Huddersfield

Fundamentals #36 — Magic Rock Saucery Session IPA

I am yet to be convinced that both gluten and alcohol-free beers are as good as the real thing. One of the main reasons behind this is that I think that there are plenty of other delicious alternatives to beer within these categories. Be it low-intervention cider, or natural wine, kombucha or craft soda, there’s plenty of choice out there. But I understand why gluten and alcohol-free beers need to exist – because people love beer.

And they are getting better, for the most part. It is perhaps unfair to me to split hairs within these styles, especially as my privilege allows me to enjoy both alcohol and gluten. I tend to struggle when someone tells me that a low alcohol or GF beer is “as good as the real thing” when quite clearly it isn’t. I prefer to see such products sold on their own merits, instead of being compared to something that they are not.

Which is why this beer – Saucery from Magic Rock – took me by complete surprise. I have, in fact, been enjoying this beer whenever I see it on tap for several months. It’s an excellent, light, yet hop forward session IPA. Bursting with notes of citrus, a gentle bitterness at the back of the palate and a dry finish that leaves you rasping for your next sip, or pint. It’s a great beer.

I had no idea that it was gluten free until I received this can to review.

Magic Rock has previous when it comes to making excellent gluten free beers. Its special edition gluten free IPA, Fantasma, proved so popular that it has since become part of its core range. This is excellent news, because despite my own misgivings about GF beers, the more choice out there the better, especially when it’s of this quality. I concede, however, that not everyone wants to drink 6.5% IPA all the time (although personally, I’d be happy to.) At a far lower 3.9% ABV, Saucery makes it accessible to a far larger demographic, and that can only be a good thing.

As I continue to sip at this particular can, I become more impressed with every satisfying gulp. If you’re looking for a tasty gluten free beer then this certainly is one. But if you are just looking for a tasty beer, this also is most definitely one. Saucery, indeed.

You can find more from beer writer Matthew Curtis as UK editor of Good Beer Hunting and on Twitter @totalcurtis. Pick up a Magic Rock Saucery Session IPA in-store or online.

#HBBAdvent Beer 14: Magic Rock x Modern Times Timequake Session IPA (Huddersfield)

Magic Rock says: A collaboration with San Diego brew wizards Modern Times, Andrew and Luke joined up with us a few weeks back to create a super sessionable modern style IPA. With this recipe we went heavy on the Rye malt to add body/flavour allied to low bitterness and a high finishing gravity to balance things out. As you might expect this was joined by some very generous hop dosing both in whirlpool and dry hop, using lots of good hops (none of the bad ones) to create this super crushable 4.5% session IPA with a deep hop flavour and spicy finish.

We say: Timequake is the session IPA all other session IPAs aspire to be. So much flavour for 4.5%. A Thursday beer to get you excited for the weekend. - Jen

The Beer Lover’s Table: Girolle and Truffle Cacio e Pepe and Magic Rock Cannonball IPA

At a recent dinner, I encountered one of the more memorable food and beer pairings I’ve had in recent months. A plate of tagliatelle, covered in pencil shaving-sized flakes of truffle and a snowfall of Parmigiano, was served alongside two malt-driven, West Coast IPAs.

On paper, the combination sounded strange, if not off-putting. But the way the caramel sweetness of the malt tangled with the umami of the pasta was a thrill. Instead of being adversarial, the two drew out the other’s best attributes: savoury and sweet, unctuous and bitter, rich on the plate and full-bodied in the glass.

I decided to try the combination for myself - but with cacio e pepe. Cacio e pepe is having a moment. It helps that this Roman pasta dish - with its simple sauce of olive oil, Pecorino Romano, and copious quantities of black pepper, all bound together by starch-rich pasta water - takes roughly 15 minutes to make. Restaurants like Padella are also heightening its popularity; their toothsome version remains one of London’s most popular pasta dishes.

In tribute to the dying days of summer, I opted to add honey-coloured girolle mushrooms and oil infused with white truffles to my take on cacio e pepe. At the risk of alienating the purists (or gilding the lily), I think it’s a subtly decadent twist on the classic, which imbues it with a hearty base note of umami. To finish it off, a sprinkle of aniseed-bright tarragon imparts an enlivening freshness.

After a long, hazy tsunami of New England-style IPAs, it feels refreshing to return to the West Coast IPA, and its resin, bitterness, and caramel sweetness. Magic Rock's Cannonball is a tried-and- true take on the style, a token from California by way of Huddersfield.

On its own, the beer has a bracing intensity, but the cacio e pepe highlights its sticky marmalade and apricot notes, sweetening and softening it. Its residual bitterness, meanwhile, manages to cut through the orgy of cheese and butter and oil, sharpening the craving for the next mouthful. As far as surprising pairings go, this one is a keeper.

Girolle and Truffle Cacio e Pepe
Serves 2-3

200g girolles
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs white truffle-infused olive oil, divided
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
250g linguine
Sea salt, to taste
40g unsalted butter
50g finely grated
Pecorino Romano (preferably with a Microplane grater)
10g tarragon, roughly chopped

First, clean the girolles. In lieu of washing them with water—which will cause them to go all soft and spongy—use a pastry brush (or unused toothbrush) to carefully brush off all the dirt, focusing especially on the gills. This process will prevent them from being gritty when cooked.

Set a kettle on to boil. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium- high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms. Cook, tossing the girolles every now and then, for roughly five minutes. Season lightly with sea salt before taking the pan off the heat; remove the girolles from the pan and set aside.

Fill a medium saucepan with boiling water and add a small pinch of sea salt. Add the linguine and cook according to package instructions, or until al dente (I cooked mine for nine minutes; it’s usually a good idea to undercook by one minute from what the package suggests).

As the pasta cooks, add 2 tbs of white truffle-infused olive oil to the same frying pan you used for the girolles, and grind in your black pepper. Heat over medium-low heat for one minute, or just until the mixture starts to warm and become very fragrant. Remove from the heat.

Once the pasta is al dente, drain, being sure to save a large bowl full of the starchy cooking water. Add a good splash—approximately 4-5 tablespoons—to the frying pan with the truffle oil and pepper mixture. Add the butter to the frying pan next, stirring as it melts. Once the butter has melted, add in the cooked linguine, the grated Pecorino Romano, and the remaining 1 tbs white truffle oil. Toss vigorously with tongs or a fork for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese melts and the sauce comes together. Your sauce should appear creamy and smooth, and should coat each strand of linguine. You may need to add several more tablespoons of pasta water to achieve the desired consistency.

Serve immediately. Divide the cacio e pepe between plates, and garnish with the tarragon. Top with additional black pepper and grated Pecorino Romano as desired.

Claire M. Bullen is a professional food and travel writer, a beerhound and all-around lover of tasty things. When she's not cracking open a cold one, she's probably cooking up roasted lamb with hummus. Or chicken laksa. Or pumpkin bread. You can follow her at @clairembullen. Pick up a can of Magic Rock Cannonball all year round in store or at our online shop

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#HBBAdvent Beer 2: Magic Rock Rapture Red Hop Ale (Huddersfield)

[NB: Some editions of the Calendar feature Moor's equally excellent red ale, Confidence. Ask us about a funny story involving Jen, a bomber of Confidence and a very nervous celebrity sometime.]

says: Rapture is our full-bodied, heavenly hoppy red beer. Five types of malt and six types of hops make for a truly elating experience. Uplifting aromas of grapefruit and pine, combine with pithy orange and tropically citrus flavours which are balanced against a deeply rich and malty body. A satisfyingly dry and crisp finish offers your taste buds redemption. Our red ale will take you to heaven and back…

We say: Jen, her mum and I enjoyed this while chugging along on a narrowboat on Yorkshire's Rochdale Canal after a particularly fruitful visit to Magic Rock's tap room. It tasted amazing then, in the height of summer, and tastes even better now in the dark depths of winter. Chewy, caramelly, hoppy - all the good things - Glenn

Each night, we'll reveal the day's hand-picked beer from our Big Beery Advent Calendar. Feel free to comment below or have your say on Twitter or Instagram (#HBBAdvent). Find Magic Rock Rapture in store or via our online shop.