Magic Rock hits King Williams IV
King William IV in Leytonstone has seen more good beer being pumped through its pipes than most boozers in London. Yet last Sunday this was taken to new heights courtesy of Magic Rock Brewing from the windswept north of West Yorkshire. They were on site with a full twenty brews, both in cask and keg, to showcase just exactly how it’s done. It was frickin’ beautiful.
Anyone who has come across Magic Rock in the past will have taken notice of their seriously delicious range of well crafted beer. Being voted the second best new brewery in 2012 by RateBeer, only beaten by Anchorage, should make some mothers in West Yorkshire very proud. Thankfully for all us Londoners they’d turned up with their whole family of brews at Brodie’s brewpub, the King Williams IV, offering up some seriously crazy and amazing beers. I always feel like I’m travelling abroad when I go all the way up to Leytonstone to satisfy my hunger for beer. It’s a long and strenuous trek, but it’s always worth it.
On offer was all of Magic Rock’s usual suspects – Dark Arts, Cannonball (and Human Cannonball), Rapture, High Wire (both regular and with New Zealand hops) and of course their Bearded Lady. All of which are amazing and worth traveling far and wide to drink. However, on top of this they also had some very special versions to unleash on both beer geeks and local beer hounds. First up, a tequila barrel aged version of their Clown Juice wit beer, made with a little famous critter called brettanomyces. If you don’t know Brett, he’s a strain of yeast, a genuine wonder fungi, who makes beer taste more funky and sour. The special Clown Juice was indeed sour, not too much, just enough to make it fresh and zingy, although I could not detect any of the tequila flavour. What a waste of tequila barrels. Oh well, it was still delicious.
Next on the specials menu was the Magic 8 Ball, aged in Chardonnay barrels and also touched by the magic of Mr Brett. This one was one hundred percent Magic, with a capital M. Dark beer aged in red wine barrels with a hint of sourness makes me weak at the knees. Somehow it speaks to my genes. I want this. Just typing this, thinking about it again, makes me want to throw myself through my window and run to West Yorkshire. A crazed and lustful man banging on their brewery door, screaming for more.
I also had great expectations for their Dark Arts aged in sherry barrels with brambles. Sounds amazing, right? I’m not afraid to say that I love sherry. I would drink your sherry if you turned your back on it. However, this didn’t taste like sherry. It was dark and fruity, and very pleasant. It just would’ve been better not to get my sherry synapses firing before tasting it.
Then there was the Great Alphonso. Made in collaboration with Brodie’s this extremely drinkable pale ale had been infused with mango. When I read this I thought it sounded childish and slightly fruity in a Village People kind of way. All of this slightly homophobic prejudice was flushed down my gullet like a sour pill when I tasted it. It was light, delightfully fruity and gay in the true meaning of the word – a truly happy brew to drink. I can totally see myself tipping this into my head on a nice hot summer day. Or on any regular Wednesday.
There were two brews that were on the menu that I didn’t get to try. One was a blueberry sour made in collaboration with Brodie’s and a brandy barrel aged version of their Big Top amber ale. They weren’t on tap and the people behind the bar knew nothing about anything so I had to shuffle homewards without trying these treats. Still, we were all satisfied by our trip to east London on this glorious Sunday. Very much so. Now I’m only left wondering what the hell will happen on my next journey to King William IV in Leytonstone? Judging from my experience so far it’s going to wickedly delicious.