12 Jun 2012

Magic Rock Brewing High Wire and the 2012 European Beer Bloggers Conference

The beer

If you’re into your beer, and from the UK, I would imagine you may have heard of Magic Rock.

Like a vampire responds to the opening of curtains at dawn, I recoil at exposure to reverent hype or rampant admiration.

It’s based on a scientific fact I made up that 80% of people are complete idiots with no taste, and therefore anything popular has to be pretty crap.

This means I miss out on a lot of really good stuff, making me a complete idiot and thus unequivocally proving the rule.

With Magic Rock I made a fundamental error in my calculations: people who like good beer generally have good taste when it comes to beer. D’uh.

So I had really not devoted much mind or mouth space to this Huddersfield brewery.

Until, that is, I arrived at their premises and poured myself a complimentary (thereby completely inhibiting my ability to critically appraise it) glass of High Wire straight from a waiting keg, as fresh as I will ever get it.

In the hazy, mid-morning Yorkshire sun (seriously), its slightly-muddied-yet-vibrant orange constitution screams ‘consume me instantly’.

An assault of combined fruit aromas – as if you’d just peeled back the film on a supermarket-bought tropical fruit salad selection– hit you the moment you even think about raising it to your face.

Most prominent is grapefruit, which is great, as it’s still kinda breakfast time.

That sensory build-up play pays off as it makes physical contact, deftly dribbling through your midfield with mango and lychee panache, nut-megging your central defender with smooth, brown sugar sweetness, before placing a crisp finish beyond the reach of your keeper.

And I’ve just wasted my football allegory ahead of impending Euro 2012 posts.


The event

I’m not going to explain what the Beer Bloggers Conference is.

There is a whole website dedicated to it.

I assume that if you are reading this text, you are connected to the internet.

Helpfully, I’ve even hyperlinked the words ‘beer’, ‘blogger’ and ‘conference’ above to said website.

I am a web usability guru.

Or lazy.

Based on the fact that it happened almost a month ago in Leeds and I am only writing about it now, I know which option I’d go for.

The match

I agree with anyone who says that calling this event a conference is a bit misleading.

If I was to get all semantic up in this bitch I reckon ‘convention’ would be more accurate.

But then I don’t actually care what the organisers call it, as it’s a great time, and I have better things to think about.

I attend for one reason: to drink and talk about interesting beer in the company of those that appreciate it.

A tiny handful of my friends and acquaintances actually care about beer (and why should they?), and therefore my opportunities to rant incessantly about it are limited –so a weekend doing mainly that is really appealing.

I don’t necessarily feel part of a movement, I don’t feel it is my duty to educate or actively promote good beer and this blog is nothing more than a self-indulgent journal of beer drinking experiences.

If anyone happens to read it, then great.

If it then inspires them to go out and drink exceptional beer, fine, but it is really of no consequence to me.

Maybe that’s why the beer I enjoyed the most over the course of the event was free from the constraints of trying to crowbar any agenda around my consumption of beer.

No, that would be unfair. I was actually engaged by most of the programme content.

Adrian Tierney-Jones’s chat around the freedom from editorial constraints particularly resonated, Stuart Howe brought his A-game as usual, and Paul Corbett, Managing Director of Charles Faram, pitched his hop talk at precisely the right level for the audience (i.e. me).

No, High Wire was the beer I enjoyed most over the course of the weekend simply because it was stunning.


The Grove is the best pub in the UK by a huge margin.


  1. It was great to have you at the conference, Chris! I agree - the best part of the weekend is getting together with like-minded folks who really enjoy a good pint, and perhaps more importantly, love to talk about that good pint.

  2. "consume me instantly"

    I know that feeling. Agree with you completely. It's not often you get to spend that long talking beer without having to consider how bored the person on the other side of the conversation is.