Magic Rock brewery & tap - Huddersfield
One of the joys of heading to Huddersfield is a trip to Magic Rock brewery. Situated roughly 15 minutes walking distance from the town centre Magic Rock is tucked away in an industrial estate, with the unit providing ample space for the actual brewery, a large taproom and outdoor space which is perfect for summer days with a number of street food vendors taking up residence to accompany your fresh beer.
I've visited Magic Rock Brewing a number of times now, usually at the start of a craft beer outing to Huddersfield, but the last visit incorporated a trip around the actual brewery premises. As my first ever proper brewery tour (not sure I can count a few drinks at Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen as a brewery tour) this was great. It's great being able to make a homebrew in your own kitchen, but seeing how the process scales up commercially is fascinating. As one of my favourite UK-based breweries I also couldn't ask for a better first tour.
The tour starts through a door within the taproom itself. Our guide took us on the journey from sourcing the water from the nearby Ben Shaws factory, explaining how it is naturally mineral rich. We continued to the malt store and the huge outdoor silos where this is stored. I can only describe the smell as glorious oaty porridge at this point.
Further along the tour takes you to the actual fermenting vessels. A quick glance at the brewing notes showed what was currently bubbling away for future consumption - High Wire Grapefruit in one, Salty Kiss in another. It's a strange feeling walking next to tens of thousands of litres of your favourite beers!
We were shown the KeyKegs that most modern breweries now use for distributing their beers. Much lighter than standard metal kegs and as we were informed also much better for the environment in general. The canning line is also at this point on the tour. The far end of the warehouse had pallets upon pallets of pre-printed empty cans ready for filling. I was even given a lidless can of Cannonball as a memento.
We were allowed to ask further questions at the end of the tour. I asked where the filled cans were stored before being transported off to the numerous shops and bars that stock Magic Rock's range of beers. We were taken to a separate room stocked high with various finalised beers. There were also a number of wooden barrels where certain beers are aged (which can also be seen within the taproom itself if not on a brewery tour). Apparently 40% of all the beer brewed at Magic Rock is exported outside of the UK. Who'd have thought the figure was indeed that high!
We stayed for a couple more hours after the tour had ended. For your £5 tour fee you also are entitled to a half pint of certain beers from the taproom. All in all it was definitely worth the money!
The brewery tour is brilliant as a one-off experience here, but you probably wouldn't do it more than once. It's also not essential if you only want to pop in for a couple of fresh Rocks. The taproom itself is a fantastic repeat destination for any craft beer enthusiast, with regular events also taking place at the taproom. The place is so popular that the actual taproom can get rammed at times, especially in summer. However don't be disheartened too much - the range of rotating food stalls outside and the ability to purchase just as fresh beers in the yard make for a fantastic trip at any time of the year. Beer prices are also super reasonable, which is understandable as the beer doesn't have to travel too far!
Tip: Make Huddersfield a part of your day and visit the other craft beer delights of the town including Arcade Beers, Parish and The Grove. Also make sure you take home a fresh stash of the good stuff from the taproom.
We did the Magic Rock brewery tour on the 17th February 2018. It is advisable to book in advance as we did to ensure availability and avoid disappointment.