On the morning of Thursday 10th April 2014, one topic dominated my Twitter feed: The launch of Magic Rock‘s Un-Human Cannonball 2014, the second year of their annually brewed triple IPA. Magic Rock‘s online shop released their stash of bottles at 7AM. If reports are to be believed, it sold out in 18 minutes, with other online beer shops lucky enough to get the paws on some quickly following suit. Across the country, beer lovers sat at their computers, debit cards clutched tightly, some of them sipping coffee as they got ready to leave for work, some still pajama-clad, wiping sleep from their eyes. Twitter resounded with variations on “YES! Got a bottle!”, shortly turning to cries of lament and unprintable curses as latecomers missed out.
There was also a certain word bandied around a bit. All together now, kids: “Hype!” Absolutely, there definitely was a frisson of excitement running through the Twittersphere, and do you know what? I loved it. We’re all part of this community because we’re seriously into beer, and it’s wonderful to see people getting psyched up about something they care about. I enjoy looking forward to trying a beer for the first time, especially one which has been well-received or has a particularly good pedigree; when I found out I was finally going to get to try Siren Limoncello, a beer I hadn’t previously been able to get my hands on, I couldn’t wait! To see people caught up in happy anticipation was just lovely, especially when that anticipation included the prospect of an evening in the pub, or a Twitter tasting, with people who were excited about the same thing.
These 7 AM bottle purchasing shenanigans were a bit early in the day for me, but I didn’t have to worry about missing out, as I live in one of the two cities where an official launch was going down later that afternoon/evening. The lucky sods who congregated at the Craft Beer Co, Islington, were able to get stuck into their beer at 4pm, but those of us in Manchester anxiously waited in the Port Street Beer House until 7pm and the Northern launch. This was the first time I had ever regretted moving away from London! Not to worry, Port Street had some wonderful beers lined up – as always – which kept us more than happy until that long-awaited hour. Special mention must go to The Celt Experience Nano (4.3%), a delightfully quaffable Berliner Weisse which I necked a pint of upon arrival, and Kernel Amarillo Pale Ale (5.3%). The Amarillo proved a firm favourite with our merry band of beer geeks, which included Steph, aka Mean Miss Mustard: veggie food blogger extraordinaire and Duty Manager at BrewDog Mancs, who has kindly offered to share a few thoughts about, and photos of, the launch with you lucky buggers.
Chatting with friends, the minutes whizzed by, and before we knew it, a sizeable crowd had congregated in the bar while the Magic Rock boys gave us a little intro to the beer, and told us what they’d done differently this year. It’s a little lighter in colour and ABV (11% rather than 12%), they’ve used half Pilsner malts, and dry hopped it seven times over the course of two weeks. Despite the masses of dry hopping, this year’s batch is clear, rather than crazy hazy. Soon the bar staff were dispensing thirds and halves to eagerly waiting hands, and, at only £5.50 a half or somewhere in the region of £3.60 for a third, my faint misgivings about being away from London were firmly quashed!
And as for how the beer actually went down? For that, I’ll turn you over to Steph:
“For an 11% IIIPA this is incredibly drinkable, maybe too much so for my self. For 11% and the hype of a triple IPA I want to be hit in the face with hop bitterness then slowly burned with a sweet alcohol aftertaste. However, Magic Rock are describing it as having gravity defying drinkability, so clearly we were after two different trips on this one.
Flavour wise it had a lovely tropical almost citrusy flavour too it and subtle hint of pine. I detected very little sweetness in comparison to most other imperial IPAs, but I’m pretty sure this was what Magic Rock were intending. As tasty as it is I think the marketing of it may be a little adjective heavy, I didn’t detect massive aromas or deep tropical fruit flavour.
All in all I was pretty pleased with the offering, it has the tropical hop fruitiness that I love and has avoided being cloying sweet. I’d happily drink more regularly if it was a regular brew so didn’t have the price tag of an annual product. I’m happy to pay around £5.50 for a half pint but for that I want to be wooed, wowed and left slightly taste bud wounded.”
Damn right. I found it dangerously quaffable, though like Steph I prefer my big IPAs to be slightly more bitter. We’re jaded IBU fiends, though. My decidedly non-beer geek partner also liked it, describing the taste as ‘undiluted orange squash’..! I’d like to try this in a bottle, but I think most of them have been snapped up by now. Never mind – there’ll be some more next year! All in all, a very tasty beer, and a great sense of camaraderie surrounding it.
You can check out more photos from the night over at Steph’s blog. Of course, while we were savouring our first sips of this year’s Un-Human Cannonball, those London types had already been drinking it for three hours. Steve from The Beer O’ Clock Show tells all here…
Thanks to Steph for her contribution to this post and her fancy camera work! Head on over to Mean Miss Mustard for recipes (Gin and Tonic cake, anyone? It’s bloody good!), reviews, and a fair bit of booze.
Massive thanks also go to Steve of The Beer O’ Clock Show, who came up with the idea for a blogger collaboration covering both the London and Manchester launches. It’s been a pleasure telling our slightly sozzled story alongside you. Cheers, and here’s to next year!