Okay, so after an interesting weekend of enjoying not so beery drinks on Saturday (cider at the local pub) and Sunday (mulled wine at the Christmas Markets) I thought it would be only fair to share with you a proper beer… and as it hits the top spot as my personal favourite, the best gluten free beer I have found to date, I introduce to you the Fantastic (no pun intended) Magic Rock – Fantasma!
Magic Rock are a well known brewery based in Huddersfield, not too far from Sheffield so their beer is pretty widely available. It was one work lunch time, on one of my regular visits to Beer Central in Sheffield Markets, the owner Shaun pointed out he had a new gluten free beer in, Fantasma – so I had no choice but to take one home and give it a go! Lets just say, the following day I was back to buy what was left of the stock.
Over the next couple of days, Fantasma seemed to be appearing more and more throughout Sheffield, the Rutland Arms had it available on keg (amazing!), and cans of it were available in the Sheffield Tap, Wellington & Shakespeare. It wasn’t until a visit to the Devonshire Cat (my favourite pub in Sheffield – due to the beer choice) I found out the story behind Fantasma. Liz, the manager of the Devonshire Cat, a fellow Coeliac is in fact engaged to the head brewer at Magic Rock and was made for her as a valentines gift… who said romance was dead? Of course this therefore meant Fantasma was at the Dev Cat too on keg, but didn’t last too long as I happened to probably drink my way through it just as much as Liz did! If you could fall in love with a beer, this would be the one for me!
Sadly, Fantasma started to disappear off the shelves towards the early March, I’d already drank my way through my selection and there was no news from Magic Rock if there were to be any more produced – as at this point it was a one off beer! Then came April, rumour had it Fantasma was back, so as a now converted Magic Rock lover, it was time to head up to the Magic Rock Tap in Huddersfield (if you haven’t already gone please go!) to have a tour of the brewery, ask all questions Fantasma related and of course drink it until my heart was content. However at 6.5% it doesn’t take too many Fantasma’s until you’ve had too many.
Magic Rock seem to be continuing to brew Fantasma sporadically for now, I think we’ve maybe had 4/5 batches so far, and every time it’s a race to the pub for the first pint of it! Lets just say if you’ve not yet had Fantasma, you’re missing out. A batch of Fantasma has just been released and is currently in The Devonshire Cat (of course), The Wellington, The Shakespeare, The Bar Stewards and Beer Central in the Moor Markets! However please drink responsibly, I want to be able to enjoy it right up until Christmas. So lets just keep our fingers crossed Magic Rock continue to produce batches of Fantasma into the New Year and beyond!