a little longer. Of particular interest to me was the beers over from Arizona Wilderness in Phoenix as I’m going to live there soon so it felt like the done thing despite the hefty import price. It was worth it and made me feel optimistic about my future, although I kno w I will miss having something like Magic Rock around.
Special thanks to Scott Patient, who’ll also be missed.