I start this week with a story. A couple of weeks ago I was stood outside The Brewery Tap on the station approach in Leeds.  Having spotted they had Magic Rock Dark Arts on tap, I checked they allowed families in without eating, and was minutes away from trying one of the Magic Rock beers, something I’ve not been in the vicinity of a supplier of before, bottled or draught.  It was at that point I realised that I had left my keys in the ignition of my car at the other end of the city centre, thankfully still there and unlocked when I returned to it.  The annoyance of not trying the beer was replaced by the relief I still had a car, and the pint of average Becks Viers did a job on the occasion at a nearby chain bar.

So when I saw 5 of their pump clips at the Red Rooster in Brighouse, it peaked my interest and the confirmation of this in last week’s Pubpaper makes me look forward to a visit to sample more than one of these beers from one of Yorkshire’s most renowned craft brewers, based just outside Huddersfield.  Their most well known beers are Rapture (a dry flavoured 6 hop beer) High Wire (a hoppy pale ale), Darks Arts (a rich hoppy, full flavoured stout), Magic 8 Ball (a very hoppy 7% Black IPA) and Cannonball (a 7.4% hop bomb of an Indian Pale Ale, its Imperial IPA sister Human Cannonball is 9.2%).

Literally just down the road from Magic Rock is the excellent Mallinsons, the Yorkshire queens of the single hop beer, if these two both had brewery taps, if would be a very repetitive pub crawl.  Coincidentally as I write this, I am drinking a couple of very nice bottles from Empire Brewery, based a few miles away from these two in Slaithwaite (or Slowit, according to who you talk to), the Jamestown sitting on my worktop was a lovely bitter hopped beer with similar aftertaste, the Millers Reserve in my glass is more rounded but as good in its own way.

It should be noted that the Red Rooster is again well worth a visit for those brewers you rarely see elsewhere in the Calderdale area, something which first attracted me to the pub in the first place, but in my opinion they became slightly more settled with their brewers of choice for a while. This is not necessarily a bad thing and brewers like Magic Rock, Thornbridge and Brewdog appearing on their pumps should get most people taste buds going.

Now a complaint, this week, Julian Grocock, the Chief Executive of SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) wrote a piece for inapub in which he questioned if the “customer is always right” and of course they are sometimes wrong.  His argument is that as long as the customer believes he is right then they will walk away satisfied, a slightly cynical view, but not a hanging offence.  However it is the quote “We know the customer is not always right, but wherever possible she must be allowed to think she is. (Giving the customer a female identity was deliberate for reasons I probably don’t need to explain to male readers!)”.

This was picked up by a quite a number of the beer writing community, something which isn’t a surprise when you consider 2 of the top 4 best known beer writers from a media point of view are female.  The comment was misogynistic and probably ill advised, and is the sort of comment it wouldn’t be hard to find repeated if you went looking. However it not something that a Chief Executive representing a large number of the countries small brewers should be saying.  Julian also wears a pub landlord hat, but whenever he speaks or writes in public he is ultimately representing the members of SIBA whichever hat he chooses to wear.

The CAMRA chairman did a similar thing last year, criticising all non professional beer writers who happen to use the internet as their medium and unfairly labelling them as enemies of real ale, only interested in the evil keg.  There is something about being in power, not just in beer circles, which makes people who get there suddenly gain the ability to put their foot in their mouth, in some cases over and over again.  How often is usually proportional to the power attached to the role, as some of our current and past government ministers demonstrate perfectly.

Happy supping until next week.