Head brewer Stu and myself headed over to San Diego at the end of January on a research trip/beer pilgrimage to visit some of the breweries which inspired Magic Rock. We’ve long revered the beers of the area and were interested to see how the breweries operate and pick up some useful information on best practices.

We had an amazing time chatting with brewers and seeing how some of the worlds best beers are produced. The beer scene in the US continues to be very vibrant and San Diego in particular a really exciting place to visit with so much experimentation and passion evident everywhere we visited, a big thank you to all the brewers and breweries who made our trip so memorable, you can check out some photo’s of our trip on our facebook page here.

Whilst we were in the US we learned that we were awarded “Number 2 Top New Brewery in The World 2012”, on the US based beer rating site “RateBeer”. Rate Beer is the worlds most popular beer rating site with thousands of members worldwide and millions of reviews. The reviews are independent and unbiased, with the beers rated on a number of criteria, such as flavour and appearance to deliver an overall score. Although the site is sometimes criticised, RateBeer does attract many devoted and knowledgeable beer lovers and we were absolutely delighted that our beers rated high enough in our first 6 months to achieve the accolade.

In more good news, two of our beers won awards in the SIBA National Craft Beer in Keg Competition 2012 held at The Barrels, Hereford. High Wire won a Silver in the Champion Premium Bitters, Pale and Golden Ales category and Dark Arts won a bronze medal in the Dark Ales, Stouts and Porters category.

We see keg as the perfect format for our hoppier and stronger beers where we believe they benefit from extra carbonation and a cooler serving temperature, and to win two awards in our first year was really great news for us. Congratulations to all the other winners; we will continue to champion keg as the preferred format for many of our stronger beers, and offer it as a choice of format for our mid strength beers.

In other news we’re just about to increase capacity again with the arrival of two new 16bbl uni-tanks imminent. The new tanks will take our weekly output up to around 44bbl a week and and also allow us to hold the beer a bit longer to get it to its optimum condition before it heads out. It will also give us more flexibility when it comes to kegging and bottling the beers.

We are currently discussing a few new brews for 2012 including a new semi-permanent cask beer and a number of special keg beers which we hope to brew shortly, we also have a couple of collaborative brews and some more ‘Meet the Brewers’ in the pipeline for 2012 so keep watching this space for more news or follow us on Twitter: @MagicRockBrewCo

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