Living in Manchester means that I’m not only spoiled in terms of places to drink good beer in the city itself, but also the excellent transport links providing easy access to many other cities and towns.
With a free day, we decided to hop on the train and take a trip to Huddersfield for a visit to the Magic Rock Tap. It’s not my first trip to Magic Rock Tap as I visited last year for the Rainbow Project launch but it was my first experience visiting on a ‘normal’ day as opposed to a special event.
After pottering around the shops – in particular, the record shop across the road from Huddersfield station – and grabbing some veggie sausage rolls from Poundbakery (seriously, why isn’t there one in Manchester city centre?) we wandered across to The Grove.
We’ve visited a few times but this was easily the quietest we’ve ever seen it, although it was Friday afternoon!
There’s plenty to like about The Grove. The pub is quirky with taxidermy, nude artworks and olde worlde artefacts scattered throughout but it’s the beer that’s the star.
A large board highlights the sheer choice of cask and keg options, and there are also bottle menus on the tables which are hard to miss as they’re in heavy wooden binding and chained up. If you’re a bit overwhelmed, the staff are approachable and friendly if you need advice and it’s simply a great spot for a few drinks.
After a couple of halves at The Grove, we wandered over to Magic Rock Tap which is on the other side of the town and has the benefit of being slightly closer to the train station.
When we visited for the Rainbow Project event, the front of the brewery featured benches and pop-up bars in tents but this time it was full of vans ready to deliver beer around as well as forklift trucks driving around. Round the back we found plenty of outdoor seating but we decided to sit inside – mainly to be closer to the beer!
The beer board features a selection of Magic Rock beers from favourites like High Wire and Cannonball to some of their rarer brews. Cans are also available both to drink in and take away – and they offer discounts if you fancy buying a whole case.
Again, it was fairly quiet but did get busy as it nearer the end of the traditional working week and it had a welcoming atmosphere with the crowd including couples like ourselves, groups of friends and families with well-behaved kids.
It also has plenty of features I liked. There’s lots of hooks along the walls for coats which is a favourite thing on my mine and there’s also a water tap set up next to the bar so you can help yourself to as much as you like – something I think that more bars and pubs should offer as it just makes sense!
In my view, the only thing that really let it down was that some of the staff (not all!) didn’t seem to be as friendly as they could be.
Although Magic Rock Tap doesn’t provide food, it does regularly host street food traders and on our visit it was Dim Sum SU. Although there weren’t too many veggie options, the one they did have (Hong Kong noodles with tofu) was excellent and a nice accompaniment to the beer.
We left shortly after as it was just after rush hour and probably time to get back to Manchester. All in all, not a bad afternoon.