Magical Mystery Pour #14: Magic Rock Inhaler + Special Guest

Inhaler and Fort Smith cans, crushed.

This fourth round of Magical Mystery Pour was chosen for us by David Bishop, AKA @broadfordbrewerAKA Beer Doodles (@beerdoodles), and kicks off with a new beer from Magic Rock.

In case you’ve missed the pre­vi­ous instal­ments Mag­i­cal Mys­tery Pour is where we ask some­one else to select a few beers which we then buy with our own mon­ey. The idea is to broad­en our hori­zons and get our­selves out of a rut we may or may not have been in. (We admit noth­ing.)

Most of the beers David chose for us are from York­shire and he sug­gest­ed we order them from Leeds-based retail­er Beer Ritz, which we did. Inhaler (4.5%) was £2.66 per 330ml can and David says:

It’s new to the Mag­ic Rock range and one that fits the bill for a post-bike-ride beer. Refresh­ing, juicy, ses­sion beer.… pack­aged for porta­bil­i­ty, or some­thing.

The can, like almost all craft beer cans, is very pret­ty and tac­tile. Mag­ic Rock beers ini­tial­ly fol­lowed the Brew­Dog colour-cod­ing sys­tem – green for pale ale, blue for IPA, red for amber, pink for prawn cock­tail and so on. This one is a lux­u­ri­ous black and red which made us expect cher­ries and choco­late until we read the label: JUICY PALE ALE.

Inhaler in the glass.

It opened with a firm ‘phitz’ and kicked up plen­ty of foam on its way into the glass. With the final tot we thought we saw a slick of yeast slip over the lip and the fin­ished prod­uct looked, to our eyes, fair­ly hazy.

The main event was the aro­ma. It was huge, plum­ing, bound­less, fill­ing an invis­i­ble sphere for half a metre around the glass. It was that sharp, fresh sap­py smell that you get when you rub hops between your hands. Hon­est­ly, it felt a shame to start drink­ing.

And, in a sense, it was. The taste did­n’t – per­haps nev­er could – live up to the aro­ma, lack­ing much in the way of malt sweet­ness or fruiti­ness, leav­ing chalky dry­ness to car­ry most of the weight fol­lowed by a palate-bat­ter­ing amount of bit­ter­ness. The bit­ter­ness was very wel­come, though, so real­ly it’s only the mid­dle of the beer that did­n’t quite work for us – the bit when it was actu­al­ly in our mouths. We man­aged to pour the sec­ond can clear­er and expect­ed the taste to be a lit­tle less min­er­al-dry but, no, it was just the same.

As it warmed up we noticed a lit­tle more peach­i­ness and (unfor­tu­nate­ly for us) a bit of onion hop­pi­ness which brought to mind Beaver­town beers and the odd bit of Cloud­wa­ter we’ve been able to get our hands on. But we’re prob­a­bly over-sen­si­tive to this, and it real­ly is a mat­ter of per­son­al taste.

For all the fault-pick­ing above, we kind of liked it, and it prompt­ed a thought: beers like this maybe don’t ben­e­fit from fan­cy pack­ag­ing and small mea­sures. They draw your atten­tion and encour­age you to con­cen­trate when, in fact, this would be more enjoy­ably drunk from a plain, straight glass, paired with an intense con­ver­sa­tion, in a pub. Real­ly, we reck­on, it’s a pale north­ern bit­ter with some nice after­shave on.

* * *

A cou­ple of the beers David sug­gest­ed are ones we’ve had before but we’re always hap­py to revis­it – things do change, after all. Roost­er’s Fort Smith (£2.63, 300ml, 5% ABV), also in a cute can, seemed quite uptight after the free-rang­ing Inhaler. It looks like lager in the glass, but brassy with it, and had a well-man­nered aro­ma of orange fruit and gar­den weeds.

A faint stale, papery note almost derailed the flavour but a can­died peel sweet­ness and just the right amount of cat­ti­ness kept things on track. A sec­ond can, with the same best before date, did­n’t seem to have the stale note at all – a pack­ag­ing issue, or maybe one can got more sun­light on the jour­ney down to Pen­zance? Who knows.

Over­all, it seemed reas­sur­ing­ly and pleas­ing­ly retro, a classy beer bal­anced some­where between US pale ale and the clean, dry zip of a good lager. (Which, it turns out, is pret­ty much what we said last time.)

One thought on “Magical Mystery Pour #14: Magic Rock Inhaler + Special Guest”

  1. It’s things like pack­ets of crisps, wine gums, Mr Freeze, Nerds, UFOs and black­jacks the colours on Camden/Magic Rock/Beavertown cans always remind me of. I’m tak­en back to our vil­lage’s newsagent with my pock­et mon­ey when I see the spread in a beer shop.
    Over­all I’m impressed with the cans I’ve had so far and like your­selves I’ve found the aro­ma from the new wave of canned beers very strong. Not at all like the urine-soaked card­board hit I remem­ber from more cor­po­rate cans.

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